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However, armour was not the only strong suit in a varied sale that included several private collections.

Distinctive profile

From the David Jeffcoat collection came a rare .31 calibre Colt Paterson No 2 Model pocket revolver of c. 1837-40.

Distinctive in profile because of their folding trigger and no trigger guard, these early revolvers are highly sought-after and this example, with perhaps original mother-of-pearl grips, is now on its way home, having sold to an US collector for £38,000.

The Jeffcoat collection also produced a fine cased pair of Joseph Manton 40-bore flintlock duelling pistols dated to 1813 which sold to a collector for £14,000.

A percentage of the proceeds from each of the Jeffcoat lots was destined for the Wallace Collection as part of an initiative that has so far raised £50,000 for Westminster Abbey and the Grange Opera Festival as well as the Wallace.

“We are extremely pleased to support these three institutions and will be continuing with this for the next three auctions,” said Del Mar, who has reduced vendor commission from 15% to 10%, half of which will be donated to the relevant body. Vendors are also invited to match this with a 5% donation of their own.

Asian blades

Swords also featured prominently and several Asian blades excelled.

Among these was a 19th century Siamese niello and silver-gilt mounted sword of a quality that suggested it had been made for presentation to a foreign dignitary. Coming to sale from the family of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, it reached £32,000.

A 19th century north Indian sword with a gem-set jade hilt and gem-set gold-mounted scabbard made £22,000.

It was not only Eastern swords that set the bidders going. A Russian sword for bravery dated 1857 which was presented to Emil Karl Adolf, Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleberg by Manuel Antonio, 11th Marquis of Bedmar, sped past a £7000-10,000 estimate to sell for £28,000.

Mexican stirrups

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Pair of Conquistador iron stirrups – £29,000 at Thomas Del Mar.

Mexico was the original source of one of the most exotic lots in the sale: a pair of iron ‘Conquistador’ stirrups of characteristic T-form dating from the late 17th or 18th century.

These were chiselled over their entire surface with a continuous network of scrolling foliage enclosing grotesque figures and animals.

Their rarity and status as works of art caught the attention of bidders and they sold for £29,000 against a £5000-8000 estimate.