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This tinplate flywheel-drive ‘Africa’ postal cart above, produced between 1889-1918 by model-maker Lehmann, was inspired by word from the new German colonies in Africa that natives used ostriches as saddle animals.

Missing reins and string for the flywheel-drive, the piece is guided at £400-600 in a 675-lot sale of toy collectables at Special Auction Services on January 29 in Newbury, Berkshire.

specialauctionservices.com or see this item on thesaleroom.com

This gentleman’s 18ct white gold watch by Ebel above comes to auction from the estate of the late Stuart Devlin (1931-2018).

The gold and silversmith, who held a royal warrant to supply gold and jewels to the queen and was known for his appreciation of good design, was given watches by brands who wanted him to promote their items.

The watch is one of two with Devlin provenance to be offered at Fellows in Birmingham. It will go under the hammer on January 29, estimated at £1500-2000.

The other will be offered in an earlier sale, on January 24.

fellows.co.uk or see this item on thesaleroom.com

A signed letter by Charles Dickens (1812-70) bearing his self-portrait will feature in a sale of books, manuscripts, maps and photography at Edinburgh saleroom Lyon & Turnbull on January 31.

Dated May 21, 1840, it was written at the request of the author’s friend William Henry Wills.

Wills served as Dickens’ secretary during the establishment of the Daily News newspaper and became an intimate friend in later life.

According to the catalogue note, the vendor’s great-grandmother lived near Dickens in Rochester, Kent, and had tea as a child in his prefabricated two-storey Swiss chalet, which was given to him by actor Charles Fechter in 1864.

Estimate £800-1200.

lyonandturnbull.com or see this item on thesaleroom.com

A 19th century carved shell cameo brooch, depicting Apollo driving the sun chariot, is among more than 400 jewellery lots to go under the hammer at Salisbury saleroom Woolley & Wallis on January 24.

Engraved in profile and set within a yellow gold collet, the 3in (8.5cm) wide piece is estimated at £800-1200.

woolleyandwallis.co.uk or see this item on thesaleroom.com