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The sale was notable for a small group of attractive pieces of Meiji metalware, privately consigned from a UK source and in original, unrestored condition. These attracted interest from some of the main UK players in this field, such as Barry Davies, Malcolm Fairley, and Tony Ashworth.

Highlight of the day was this 181/2in (47cm) wide Japanese white-metal hanging koro modelled as the Takarabune or ship of the seven gods of good fortune and suspended from a chain. The boat has a removable fitted deck engraved with a signature and is decorated to the outside with a kirin, clouds, swirling waves and ho-o birds. There is a similar hanging koro by Kanaya Gorosaburo in the Khalili Collection but that features a ho-o bird to the prow instead of the dragon on Bonhams’ example.

Catalogued as having slight loss and damage and with slightly tarnished but original surface, this easily outstripped an estimate £7000-10,000 as various trade bidders battled it to £20,000, with London dealer J.A.N. Fine Art as the successful purchaser.

This was much the most expensive offering in the sale, but two other Meiji pieces also made decent sums. One was a 41/4in (11cm) wide cinquefoil-shaped alloy metal box decorated with relief scenes of birds and flowers which came in at £6000 and the other was the 41/2in (11cm) high white-metal spherical shaped koro, densely decorated with chrysanthemum flowerheads, which made £5800.