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Between 50 and 60 years ago, a wealthy ship owner from the North East retained a dealer to help him build a collection. When the ship owner died, his will stipulated that the dealer could select the item of his choice from the collection he had helped build. He chose this chest, eventually passing it onto his son, who consigned it to the auctioneers’ Newcastle upon Tyne rooms from his home near Edinburgh.

Despite a “few slight things wrong with it”, its condition – close to original – and unusual configuration of drawers led to a bidding battle on the phone between a member of the London trade and a private buyer from New York who eventually secured the piece at £68,000 plus premium, more than twice its high estimate of £30,000.