Female Mossi figure, €40,000 (£35,715) at Lempertz.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The auction is traditionally timed to coincide with the BRAFA art fair and there was international interest in the room, on the phones and online – in particular for the 159 objects from the collection of Seymour Lazar, a flamboyant celebrity lawyer in Palm Springs.

Together with his wife Alyce he spent many decades collecting African and Oceanic art, all of which found new owners at prices way over the estimates.

A French collector had to bid €40,000 (£35,715), 10 times the guide, to secure a 17in (43cm) high female Mossi figure from the Ouagadougou region of Burkina Faso. An American buyer paid the same amount for a 2ft 9in (85cm) high female figure from south-east Africa which was also guided at €4000.

It was a similar story with a mask from Katakatai on the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea which was sold to a French collector for €33,000 (£29,465) and an 5ft 2in (1.58m) wooden Abelam figure, also from Papua New Guinea, which was knocked down to a US collector for €32,000 (£28,570), more than five times the catalogue price.