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A small, gilt-bronze, early 16th century Florentine group, 83/4in (22cm) tall, portraying a Young Man Leaning on a Lion atop a coloured marble plinth, reaped Fr580,000 (£55,000) down in Nice on December 21.

Pierre-Jules Mène’s large 1869 equine bronze group Valet de Chasse Louis XV avec Cinq Chiens, 2ft 7in (79cm) long, garnered Fr245,000 (£22,900) in Soissons on December 9.

An unmarked Parisienne doll, 18in (46cm) tall, with pivoting head, biscuit bust, an unusual smiling expression with closed mouth, finely painted eyebrows, earrings, light mohair wig, white satin shoes and a “remarkably fresh” pink silk and lace dress, doubled estimate on Fr185,000 (£17,300) in Chartres the same day.

An early 18th century carved, articulated wooden doll with black glass eyes and natural auburn hair, 2ft (60cm) tall, sold over predictions for Fr82,000 (£7700) despite damage to her toes, three fingers, and the paintwork on the lips and tip of her nose. The upper part of her right leg had also been replaced, and the catalogue was cagey about her “old style” clothing.

There was a flurry of auction activity in Lyon before Chrismas, starting on December 10 when an elaborate 19th century bedroom suite (bed plus two bedside tables), copiously embellished with plaques of painted faïence, soared to Fr670,000 (£62,600).

On December 13, Buffon’s Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux – ten folio volumes of text, and five large quarto volumes with 1008 coloured bird plates, printed by the Imprimerie Royale in Paris from 1770 through 1786 – flew to Fr340,000 (£31,800).

Next day a 17th century Chinese rhinoceros horn cup brought Fr190,000 (£17,800), and on December 17 a brass-studded Brazilian rosewood dumbwaiter by local Art Deco designer André Sornay claimed Fr170,000 (£16,000).

A Sèvres Art Deco vase, 81/2in (21.5cm) tall, designed by Ruhlmann, with stylised chevron and dog-tooth patterning, took Fr100,000 (£9300) in Annecy on December 12, while Fabius Brest’s cheerful 1873 view of the Bosphorus, Voilier et Barques aux Bords d’une Mosquée, 14 x 23in (35 x 59cm), sailed to Fr325,000 (£30,400) in Besançon on December 16.