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The identity of this moustachioed batsman who stands 14in (35cm) high has never been confirmed.

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There are a number of different variants - none of them common - including the damaged figure of a batsman c.1855 seen at the Tamlyn & Son (15% buyer's premium) sale held in Bridgwater on January 25. The identity of this moustachioed batsman who stands 14in (35cm) high has never been confirmed although he was initially issued as one of a pair - the other a bowler in similar costume. It was not in particularly good condition it had some cracks and repairs but the figure at Tamlyn prompted some pretty stiff competition, both from the room and on the telephone, before it sold to a private collector at £1200.

Of course, Staffordshire portrait groups in general are not the market they once were. It is currently possible to pick up some real bargains at auction and it is a scarce figure that now makes more than £250. At the rooms of S.J. Hales (15% buyer's premium) of Bovey Tracey, near Newton Abbot back on December 1, a specialist section included many flatbacks in the £20-120 range, although sold at £420 was a pair of diminutive figures, 5 1/4in (13cm) high modelled as Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, he standing wearing a top hat, she wearing a bonnet and holding a book.

Staffordshire dogs in all their variants are not quite what they were and an ordinary pair of white and gilt chimney dogs was sold at just £50. A rarer variant was a figure of a girl riding on the back of a recumbent red and white spaniel, 7 1/4in (18cm), sold at £650 - it is one of a pair thought to represent the royal children - while £450 was taken for a fine pair of black and white spaniels, c.1850, nicely modelled with separate front legs and standing 7in (17cm) high. A pair of small spill vases modelled as stags pursued by dogs in front of trees, 6 1/4in (15.5cm) high, sold at £245.