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As expected, a Steinway, boudoir grand was the most hotly contested instrument. In a rosewood case and with squared tapering legs and brass castors the piano, No. 128319, went at £4600 to a private buyer from Middlesex.

More of a surprise, at least to the auctioneers if not to specialists in the room, was the interest in four old violin bows, one with silver mounts which eclipsed their £40-70 estimate to bring £1600 from a Staffordshire private who obviously was not the only bidder to see something of value in the underrated quartet.

Making for a smooth link from playing music to listening to it, was one of the oddities in the medical instruments section – an unusual silver-plated brass ear trumpet.

Engraved to the whole with leafage engraving, the hearing device consigned by a UK private was inscribed F.C. Rein & Son, Patentees, sole inventors and only makers, 108 Strand, London. Attached with a tube which allowed for insertion into the ear, the trumpet appealed to a Shropshire buyer who saw off all competition to post a winning bid of £520.

Silver brought a more familiar feel to the day but here too it was unusual pieces of quality – currently a very strong field – which caught the eye.

In particular there was a London 1912 three-piece condiment set by the hugely collectable Omar Ramsden. Embossed with Celtic floral frieze, the capstan salt complete with blue glass liner, mustard pot with hinged cover and a baluster pepperette was consigned by a local private individual in excellent condition, and went over the phone at a mid-estimate £1480.

Day two offerings were the traditional ceramics and furniture. The majolica market may not be quite as buoyant as it was but a Minton honey pot in the form of a 71/2in (19cm) high, beehive with rope moulding and scattered bees got away at £940 despite minor repairs to the base and their lack of the imprimature of George Jones However the lack of a cover to a majolica “chinaman” teapot was too much for bidders to swallow and it failed against hopes of £50-80.

There were few surprises among the top selling furniture though the section did contain one oddity – an early Victorian breakfront sideboard in dark oak and heavily carved in the craftsman’s homage to the Elizabethan age.

It had come from a South Shropshire farmhouse and as farms are the source of many an untouched piece of oak furniture for Brightwells there must be worries about how much the Foot and Mouth crisis is going to hit supply.

On a happier note, this hefty 7ft 2in (2,18m) wide evocation of Merrie England needed to find a buyer out of the usual run of things and it found one.

Carved to the upper section with a beefeater flanked by a pair of floral carved doors and with the base doors carved with figures resembling Drake, Raleigh and Elizabeth I, the sideboard appealed to an American buyer eager to snap up a historical English piece, and it made £2400.

Brightwells. Leominster,
February 28 - March 1
Number of lots: 1200
Number of lots sold: n/a
Sale total: n/a
Buyer’s premium: 11.75 per cent