The Savoy auction got off to a flyer on its first day, with most of the items of hotel memorabilia available to the public far exceeding their pre-sale estimates.
Bonhams, which is overseeing the three-day auction that began yesterday, said the "Savoy effect" was evident from before the off, with 4,000 people forking out £30 each for sale catalogues for the 3,000 items up for grabs.
Highlights during the first day of the auction, held in the hotel's River Room overlooking the Thames, include the sale of a white grand piano played by Frank Sinatra on visits to the hotel for £11,400 (estimated price £3,000 to £4,000).
A pair of mid 20th century chandeliers sold for £19,200 (estimated at £10,000 to £15,000) also outperformed.
But collectors keen on a bit of Savoy history were equally keen on smaller keepsakes with a chrome wall-mounted ash tray (estimate £50 to £70) going for £650 and a pair of art deco birch and satinwood wall mirrors (estimate £600 to £800) making £10,800.
Harvey Cammel, director of the Savoy sale at Bonhams, said: "We always knew that this sale was going to be special and different, but frankly we have been astonished at the response to the first day of the auction. The world has a love affair with the Savoy."
From Saturday a 16-month £100m restoration project at the hotel, part of the Fairmont Group, will begin with the iconic site due to reopen in May 2009.
By Chris Druce