The Byzantine icon which sold for £39,000 at Hampstead Auctions.

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Estimated at £150-250, it was taken to £39,000 (plus 15 per cent buyer's premium) - a house record for the North London rooms.

The 4 1/2 x 23/4 in (11 x 7cm) ivory is thought to be a 10th century Byzantine icon depicting St Demetrios, a third century deacon killed for preaching Christianity in Serbia. In the Middle Byzantine period (c.843-1204), the Saint was frequently depicted in icons in military dress and with a broken spear.

The ivory was cracked down the back and split into four or five pieces. The white metal and enamel triptych is thought to be much later.

The North London auctioneers reported five overseas bidders on the telephone, but said it sold to a London dealer in the room against underbidding from Holland.