Among the most sought-after toys at auction are 19th-century Bavarian Erzgebirge painted wood Noah’s Arks.
Wealthy Victorian households fell eagerly on these products of what was essentially a cottage industry, and survivors today double up as wonderful examples of folk art.
Ewbank’s will offer this example in their March 3 Toys & Models auction in Surrey.
It comes complete with eight carved family members and 230 carved and painted wooden animals and birds. They consist of 106 pairs and 18 singles, to include elephants, two types of camel, four types of monkey, giraffes, zebra, grasshoppers, polar bears, lions, aardvarks, beavers, pigs, cattle, dogs, felines and others.
The 33cm high, 54cm long, 16cm wide ark features a painted golden dove with olive branch on its roof.
Consigned after being passed down through four generations of the same family, it shows some wear and tear but is nonetheless a rare survivor in its near completeness.
The estimate is £1,000-2,000.