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The collection, from a home in Wolverhampton, had a rather sad background. It was put together by an academic who had bought at Herefordshire sales for many years but – so neglected was the property in the final years of the owner’s life – Brightwells auctioneer Roger Williams had to negotiate mountains of accumulated rubbish to rescue some very commercial pieces of oak. Ranging from the 17th to the 19th century, the furniture had received little polishing and no repair or conservation. Most needed considerable restoration.

Condition notwithstanding, the conservatively-pitched estimates of the dispersal attracted a wide mix of dealers and private bidders.

A 17th century oak wainscot armchair with a scroll carved top rail and rush seat led the way at £1850 against hopes of £800-1200. A 3ft 4in (1.01m) 17th century oak chest took £1380 and a set of 18th century oak wall shelves flanked by a pair of crossbanded doors and two small drawers quadrupled expectations at £1800.

Of the dated oak entries, a 1698 initialled bible box with geometric inlay and steel lockplate brought £500, while a plain dower chest dated 1694 and initialled D.D. made £320. Though warming pans are currently slow sellers, two early and inscribed examples with pierced lids and flattened steel handles did well enough here.

One, dated to the 17th century, was inscribed, Let your love to follow man glow as this warming pan took £520. The other, engraved As fresh as a rose, made £260.

Oak furniture also brought some of the highest prices in Brightwells’ 1200-lot two-day sale earlier in the month when an elegantly panelled 18th century court cupboard with a good colour was taken to £2600; a late 17th century side table with a shaped apron made £1950, and an Aesthetic-style hall stand with a pottery tile frieze by Birmingham makers Morris & Morton fetched £1050.