Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Described as a 19th century Italian carved white marble group of a boy and girl signed P. Bazzant, Firenze, estimated at £600-800 and illustrated in the catalogue, it raised much pre-sale interest.

Another look at the lot revealed that it was, in fact, alabaster and the work of the well-known Florence sculptor Bazzani. Messages to every interested party saw no fall-off in demand and on the day the apppealing 21 3/4in (55cm) high group sold to a bidder in the room, believed to be a private buyer, at £5600.

Mr Hampton was left musing exactly how much it would have made had it indeed been marble.