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It was consigned to Doyle (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium), New York, Asian Works of Art sale, March 19, by a dotcom businessman who had fallen on hard times, said the expert.

Purchased a year ago at DM28,000 (then £8615), the vendor recouped his costs although made no profit in such a quick re-sale. It sold second time round at $12,000 (£8570) when the group was taken up by a buyer on behalf of a European collector.

Overall, bidding was selective in a sale that saw 18th century porcelain, good hardstones and Japanese ivories find buyers while the lesser quality lots were “dead on arrival”, according to Doyle consultant Martin Lorber.