From being virtually guaranteed four-figure sellers, today they need to be high quality and with decorative touches if they are to get away at more than a few hundred pounds.
Meeting those criteria at Hartleys' (17.5% buyer’s premium) Ilkley sale on June 16 was a Victorian burr walnut and marquetry piano-top example. Standing 3ft (90cm) tall and featuring the desirable sprung mechanism revealing a fret cut and divided stationery compartment, it bore a presentation plaque to the hinged lid dated 1883.
The £900-1400 estimate was more than justified when the davenport went to a private bidder at £1900.
A c.1921 pair of 7in (18.5cm) tall vases painted by Harry Stinton with his trademark cattle in misty mountain landscapes went to a collector comfortably above estimate at £850, while a 3½in (9cm) Worcester sparrow-beak jug painted in enamels with chinoiserie figures, c.1755, overcame some damage (a piece riveted to the rim) to sell to the trade at £420.