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Pippa Stockdale, company director and head of pictures at Chelsea used to head up the now-defunct print department. She was happy to admit that when Phillips and Bonhams merged, Phillips Bond Street undoubtedly had the stronger print department.

While Chelsea catered for the trade with large folio lots of 19th century material, Bond Street sales consisted of high-quality, largely solitary, lots with a more contemporary feel.

“We always prided ourselves on bringing in privates to our sales,” said Ms Stockdale. “But today the majority of privates want modern and contemporary pieces, they aren’t interested in 19th century hunting prints and the like which made up the bulk of our sales”.

So lesser value prints will now be sold in the regions – Snaffles in Knowle, decorative and sporting in Oxford and Lowry, Flint and Bradley in Leeds.

Despite the changes, both departments found success in their recent sales with varying versions of the famous silkscreen image of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol (1928-87) which is hardly surprising considering the hype surrounding the recent retrospective at Tate Modern.

Two trade-entered lots, each of ten colour silkscreens as published by Sunday B. Morning, topped the day at Chelsea. All were unframed and measured 2ft 103/4 by 2ft 103/4in (91 x 91cm) and against a £1500-1800 both sets went to an interior designer at £1800.

“There is no denying that the Warhol exhibition helped the prints to sell which is why we decided to include the pieces at this time,” said specialist-in-charge Alexandra Gill, who offered five Warhol prints, all from different private sources, in the 411-lot April 8 sale.

Best of the five was Marilyn, a 1967 silkscreen printed in colours on wove. Signed in pencil and numbered 52/250 with a rubber stamp, the silkscreen had been printed by Aetna Silkscreen Products, New York and published by Factory Additions. Measuring 2ft 103 /4 by 2ft 103/4in (91 x 91cm), there were some areas of creasing and surface defects at the sheet edge. Against a punchy £25,000-35,000 estimate it was knocked down at £20,000.