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Cinnabar lacquer multi-tier stacking box and cover offered with a cloisonné teapot and circular dish – $19,000 (£14,400) at Nye & Company.

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Wawapek, a Queen Anne-style residence was built by Robert de Forest, philanthropist and civic leader in New York City. The attics yielded a mix of European and American treasures, ranging from Native American pottery and yachting trophies to European furniture and Asian works of art.

It was the latter category that produced the highest price of the July 25-26 auction, in the form of a carved cinnabar lacquer multi-tier stacking box and cover which was offered together with a cloisonné teapot and circular dish.

None of the items were ascribed to any period and it was given a three-figure estimate. However, the bidding went to no less than $19,000 (£14,400). The firm’s John Nye told ATG: “Despite the damage, people were most excited about the box. I gather it may be as old as 16th century and of Chinese origin.”

He added that the quality and depth of the carving gave it tremendous plasticity and led to international interest. The successful bidder was American.

£1 = $1.32