It sold for $200,000 (£160,000), well in excess of its $70,000 estimate.
The incense burner, which measures 2ft 8in high x 3ft 4in wide (81cm x 1m), dates from the Meiji era, a peak period for skilled metalworking, and is the work of two different makers.
The covered censer is marked as cast by Kagawa Katsuhiro (1853-1917) who was appointed artist to the Imperial Court in 1906.
The dragon, with its articulated scales and gold eyes which coils around the censer-shaped receptacle, has a mark transcribed as ‘Toun Chu’ or ‘cast by Toun’, who was a pupil and successor of the bronze caster Murata Simin (1761-1837).
He is known for his lost wax cast bronze dragons which were esteemed by members of Paris’ Japoniste circle in the 19th century.
A very similar incense burner in bronze, also marked Toun Chu, is in the Musée Cernuschi in Paris.
A few examples of dragons marked Toun Chu have come to auction, but notes the catalogue, no mention of other silver example marked Toun Chu has come to light.
£1 = $1.25