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THE ANNUAL sale of Sotheby's at the Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Perthshire - Monday (10.30am) and Tuesday (4pm) - was devised by Peter Wilson, Sotheby's chairman, in the Sixties as a glittering start to the autumn auction season. It has since become part of the Scottish social calendar.

The flavour of the sale is distinctly huntin' and shootin'. This year, the grumbling guns will be in search of something more tangible to spend their money on than the dwindling grouse stocks, wiped out by bad weather.

Scottish Wemyss ware is a speciality: piglets are estimated from pounds 150 to pounds 600, but it is cheaper to catch them off-season south of the border.

The star turns in the sale are 23 Thorburn-esque watercolours by Richard Robjent, the bird painter, to be reproduced in his book The Partridge in November: estimates are mostly around pounds 2,000- pounds 3,000. There is jewellery, sporting guns, sporting paintings - and the occasional stunning off-beat canvas such as Sir Robin Philipson's nudes and dogs, Woman Observed (1979), est pounds 12,000-18,000.


Recorded in 1898, 'Darling Mabel', sung by one Burt Shipard, is among 12 Berliner 78rpm gramophone records estimated pounds 80- pounds 120 in Phillips Bayswater's sale of mechanical music, cameras and other apparatus, Tuesday (12 noon).

Nicknamed the 'trash can', a 1948 Sceburg Symphonola, one of 15 juke- boxes at Bonhams Chelsea entertainment sale Thursday (10.30am), is est pounds 2,000- pounds 3,000. Four Daleks from the Dr Who television series are estimated from pounds 1,000.

Also at Bonhams Chelsea: English and continental pictures, Wednesday (11am), frames and artists' materials, Thursday (2pm).


A miniature 19th-century French suit of armour, 29cm high, has been rescued from a church auction and estimated pounds 2,000- pounds 2,500 at Phillips' arms and armour sale, Thursday (2pm) - but the vendor will still donate the proceeds to the church. Also Thursday at Phillips: Great Britain postage stamps (11am).

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