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Mr Froggatt, senior valuer at Phillips Edinburgh, had been asked to perform a simple valuation at a local family home where he found a splendid pair of 18th century Chinese polychrome famille rose hawks.

Standing roughly 10in (26.3cm and 25.3cm) high, the birds had been in the family for some years, and both had been restored, but no longer enjoyed the pride of place in the home that perhaps they once did.

“I went into the son’s bedroom – a typical teenager’s room, painted black with a motorcycle poster on the wall, and there they were, sitting on a shelf above his computer,” said an amazed Mr Froggatt. “It is also unusual for a pair to have survived together.”

At Phillips Edinburgh’s sale of Oriental ceramics, glass and works of art on Friday, June 16, the birds were estimated at £5000-8000 but flew south to a London dealer for £25,000 (plus 15 per cent buyer’s premium).