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Phillips’ Scottish saleroom, where an increase in demand has meant they now hold biannual toy sales, may have had the smaller auction but it produced the biggest individual prices.

French dolls have long been the most sought after of the bisque bébés and the head-turner at Edinburgh was a large 19th century Bru Jeune bébé.

Privately consigned, she was a quality entry in good condition with paperweight eyes, open/closed mouth, and a beautiful face. Clearly marked to the back of the head BRU.JNE 11, she also had the paper label from her Parisian doll shop, Au Nain Bleu, E. Chauviere, Paris.
A collector and dealer on the telephone went head to head for this doll before she was secured at £7400.

Another quality French entry was a Jumeau bisque head doll with a blue stamp to the body Jumeau Medaille D’Or Paris. Although she was missing her arms, she coaxed £3500 from a private buyer. While lower value German dolls and mundane linen entries fielded casualties, bidding was more consistent for needlework samplers.
Collectors from America’s Eastern seaboard are an important part of this market and, despite the events of September 11, regular US buyers were among the bidders.

The top two samplers came from the same private consignor, and were executed by family members. At 203/4in by 15in (53cm x 38cm), the 19th century works depicted stately homes and brought £1400 and £1700 from different buyers.

More of a surprise was a privately consigned 19th century Chinese Imperial padded robe. Given a £250-350 estimate, it brought £3800 from a collector. Two Schuko miniature teddy bear compacts also exceeded expectations. Their unusual red and pink colours helped one to £600 and the other to £580, both going to an English dealer.

At the Knowle sale, the biggest money came on an ever-popular Steiff golden plush teddy bear, 1920s, which brought £1600. An altogether bigger surprise at the Midlands rooms was a small Matchbox 1-75 44b Rolls Royce Phantom, c,1966/67. Estimated at £20-30, it turned out to be the most unusual entry in Patrick Talbot’s collection of Matchbox models (the first part of the collection was sold at Phillips in 1999).

The silver plastic wheels on the Roller (rather than more common black plastic wheels) set it apart from similar but cheaper Matchbox examples and it sold to an overseas collector at £1300.

A more entertaining entry was a MoKo plastic figure of Peregrine the Penguin - the first one Phillips specialist Kegan Harrison had seen in auction. Uncertain of how far collectors would be prepared to go, he gave it a £30-40 guideline but it sold at £260.

Phillips, Edinburgh, September 29
Phillips, Knowle, September 26
Buyer’s premium: 15/10 per cent