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Arctic rescue silver snuff box – £5500 at Lawrences.

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Estimated to get away, all sold, generally in three figures, to a total of £21,500.

A rectangular box by Rawlings & Summers, London 1828, with a cast fox-hunting scene to the cover and a fox mask thumbpiece, quadrupled the estimate going to a UK collector at £3000. A vinaigrette with gilt interior by Matthew Linwood, Birmingham 1805, engraved with a portrait of Nelson, and the words England Expects Every Man Will Do His Duty, went to a strong bidder from Australia at a double-estimate £2400.

The prize, however, was a presentation, 3½in (8.5cm) long snuff box by John Bettridge, Birmingham, 1827. This had a classical ancient Rome figural scene to the cover but its value lay in the later inscription to the gilt interior.

It was a gift from the intrepid Arctic and Antarctic voyager and explorer Captain Sir James Clark Ross who, following an 1829 expedition to find the North-West Passage, was given up for dead along with his crew after years of no news. In fact, trapped in the ice at Baffin Island for two years, they had survived with the help of local Inuit. Finally, in August 1883, they were found by Captain Richard Humphreys in the Isabella of Hull.

Ross expressed his gratitude on the box, inscribed A private testimony of Gratitude, Affection and Esteem and in Admiration of his Humane, Persevering and Manly Intrepidity which under divine providence was the means of rescuing them to their Friends and their Country 18 Oct 1833.

As a piece of Arctic history, the box looked conservatively estimated at £500-700 and duly sold to a UK collector at £5500.

Pencil propelled

Small collectables remain the strong suit of the silver market. At Woolley & Wallis a Tiffany & Co novelty propelling pencil modelled as Manhattan’s Metropolitan Life Tower sold at £2000.

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Tiffany novelty pencil – £2000 at Woolley & Wallis.

It can be pretty accurately dated as the Met Life was constructed in 1909 and was the world’s tallest skyscraper until the Woolworth Building went up in 1913, after which it became yesterday’s icon barely worth celebrating.

Although these items are rare, another was among the KB collection of pencils offered at the Salisbury rooms in January and went a shade above estimate at £2200.

On the menu

Also pictured here is a set of 10 Edward VII silver and enamel menu stands, finely painted with game birds, hunting hounds, a racehorse and a fox hunter.

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Sampson Mordan silver and enamel menu holder – £4200 at Mellors & Kirk.

Each were marked for Sampson Mordan, Chester 1906 and carried registered numbers, with six of the set housed in a green leather case signed for Edwards & Sons, 161 Regent Street. All in fine condition, they sold for £4200 (estimate £1200-1800) at Mellors & Kirk’s sale in Nottingham on March 21.