Roman marble bust
Roman marble bust – £27,000 at Trevanion.

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Barker, a London barrister and lifetime collector, began acquiring Roman and Egyptian antiquities in the 1960s-70s before latterly moving into early oak carvings and furniture. In 2016 her collection of engraved coins was sold through St James’s.

This 17in (43cm) high headless Roman marble bust on an integral tapered socle, c.2nd century AD, was the top lot at the Trevanion auction.

Estimated at £3000-5000, it sold to an online buyer at £27,000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium) who saw off competition from an almost equally determined client on the phone.

The five minutes of bidding was enough to prompt auctioneer Christina Trevanion to exclaim “my goodness!” after she brought down the hammer.