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First up was a fine 15th/16th German wood carving showing the Virgin Mary flanked by the figures of a bearded saint with a book and crowned king with an orb.

Mr Wilkinson was so impressed by its sheer quality that he gave the 23in tall by 21in wide ( 58 x 53cm) carving pride of place on the catalogue front cover and felt it could have made £12,000 but a collector took it at £7100.

Much older and from much further afield came this 2ft 101/2in (87cm) tall fragment of a c.10th century Indian grey sandstone carved relief, below right, of a bearded and be-turbanned princely figure holding a mirror with an attendant at his side, two musicians sitting cross-legged at his feet and a devotee sitting above them in the branches of a tree.

It had been entered by a London collector and seemed destined for the specialist trade but it was another private buy, and, felt Mr Wilkinson, a shrewd one at £5400.