Silver table bell modelled as a pig by William Hornby, London, 1909 – £8200 at Sotheby's.

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The example above appeared among the pieces from Spetchley Park sold by Sotheby’s (25% buyer’s premium) on December 11.

The 6½in (16cm) long, 22oz pig was made by William Hornby, London, 1909, and retailed by Asprey’s. The mechanism is no longer working but when repaired will sound a bell when the pig’s snout or its tail is pressed.

Estimated at £2000-3000, it sold to a collector at £8200.

'Egg time' pig


Silver table bell in form of a pig marked for Walker & Hall – £2400 at Kidson-Trigg.

By coincidence, a very similar silver beast had been on the rostrum the previous day at Kidson-Trigg (20% buyer’s premium) of Highworth, Swindon.

This slightly larger porker, about 7½in (19cm) long, was marked for Walker & Hall and (although undated in the catalogue) probably dated to the first years of the 1900s. The key wind mechanism suggested to the auction house that its function may have been as an egg timer rather than a bell.

The bell would have found many takers at a £100-200 estimate and went on to sell to a private buyer at £2400.