- Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 12:00
An 18th-century gilded elephant automaton clock sold to an Asian collector for $2.5 million (1.6 million pounds) at a Sotheby's London auction on 4 July.
Made for the Asian market by the celebrated English clockmaker Peter Torckler, it was previously owned by the Shah of Persia Naser al-Din (1831–96), who resolved to buy it having seen the remarkable collection of performing clocks owned Ferdinand de Rothschild at Waddesdon Manor.
The automaton springs to life every third hour, playing music, waving its tail and trunk and flapping its ears. The clock had been on display in the foyer of Sotheby’s New Bond Street premises before the sale.