Five examples from a near-complete set of 41 polychrome terracotta figures from Anton Sohn's 'Danse Macabre' that sold for €30,000 (£27,720) at Lempertz.

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As documented in Das Weltbild der Zizenhausener Figuren (1984) by Wilfried Seipel, some 746 different models and moulds by Sohn have been identified, some of them still made by family members into the 20th century.

These 6in (15cm) figures on the theme of death were from a set first made c.1822. They were inspired by prints published in 1623 by Matthäus Merian the Elder, which in turn are based on the scenes painted on the cemetery walls of the Dominican Abbey in Basel.

Single figures are not uncommon, but this was an unusually extensive group: only the figure of a usurer was missing from the complete set of 42. The figure of the noblewoman was badly broken, and others showed glued repairs, but most retained the original paper labels that were glued around the bases of Sohn’s figures.

Last sold at Lempertz back in 1931 and in a Belgian collection ever since, they were estimated at €4000-6000 at the sale on May 30 but did rather better, bringing €30,000 (£27,720).