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This 3ft 1in (93cm) wide comb and cylinder orchestral musical box is attributed to the famous Swiss firm of Charles Paillard & Co.

Dating from c.1885, it plays 12 airs with bell, drum and castanet accompaniment as well as featuring three ‘mandarin’ automata figures that turn their heads as the music plays.

Contained in a finely inlaid case, it is estimated at $10,000-15,000 in the mechanical music section of Morphy Auctions' 800-lot sale of fine and decorative arts on July 22 in Denver, Pennsylvania.



The auction firm of Pillet, based in Lyons-La-Fôret in Normandy, is selling a selection of items from the Hotel Consulaire de Dieppe as part of a sale on July 2.

In its capacity as a port (and one with strong cross-Channel links to the UK), Dieppe has a rich maritime history.This is reflected in some of the pieces on offer such as model sailing ships, bells and aerial views of the port.

But a varied selection of furnishings and decorative objects is also on offer, ranging from light fittings and paintings to pieces of furniture.

Pictured here is an early 20th century lectern carved from solid mahogany in the form of caduceus set on a dolphin base.

The 4ft 9in (1.4m) high piece is signed Barbe and comes with the original watercolour design by Jean Miellot dated 1929.

The estimate is €400-600.



Between the 15th and 18th centuries in Spain, conflicts between gentlemen were often resolved with the preparation of a decorated letter, awarded to the acquitted man and intended to preserve his reputation. The letters could also recognise the nobility of a person. Duran Subastas will offer a fine example of this in its next books and manuscripts auction on July 19.

The letter demonstrates that the king recognises Don Antonio de Pedraza Vibero as a hidalgo, or nobleman, and the double-sided manuscript with a velvet binding is dated Valladolid, 1582.

It depicts the crucifixion of Christ in a landscape, being worshipped in the margins by King Phillip II and other members of the royal family, above a coat of arms surrounded by an abundance of fruit, birds and insects.

The second sheet shows a large vignette of Santiago Matamoros (literally Saint James the Moor-slayer) in a depiction of his legendary appearance at the Battle of Clavijo, where he supposedly helped the Christians conquer the Muslim Moors. 

Although such letters were relatively common, this example is especially notable for the beautiful and meticulous execution of the miniatures and its excellent state of conservation. It is estimated to sell for €1500.