The skeleton of a pygmy hippo (estimated at £10,000- £15,000), a pair of 18in Thomas Malby library globes (£60,000-£80,000) and a painting of an extremely fat heifer are surely the must-have items for any discerning gentleman’s lair. These are among the more eclectic lots in Bonhams’s Gentleman’s Library sale in Knightsbridge, London SW7, on January 29-30.

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There is also a George III kneehole desk (£2,000-£3,000) which reputedly belonged to Sir Alexander Dixon, a soldier held in high esteem for his part in the Napoleonic and Peninsular Wars by the Duke of Wellington, and is being sold by a descendant, plus crocodile-leather cases, a whale-tooth inkwell frame, a horn snuff mull, a snake cigar lighter, a rhino-horn walking stick, a bust of Gladstone and much, much more (www.bonhams.com).

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