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The Esther holder and scroll sold for £25,000 at Lyon & Turnbull.

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Similar designs are frequently found on small 20th century Iraqi silverware such as napkin rings.

The building on the left of the scrollholder is the Arch of Chosroes (Khosrow) in ancient Ctesiphon on the River Tigris, some 20 miles from Baghdad and across the river from the Hellenistic Seleucia.

The palm trees and sailing boats are also typical Iraqi niello motifs.

The tombs of the prophets Ezra and Ezekiel are both located in modern-day Iraq, and there was a thriving Jewish community in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq until at least the early 1950s.

Anthony Lewis

Ealing, London