One of the most unusual items ever to pass through the doors of Duggleby’s auctioneers in Scarborough was sold for £1,150 on Saturday.
The six foot automaton monk was brought to the saleroom by a local man who wanted it to go to a new home.
Jane Duggleby explained: “He’d had it in his house for a long time, but the children had been running around and knocked a couple of fingers off.
“It was bought by someone from Wiltshire who came up to the auction in person.”
She added: “I think it’s the weirdest, most spooky thing we’ve ever sold. We don’t know a great deal about it, but it could have possibly been a stage prop, a museum exhibit or simply a curiosity.
“When people were in working later at night, it kept making them jump!”
The automaton is believed to date from the 19th century, around the Victorian era, but because it probably originates from Austria, it is referred to as “continental”.
It is dressed in the style of a monk or friar and contains mechanical workings similar to those of a clock.
Kate Grimwood, who also works at Duggleby’s, said: “We were really pleased with the result in the saleroom. We didn’t think it would reach as high a figure as it did.
“There was a lot of interest in it, particularly online.”
The Saturday sale was successful all round, with 416 registered buyers packed into the saleroom.
Top price of the day was an Edwardian satinwood bedroom suite which sold for £1,250.