Must Have/Must Do: Collect Call: The pastimes of the past

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The earliest golf ball? This 3-in stone sphere dates from Neolithic times (third millennium BC). Such balls are found mainly in golf-mad Aberdeenshire. Were those proverbial hairy men with clubs playing a round instead of chasing women? And are the ball's carved segments aerodynamic? Cautious scholars suggest the balls had a symbolic function. Yes, we can guess. The ball is estimated at pounds 6,000-pounds 7,000 in Bonhams' auction of antiquities tomorrow (11am, 0171-393 3901).

Who said Surrealism was a modern movement? This pair of rare and strikingly stylised horses in lacquered wood, 28in tall, date from the Chinese Han dynasty, 206BC to AD9. They probably came from the tomb of a prince in Sichuan province. Estimate pounds 20,000-pounds 30,000, in Sotheby's Chinese artworks sale next Tuesday, 2 December (11.30am, details 0171-493 8080).

Sporty, dog-loving county folk can afford to cast their canines in silver. The silver English setter dog whistle is estimated pounds 350-pounds 450 in Bonhams' sale of sporting guns and accessories, Thursday (2pm). It is audible to humans. Those who can afford one want to be both heard and seen (0171-393 3901).

Dial of death: this early Twenties brass and alloy game counter tallies shot hares, rabbits, pheasants and partridges. Estimate pounds 200-pounds 300 in Bonhams' gun sale (left), but they have sold for more than pounds 1,000.

Christmassy animals, two by two. There is standing room only for the 300 carved figures in this Hamleys ark, a cherished gift for a Victorian child.

The estimated price for the ark is pounds 400-pounds 600, in a general sale by Phillips Guildford/Chichester which will be held at Ramster House, Ramster, Surrey, next Monday (11am; for details call 01483-504030).

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