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French Gilt Bronze Automaton "Mandarin Magician" by J.F. Houdin with 16 Surprises

Lot Number: 
76
9" (23 cm.) A heavy cast bronze Mandarin magician with elaborately-sculpted costume in traditional style and having impressed designs,earrings,moustache,and cap is standing behind a gilt bronze table with star and fringe accents. Music and movements are wound separately,and the music can be elected to play alternate tunes,repeat,or can be played separately without the movements. When wound,the Mandarin nods his head,and in a series of movements lifts both magic domes atop his table or only one; meanwhile the secrets under the domes are alternately revealed: cups,dice,cones and such,or,sometimes,nothing. The table cover can be removed by two screws at the back to reveal the spring barrel automaton movement. The automaton is resting upon an inlay rosewood base which contains the music box. Condition: generally excellent as shown,music and motion function well,the automaton originally rested atop a bronze clock,but here,instead,the automaton is resting atop the inlaid musical base. Comments: J.F. Houdin,Paris,circa 1836. Value Points: extremely rare and early automaton of luxury production and superb state of preservation,very elaborate movement with 16 hidden surprises that are alternately revealed.
Realized Price: 
$29,000
Presale Estimate: 
18,000/27,000