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J. Straker, Chadwick (10% buyer's premium) auctioneer Lyndon Trumper now reckons around half of his lots are knocked down to private buyers and at his February 13 sale the top lot went to one who had travelled from Southeast England to bid.

The sale predominantly comprised sensibly-estimated entries from several large deceased estates and Mr Trumper said: “What made the difference were the private buyers. In particular, two or three privates looking to invest in good-quality furniture pushed the prices beyond trade expectations.”

This was certainly true of the punchy price for the highlight. This was a well-proportioned, late 18th century oak dresser base fitted with four frieze drawers over a central shaped apron and with two side drawers.

A large example and a good colour, the 8ft 1in (2.46m) long dresser was consigned together with around 100 lots from a deceased estate in Usk. It sold to the private buyer from the South-East at £10,000.

Given their location, the auctioneers tend to have a steady flow of oak consignments, and the buyer of the dresser also bid the requisite £2200 for a worm-damaged, oak lowboy consigned by a Breconshire vendor. A more unusual piece of Welsh country furniture to generate interest was a coffer on chest, probably late 18th century and made of fruitwood.

Consigned from a Breconshire deceased estate, it comprised a small coffer with two plain panels to the front and a notch-hinged lid. The coffer could be removed from the base section which had two short and one long drawers.

At 3ft 3in by 18in by 3ft 4in (99cm x 46cm x 1.01m), it was larger than most coffers but smaller than most mule chests. Its size and form made it a quirky must-have for several interested parties and it was contested on six telephones before selling to a Welsh oak dealer at £3400.

Elsewhere, a noteworthy bid was also placed for a Continental mahogany inlaid and cross-banded bowfront commode with a frieze drawer over a tambour front. It fetched £2600 from a dealer.