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A substantial collection of Japanese mask netsuke will be offered at Matthew Barton on the first day of a two-day sale on June 6 at 25 Blythe Road in West Kensington.

Comprising 195 masks, the group was assembled by Peter E Müller, a Swiss businessman who had a successful career as European managing director of the employment agency Adecco.

The collection, said to be the largest of its kind to come to auction, has been curated by Max Rutherston, specialist in Japanese netsuke and works of art for Matthew Barton, with a published book accompanying the sale. A highlight is a 1½in (4.2cm) high mask of a ‘shojo’ (young girl) by Masanao of Kyoto, c.1780. It is one of only four masks recorded by the netsuke carver and is estimated at £4000-6000.

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A trio of 18th century dolls, dubbed the ‘Byne Ladies’ and valued at £40,000, has been consigned to Special Auction Services in Newbury on June 19.

Kept in the same family for the last 200 years, the English carved and painted wooden dolls were thought to have originally belonged to Isabella Byne (1745-97), a reverend’s daughter from Northumberland who married into the wealthy Carr family at the age of 13 in 1758.

The earliest and rarest doll, pictured above, dates to c.1760-65, and is estimated at £10,000-15,000. The smallest, a 13in (33cm) high doll, centre, carries a £8000-12,000 guide, and the largest at 2ft (61cm) high is expected to make £6000-8000.


This American four-seater 1906 Holsman highwheeler horseless carriage is a star entry in Beech Auctions’ June 17 sale of transport and collectables in Callington, Cornwall.

The early automobile Model 6 ‘Touring Surrey’, with a 10-horse power engine, was manufactured in the Holsman factory in Chicago in 1906, and was exported to Australasia, before arriving in the UK in 1992.

The Holsman Automobile Company was a pioneer in producing multi-seated automobiles and was also the first to introduce a reverse gear. The auction house said only one two-seater model Holsman is believed to be on public display in the UK. Estimate £17,000-22,000.