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Coming to the Bristol rooms from a Somerset farmhouse, it was known to have originally been housed in the nearby manor house where it was thought to have been since it was made.

And making it even more attractive, a similar example is in the Victoria & Albert Museum and was featured in Country Life in July 1925.

With a hinged cover with moulded and chip-carved edges the coffer was carved to the front panel with images of sea serpents and dolphins and inscribed to the apron The 24 Of Mai Ano. 1646. James Griffin. Coffers of this type often bear inscribed dates which bear no relation to their actual age, but auctioneer Marc Burridge believed 1646 was entirely consistent with the actual age in this case.

Quite of bit of worm damage to the top deterred some buyers but others soon demolished the £3000 top estimate and the chest eventually brought £7000 from a West Country dealer outbidding a local private.

A deceased estate in Weston-super-Mare provided a number of other fresh-to-market pieces in this, the first sale of the year at the Bristol rooms, including an English earthenware circular bowl.

Mr Burridge confessed to difficulties in dating an object of such obvious age.

It showed characteristics for anywhere between the 17th and 19th centuries. Mr Burridge eventually plumped for the mid-way point, cataloguing it as 18th century.

At 15in (38cm) diameter, the bowl was decorated with a treacle glaze and “miraculously” for a piece of this age had suffered no cracks or chips and just some minor scratching to the surface due to generations of use.

A battle ensued between the specialist UK trade and the London trade with the specialist trade emerging as the successful party taking the prize for £2300.

A large Irish trade contingent ensured some strong prices for silver and jewellery.

A 12in (30cm) glass claret jug with silver scroll handle mount and dome cover with a lion and shield finial by London maker Charles Boyton
in 1876, made a bottom-estimate £750 but going well over estimate was a Nuremberg brass minnekastchen.

Dating from the 17th century, the 3in (8cm) box was engraved to the exterior with figures and the interior of the hinged cover bore remnants of the original locking mechanism. It made £3000.

Clevedon Salerooms,
Bristol, March 8
Number of lots: 623
Number of lots sold: 544
Sale total: £190,000
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent