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Featuring a rounded rosewood top with a cross-banded edge bordering a band of burr yew veneer and with elegant curved and turned supports with roundel ornament and an unusual turned stretcher, it was right in every detail. After considerable action in the room the table went to a phone bidder at a sale-topping £12,500 against a lowly £2000-2500 estimate. The major surprise of the day, however, was the 1896 Chester silver notecase, right.

With its enamelled front depicting a ruined abbey, and in good condition, it was attractive enough but nothing out of the ordinary and the £100-150 estimate appeared reasonable. What gave it local and specialist interest was an inscription on the back commemorating the launching of the SS Duke of Cornwall in 1898 by Lady Stalbridge.

Built by Vickers in Barrow-in-Furness for the London Yorkshire Railway and London North Western Railway, the ship plied the Fleetwood-Ireland ferry route. In 1928 she was sold to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and was scrapped in 1948.

The kid-lined case received numerous bids in the room and on the book before it was eventually won by a private telephone bidder at £1500.

Helen Orrell