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From a Dublin deceased estate, the 20in (51cm) high clock had been bought many years ago from a Dublin clock dealer and had been in the same family ever since.

It was signed by the Parisian maker J.F. Houdin and had an automaton movement with a Chinese magician performing a two-cup trick on a table over a stepped base.

The clock was raised on cast dragon feet and placed on an oval white Carrara marble free-standing base.
The case was thought to date from c.1835 with the movement from 1867.

“This was a once in a lifetime find,” said auctioneer Martin Bernon. The trade clearly agreed, bidding the clock over its €10,000-15,000 (£6400-9600) estimate. But it was an Irish private buyer who outbid them all to take the clock at €26,000 (£16,600).