A 6in (16cm) long bracelet set with lapis lazuli in yellow precious metal mounts was unattributed in the catalogue and the £500-700 estimate reflected scuffs and occasional missing stones.
However, its Italian look apparently led some bidders to consider the bracelet a Bulgari item and it sold to a UK buyer at £13,000.
“The gas pipe-link design bears some resemblance to Bulgari pieces but we are unable to confirm that this was one”, said Mallams specialist Louise Dennis.
“The speculative price suggests that some bidders may have thought it might be. It was brought in with other pieces by a vendor who thought it was a costume piece and it was destined for her grandchildren’s dressing-up box.”
The other major surprise at the November 17-18 sale at Oxford, where 93% of the 770 lots got away to total £406,000, was a gold signet ring with a dog’s head crest incised to an oval panel.
Catalogued only as ‘antique’, it had condition problems including pitting, a filed area where the mount may have been acid tested and an aperture to the back of the panel which may previously have been glazed. The mount was unmarked and the gold standard unknown.
However, Dennis said: “It is likely that it was of considerable age, possibly 17th or 18th century, and therefore quite rare, which resulted in competitive bidding.”
The ring, estimated at £500-700, finally sold to the UK trade at £11,000.
An Art Deco brocade ‘envelope’- design evening bag had no identity problems being signed Cartier Ltd London to the interior.
With a hinged clasp of geometric design featuring an oval jadeite cabochon bordered by diamonds, the 9in (23cm) long bag was offered with a slightly smaller similar bag with a clasp featuring a green hardstone surrounded by diamonds.
The signature to the interior was worn, but possibly Cartier, and the two doubled the top estimate, selling online to the UK trade at £9000.
The identity of the former owner, Bond creator Ian Fleming, raised the status of a pair of cultured pearl cufflinks.
Consigned by family descendants, the links reflected both Fleming’s reputation as a natty dresser and his wartime career with Naval Intelligence – the letters WUS, SIL, UDH and NUF inscribed to verso are believed to be a code yet to be deciphered.
With some minor condition issues, the links quadrupled the top estimate in selling to a private buyer at £4400.
Silver sold well, if more predictably.
Going to the UK trade, a set of 12 (26.5cm) diameter plates by Philip Rundell, London 1821, sold online just under top hopes at £7600 and a late 17th century silver-gilt cup and cover, 19½in (50cm) high bearing the Nuremberg town mark and maker’s mark HB went comfortably above estimate at £6600.