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A fine-quality ventriloquist’s doll, c.1930, sold for £1500 at Swan Fine Art on May 6.

Although not stamped, it shares the characteristics of figures made by the revered maker Arthur Quisto (1882-1960) – real name Edwin Simms – who built figures for a number of well-known musical hall performers.

He was the first to use electromagnetic devices to animate his figures. As well as a carved wood torso, the face, hands and feet are moulded papier mâché and the hair probably human.

Appealing to collectors of decorative objects and collectables, it sold at £1500 to a buyer using thesaleroom.com, way above the £60-80 estimate.