A BIDDING war which saw a bronze sculpture sell for hundreds of thousands of pounds marked a new record for a Colchester auction house.

A bronze sculpture of the Roman god Mercury fetched just under £700,000 in Reeman Dansie’s fine art and antiques sale yesterday.

The figure once belonged to Harold Taylor, the former headteacher of Cheam School, Berkshire, where King Charles III and his father Prince Philip studied.

The high-ticket sale broke saleroom records, becoming the highest-value sale of all time for the auctioneers, in Wyncolls Road, Colchester.

Gazette: Record-breaking - a bronze statute of Mercury fetched almost £700,000Record-breaking - a bronze statute of Mercury fetched almost £700,000 (Image: Reeman Dansie)

A spokesperson for Reeman Dansie said: “Although tentatively described as a Grand Tour piece, the elegant composition - Mercury shown in full flight, balancing only on the toes of one foot - was evidently redolent to more than one bidder of Italian Mannerist sculpture of the 16th and 17th centuries, leading to a 15-minute battle between bidders in the room and on the telephone.

“The extraordinary price achieved reflects the continued growth of Reeman Dansie over its 140-year history: from a small regional auction house with a local audience to one with a global outlook and international reputation.”