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This handsome oak coffer, right, was catalogued as early but, given the quality of the three linenfold panels, the form and its patination, was more likely 16th century in date.

That placed it in an altogether different rarity bracket, but any hopes that the 3ft 9in (1.14m) wide by 2ft 2in (66cm) high coffer would be bought close to its lowly estimate were doused by the presence of several enthusiastic members of the trade. It sold over the telephone at £7200.

Another early-contested vernacular lot in Buckinghamshire was a small 18th century elm coffer of plank construction with a moulded edge to the hinged top, straight sides and a bracket plinth incorporating a shallow drawer with shaped brass escutcheons and bail handles.

An appealing 17in high by 22 1/2in wide (43 x 57cm), it went to a Thames Valley dealer at £1600.