William and Mary oyster veneered chest – £5600 at Plymouth Auction Rooms.

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While the market has certainly changed, good examples of a textbook English form continue to demand command decent sums.

The two late 17th century five-drawer chests pictured here were both the same size at 3ft 1in (93cm) wide, both inlaid and cross banded and stood on (probably later) turned bun feet.

The ‘cleaner’ of the two examples came for sale at Plymouth Auction Rooms (20% buyer’s premium) on February 2 with a guide of £700-1000. Auctioneer Paul Keen had been shown the piece in a local garage, his eyes lighting up as a covering blanket was removed. It took £5600.

Original features


William and Mary chest - £4800 at Lots Road Auctions.

Proof that furniture in unrestored original condition will always command interest, the other more dilapidated example sold for £4800 (estimate £200-400) at Lots Road Auctions (22% buyer’s premium) in Chelsea on February 7.

Although cosmetically it was tired, it had both an original surface and original brasswork and will restore very well.