Single-plank elm farmhouse refectory table – £24,000 at Duke’s.

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Dated late 18th-early 19th century, the figured elm table had a 2¼inch (6cm) thick single plank top measuring 12ft 8in wide x 3ft 2in wide (3.87m x 96cm).

Consigned by the owners of a south Dorset country house who had bought it through a well-known dealer, the quality and size of the table was reflected in the £12,000-15,000 estimate. A bank of phone bidders were beaten to the prize by one in the room who took it at £24,000.

It was the outstanding piece of furniture at the sale with other lots pitched in four figures struggling to get away.

Among those which did find buyers were a mahogany George III architect’s table, once a hugely popular item, in the manner of William Vile which made a mid-estimate £2600; a set of four George II cream painted hall chairs with sunburst oval backs which doubled the estimate, going over the phone at £3400; and a c.1880 mahogany billiards cabinet by specialist maker Thurston & Co which found two specialist bidders and made £4000.