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Contemporary art, Chinese and Russian objects might be the current art market buzzwords, but what captured the public imagination in the week before Christmas was something quite different, the residual furnishings from a London hotel.

Not just any hotel, mind you, this was The Savoy, London's famous Thamesside landmark.

Closed for a major refurbishment, the hotel's owners, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, had asked auctioneers Bonhams to conduct a sale on the premises of beds, armchairs, coffee tables, lamps, silver-plated trays and Savoy tea services.

The three-day, 3000-lot sale represented a chance to buy a memento from a name that is redolent with British tradition and the style and glitz of a bygone era, and the public seized it with both hands. The souvenir hunters kept on coming, packing the Thames Foyer where the sale was conducted.

Entry to the sale was only by £30 catalogue and over 5000 of these changed hands with more than 3500 registered to bid.

Highlights included a white grand piano, played by Frank Sinatra on visits to the hotel, which made £11,400 (estimate £2000-3000). A pair of mid-20th century chandeliers sold for £19,200 against an estimate of £10,000-15,000, while a walnut, burr walnut and ebony strung breakfront bookcase by David Linley sold for £18,000 (estimate £2000-3000). One of the most talked about lots, a large oak parquet dance floor from the Lancaster Room, sold for a ten-times-estimate £5040 to London-based party planners, Bentley's Entertainments.

By close of play late on December 20, Bonhams had taken a premium-inclusive £1,857,096 close to twice the pre-sale estimate.

Anne Crane