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A c.1650 Antwerp ebonised table cabinet selling at a mid-estimate £2520 at Bleasdales.

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Topping proceedings was a c.1820 export ivory sewing box. A typical example of Cantonese craftmanship measuring 12½in (32cm) wide, it is carved all over with figures, pagodas, horses and boats.

Inside are ivory lidded compartments for thimbles, tape measure cotton reels and other sewing accoutrements. Complete with its original key, it sold at £5020 against a £2000-3000 estimate.

For specialist bidders, the attraction of a c.1650 Antwerp ebonised table cabinet selling at a mid-estimate £2520 was the needlework panels to the interior. These were a pair of vases of flowers to the doors and seven vignettes depicting birds and animals to the arrangement of drawers.

Enamel buttons

The quintessentially English contribution to the day’s £170,000 total was a set of six late 18th century coloured enamel buttons, probably made in Bilston, the Black Country town famed for such ware.

From a well-known collection, each 1½in (3.7cm) diameter, copper-rimmed button featured an architectural landscape view. They more than doubled the top estimate in selling at £4200.

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Tin drum nutmeg grater – £3200 at Bleasdales.

These biannual sales often include the occasional piece of bijouterie. Providing the main surprise of the day was a rare 18th century tin nutmeg grater.

In the form of a 1½in (4cm) tall military drum, inscribed to each hinged domed end God Save The King around a crown, it was pitched at £200-300 but sold for £3200.