A 20-inch tall moving automaton of Vladimir Putin signing the Crimean Treaty has sold as one of the most unusual lots in Auction Team Breker's November 14-15 auction in Germany.
The slightly unnerving automaton was made by Christian Bailly, a renowned Swiss puppetmaker whose works have sold for as much as $6m in the past. The present piece made $36,890.
Signing the Treaty of Acceptance of the Republic of Crimea in to the Russian Federation, the black-eyed automata uses a quill pen powered by an elaborate system of cogs and pulleys.
In March 2014, Putin signed the treaty after a staggering 96.7% of Crimeans voted for reunification with the Russian Federation during a referendum. All EU countries and many others considered the referendum illegitimate, with some stating that both choices would have resulted in separation from Ukraine.
However, Putin's controversial policies and eccentric personality have made him something of an internet celebrity, with images of him doing judo or riding on horseback topless a regular feature. As a result, he is becoming more collectible, with the PFC40 Autograph Index reporting a 25% rise in value for his signature over the past year.
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