The Hotel des Ventes de Troyes (24% buyer’s premium), which is part of the Ivoire group, held a sale on May 28 with just four people in the room but 885 registered online.
Highlights included a portrait by the French Old Master Joseph Marie Vien (1716-1809) of his son Jean-Marie which was pre-empted by the Musée Fabre in Montpellier, the town of his birth.
The hitherto unpublished painting was known through a pastel by or after Vien that is now in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Beziers, The 18 x 14¾in (46 x 37.5cm) oil on canvas sold for €18,000 (£16,363) against predictions of €8000-12,000.
The sale also featured a Polynesian wooden club from the Marquesas islands.
The 4ft 10in (1.45m) long club from the early 20th century had been polished with sharkskin after immersion in taro and coconut oil to give a hardened patina resembling lacquer. It ended up selling for €21,200 (£19,270), three times the estimate.