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Not that there is not plenty of European interest for the general dealer – the top lots at this sale were an early 19th century burr yew and ebony cabinet on stand and a 19th century Continental chess set – but the wider world provides much of the interest in these sales.

An array of international dealers were on hand (or rather telephone) for several Fijian and Tongan clubs which had been entered by a couple of elderly local women.

All but one of these dated from the early 19th century said Mr Finan, and therefore were more common and less expensive than the Fijian domed club of the 18th century, measuring 3ft 3/4in (93cm) long and incised with geometric motifs, which attracted ó200 from a London dealer. The other three clubs were dispersed to Paris, Mexico and Hawaii. The two Fijian clubs – one with a pineapple shaped terminal measuring 3ft (92cm) long and the other with a ‘gun stock’ business end measuring 3ft 51/4in (1.05m) long – sold respectively at £660 and £500. The 4ft 2in (1.27m) chamfered club from the Tonga Islands was offered with a New Hebrides pudding knife (clootie dumpling and coconut anyone?) and sold at £540.

Among the African art a “19th century” Senufo female figure measuring 113/4in (30cm) high, made £420 and a “19th century” Kuba ceremonial table measuring 20in (51cm) diameter on nine legs sold at £300.
Highlights of the Oriental works of art was a Meiji shibayama silver bowl of lobed baluster form with six gold lacquer panels inlaid in the usual manner with birds and flowers.

Signed Mitsuyuki and measuring 9in diameter by 41/2in high (23 x 12cm) the bowl was consigned in relatively good condition with minor losses to inlay and rubbing to the lacquer, the bowl sold at £1900. Metalware of a more austere variety was the Chinese pewter teapot of segmented circular form with jadeite loop finial and hardwood handle, one side engraved with prunus, the other with a poem on the relative merits of tea and wine, dated 1811 or 1871.

Measuring 43/4in (12cm) high, the pewter teapot sold at £480.
Elsewhere a collection of 120 mother of pearl gaming counters from the 19th century made £500 and a 19th century Kashmir black lacquer bowl, painted with birds and flowers, measuring 63/4in (17cm) high, sold at £220.
Returning to the European material and the two top lots of the sale, which had come from the same source, moreover one, a chess set was actually found inside the other – a yewwood cabinet, and as both dated from the same period Mr Finan surmised that the chess set had been inside the cabinet for a very long time indeed.

There was nothing so unusual about the chess set, although it was a substantial size with both kings measuring almost 4in (10cm). The fine quality of the pieces and their mint condition (the red pieces had not faded in the slightest) attracted interest from the trade, a Dutch dealer going all the way to £5200.

The burr yew cabinet with ebony handles had also been well preserved, measuring 5ft 3in high by 2ft 91/2in wide (1.60m x 76cm) although Mr Finan said that if the cabinet had been made from any other wood than the rare yew then it would have struggled to sell for anything like the eventual price of £5200 paid by an English dealer for it.

The other group consignment that attracted serious interest was a quartet of lots originally from the Nannau House in Merioneth and incorporating, it was said, some of the oak from the tree on the Vaughan family seat in which Welsh freedom fighter Owen Glendower entombed his turncoat cousin Howel Sele in 1400.

A Regency picture frame carved of the oak, measuring 3ft 23/4in high by 2ft 4in wide (98 x 71cm) and containing a print of William Pitt after Hoppner sold to a London dealer at £1700, two pairs of silver mounted wine coasters engraved with the Vaughan arms, hallmarked London 1817, 1837 and Birmingham 1827 made £2600, another pair in better condition made £1700 and a silver mounted octagonal basket with agate panels and a silver mounted butterdish, both artifacts damaged, sold together at £2800.

Finan and Co., Mere, October 5
Number of lots offered: 300
Number of lots sold: 269
Sale total: £130,535
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent