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Offered at the July 2 sale at Lawrences (25% buyer’s premium) of Crewkerne, a 3¾in (10cm) wide Victorian piece was scantily catalogued as an embossed gilt brass case with singing bird movement with hinged enamelled cover and pitched at £200-300. Bidders thought considerably more of it and it sold to a collector at £2600.

Toothpick tempter

A French gold musical toothpick box with the cockerel’s head standard mark for 1803-09 offered at Chiswick Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) on June 26. Embossed to the domed lid with flowerhead decoration and set with cabochon-cut turquoises centred on a diamond, the 2½in (6cm) wide box came with its original gold and turquoise-set key.

It was one of a score of vertu items in the 530-lot silver sale (ATG No 2400) but, said John Rogers, head of silver at Chiswick, “it attracted more condition reports that anything else in the sale, the majority coming from northern Europe”.

However, the box went to the UK trade at £3400 against a £1200-1800 estimate.