Sometimes inventions have changed how we perform a job. They make a certain tool or decoration no longer useful, and its earlier use is forgotten. A 5-inch-tall bisque vase shaped like a man in a political uniform was one of these mysteries in a recent auction. It could hold small flowers for a very short time because the small opening would only hold enough water for flowers for a day. We have seen similar small figures identified as match holders, but it could be a “whimsey” (a fanciful figure, perhaps even a joke). We were sure it was old, and we thought the figure was a caricature of a known English politician. The style of pants, short shirt, yellow epaulets, curly hairdo and flat hat seemed proper. Whatever it was used for, it was appealing, and with eight bids, it sold for $59 at the Conestoga auction in Pennsylvania. The value will go up if the man can be identified.