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It is now generally accepted that European sailors returning from the Caribbean brought back these highly decorative maritime works as souvenirs. Although they have been making good money at auction for some time now, private American interest seems to have led to a recent price hike (discussed in last week’s Gazette when a similar pair fetched £6500 at Mellors & Kirk). This pair, modestly estimated to fetch £600-800, was contested to £4000 by a Californian dealer on the telephone but secured in the room at £5000 by a UK dealer.

Amongst the other notable entries was a mid-19th century pond yacht built by R. Bucknell, Maidstone, c.1856. Consigned from a deceased estate, it was the earliest example of a pond yacht Bonhams’ maritime specialist Lionel Willis had seen. Although it looked like a fishing boat model and had the rigging of a traditional sailing cutter, its base had been leaded and its hull widened to enable it to sail on a pond. In need of some restoration, a dealer went to £2400 for ownership. The 153-lot sale realised £67,490 with a 67 take-up by lot.