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Undoubtedly the extra bidders were instrumental in helping almost all the 1600 lots get away.

The increase in the theft of fire surrounds serves to prove their popularity with buyers prepared to pay over the odds for a decorative example.

Set with a number of German ceramic tiles depicting huntsmen, hounds and lion masks, a 19th century oak fireplace was certainly a decorative example and subsequently attracted lots of interest going above estimate at £1650.

Buyers were not deterred by some 15-20 layers of paint which covered the good original condition of a small Regency strapwork garden seat. The 5ft (1.52m) diameter convex seat set on pad feet brought £1300.

Best of the furniture of the more solid variety were a set of six William IV figured oak spade-back dining chairs initialled IS to the underside which went at £1650, and a Regency rosewood tea table which, despite needing a re-polish, brought £1040.

Wotton Auction Rooms, Wotton-under-Edge,
April 17-18
Buyer’s premium: 10 per cent