Last week, the long-awaited Sotheby's Chatsworth Attic Sale realised £6.5m, smashing its pre-sale estimate of £2.5m in the first few hours. As the Derbyshire property cast its magic, 12 helicopters flew bidders in for the sale at the house and 15 horseboxes were used to collect purchases. H&A guides you through the best and most unusual lots from the three-day sale...
1. A rare Maori Nephrite pendant, a hei-tiki, sold for £45,650 – more than six times the estimate of £7,000. It was found hidden in the back of a dark cupboard in the storerooms at Chatsworth, possibly acquired by the 6th Duke of Devonshire in the early 19th century.
2. A Japanese lacquered centre table supported by three stuffed monkeys and known as ‘The Monkey Table’ fetched £22,500 against an estimate of £3,000-£5,000. The Bachelor Duke, one of the most energetic of the Cavendish builders and collectors, bought the table at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
4. One of five William Kent chimneypieces from Devonshire House to go under the hammer, a magnificent George II carved white marble fireplace, c1735, sold for £565,250 - far above its pre-sale estimate of £200,000-£300,000 and a record for a chimneypiece at auction.
5. An unusual Georgian wrought-iron 18th-century boot scraper was expected to sell for £300-£500 but made a surprising £1,875.
7. A Commonwealth Cast Iron Armorial Fireback, dated 1657, sold for £18,750 despite an estimate of 1,200-1,800.
8. A ruby and diamond bow-shaped brooch, with the words ‘L’amour en fait le lien’ (“love binds together”) in enamel, c. 1900, that belonged to Dowager Duchess of Devonshire sold for £8,500 – more than 100 times the estimate of £80-100.
9. A pair of polychrome decorated pressed and wrought metal hall lanterns, c. 1890, that hung in the vast entrance hall at Batsford Park, house of the Mitford Family, sold for £31,250 – over 200 times the estimate of £150.
10. A Humber open touring four-seater car, known as the Yellow Peril, which was delivered by Humber to the Cavendish Motor Company in the summer of 1915 and purchased for £350, was expected to sell for £3,000-£5,000 but bidders drove the final price to £42,500.
12. A marmet canvas and tubular steel mounted 1950s perambulator sold for £250, much higher than the modest estimate of £10-£15.
13. A 1930s combined record changer and wireless, around which the Mitford sisters probably danced as young girls, sold for £475 despite an estimate of £30-£50.
14. Four portraits of Mitford sisters Diana, Pamela, Deborah and Unity, reproductions after the original drawings by William Acton, were expected to make £150-£250 but sold for £1,500.
15. A rare Regency Japanned Chinoiserie side cabinet, probably made in Pontypool c1810, attributed to Frederick Crace, sold for £127,250, far exceeding its estimate of £20,000-£30,000.