The pair of large 19th century sandstone beasts carved standing with right paw raised on rocky bases were sited on the gateway to the Johnson Matthey factory, supplier of raw materials to local jewellers, silversmiths and the cutlery trade.
After the factory closed in the 1980s, the Arundel Gate site was cleared to make way for Sheffield Hallam University buildings but the lions were saved.
One of them, now raised on a later plinth measuring 7ft 6in (2.3m) across, had been in a Sheffield garden for many years. Bamfords in Derby was contacted to auction the piece last year and did so on January 13-17 having photographed it in situ. The catalogue pointed out that the buyer would require a lorry crane to remove it from its current location.
As a fabulous example of Victorian garden statuary it sailed above its £4000-6000 estimate to bring £20,000 (plus 24.75% buyer’s premium).