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The talking point, however, was the way pieces less often seen at auction captured the interest of buyers and went way over estimates. One was a Regency colonial ebony settee, found in the cellar of a retired admiral's house in Portsmouth which took £4000 against hopes of £600-800, illustrating, the huge revivial of interest in campaign and colonial items.

Another was a hall lantern of indeterminate age but of huge size at 7ft 5in (1.96m). The six-sided country house lantern was suspended from six scroll and leaf mounted brackets and, against a £2000-2500 estimate topped the day at £9000 going to a private overseas buyer.

But most pre-sale enquiries at Salisbury centred on this 18th century Tongan hardwood and ivory inlaid headrest, right.

Featuring arrowhead and lozenge designs, the 14 1/2in long, 8in high (37 x 20cm) piece was estimated at up to £3000 but sold at £8600.