Napoleonic French prisoner of war model – £19,000 at Clevedon Salerooms.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Measuring 7in (18cm) high, the bone and straw-work automaton which included nine figures and an elaborate network of finely carved and pierced cogs, was brought in on a valuation day in a box by a gentleman who had kept it in the loft for 30 years in a cardboard box labelled 'do not crush'.

Multiple bidders responded to its complexity, subject matter and its remarkable condition: it retained much of its original colour and the straw-work platforms were perfectly preserved.

Estimated at £1500-2500 on November 25, it sold for £19,000 (plus 19 per cent buyer's premium) to a private collector.