ABC/Richard CartwrightWho singer Roger Daltrey and his wife, Heather, are preparing to sell an assortment of unique 19th century collectibles at an auction taking place this week in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Daltreys’ collection of seven French-made automata — that is, mechanical figures and dioramas depicting various characters and scenes — will go on the block Wednesday at the Lyon and Turnbull auction house.

The items are estimated to fetch collectively as much as 52,500 pounds, or about $68,000. The automaton expected to sell for the highest price — between 12,000 and 18,000 pounds, or about $15,600 to $23,300 — is a mechanized model depicting the clown character Pierrot playing a lute while sitting on a crescent moon. The clown figure strums the lute and sticks his tongue in and out, while the moon blinks its eye and moves its mouth.

Among the other automata that the rock legend and his wife are auctioning is a male figure playing a mandolin, a model of an Asian woman who sips tea while twirling a parasol, and a glass-encased diorama depicting a waterside scene featuring a mill and a small sailboat.

In a promotional video, Lyon and Turnbull specialist Douglas Girton says the Daltreys’ automata collection is a highlight of the upcoming auction. In the clip, Girton explains that the mechanized collectibles were all made by respected artisans from France’s “Golden Age of Automata,” while noting that it’s rare for multiple automata to be auctioned at the same time.

“What is so exciting about this collection is not only the breadth of it, but also the condition,” says Girton, “providing the people who are interested in this a real chance to observe this really unique French art of the late 19th century in one sale.”

For more information, visit LyonandTurnbull.com.

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