Produced by the 19th century craftsmen who had workshops round the Paris royal palace, a Palais Royal musical sewing box led the 720-lot July 17 sale in Warwick.
The 9¼in (23.5cm) wide ebony box was decorated to the sides with steel pins and to the lid with a relief-carved mother of pearl scene of Venus and Cupid in a chariot pulled by birds. It opened to reveal a mirror with a border of flowers and an ivory tray with a full complement of fittings. The lower section was fitted with a working musical box movement signed Ham Alibert No 4356 and stamped 516.
“Palais Royal boxes were tremendously fashionable,” said Robert Bleasdale from the saleroom, “but they were so fragile they were really meant to be looked at rather than to be used.”
This example had survived remarkably well over the years and took a mid-estimate £4400 from an American collector.
Pin ball wiz
More of a surprise was a humble 18th century knitted pin ball. Measuring 2in (5cm) in diameter, one side featured green and brown flowering plants, the other a black and cream clock face with the single hand at 12 o’clock.
It was one of dozens of pin cushions, featuring various materials including silver, brass and ivory which were often offered in job lots. The pin ball had the distinction of being sold as a single lot but the £300-500 estimate was eclipsed when it sold to a UK collector at £3200.