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The lots are horses Joey, the play’s protagonist, and Topthorn will be accompanied by a goose and a pair of crows.

War Horse captured hearts round the world including famously that of H.M. the Queen,” said Bonhams director of African art Giles Peppiatt. “This is a one-off opportunity to acquire a piece of theatrical legend.”

The puppets were designed and made in South Africa by members of the Handspring Puppet Company. They are made of cane, leather and tyvec and the horses’ torsos are reinforced with aluminium.

The set will be signed and numbered by Adrian Kohler, Handspring’s Master Puppeteer.

It is one of eight sets made and the only one to come to auction.

Proceeds from the auction will go to aide Handspring Trust, founded by Handspring Puppet Company to promote puppetry arts.

War Horse is based on the novel by Brisith children’s author Michael Morpurgo. It chronicles the experiences of a farm boy from Devon who seeks to bring his horse back from France during the First World War after it is sold to the cavalry.  

It became the National Theatre’s most successful play with a seven-year run and completing a tour of 10 countries.

The auction will take place on September 13 the night before the Bonhams South Africa sale.