As well as its alignment of drawers with flush-fitting brass handles it retains a sprung iron mattress base and seemingly an original straw-filled mattress, labelled John Baker & Co, Ltd, Kensington W.
It was consigned for sale at Halls of Shrewsbury on December 11 by a direct descendant of Edward Beck (1803-61). A watch-keeper officer from a prominent Quaker family in Dover, he worked on merchant sailing ships in the second quarter of the 19th century.
His diaries documenting his rise through the ranks from cabin boy to officer and voyages to Quebec and India were published in 1996 as The Sea Voyages of Edward Beck in the 1820s.
This piece of furniture, used by later generations of the family as a bunk bed in student digs, has always been known as ‘Uncle Edward’s sea chest’.
At 6ft 3in (1.91m) wide, it is not the most room-friendly form but is unquestionably a rare and evocative survivor. The winning bid was a double-estimate £1700 (plus 20% buyer’s premium).