A bird statuette featured in the classic 1941 detective thriller The Maltese Falcon has gone on sale in New York.

The black figurine is one of two known cast lead statuettes made for John Huston’s screen version of the film.

But auctioneers Bonhams say it is the only one confirmed by Warner Brothers archives as having appeared in the movie.

The film starred Hum-phrey Bogart as private eye Sam Spade.

Half a million festive lights

An Australian family has reclaimed their world record for stringing up Christmas lights with more than half a million around their sub-urban home.

The Richards family from Canberra first entered the Guinness World Records book in 2001 with 331,038 multi-coloured lights.

But they were trumped last year by a family in New York, who used 346,283 lights.

The Richards stepped up to 502,165 twinkling bulbs on more than 31 miles of wire to raise money for charity.

Placenta in picture frame

Parents can now treasure pictures of their newborn babies in photo frames made using the mother’s placenta, thanks to a technique developed by a UK univer-sity graduate.

Amanda Cotton, 25, who works for a London design company, has found a way of adding dried and crushed pieces of placenta to moulds filled with clear casting resin to create marble-effect frames, and is already receiving orders from parents, according to the University of Brighton.

Cotton uses the entire placenta to make a frame, first boiling and cooking it and then grinding it into small pieces before placing it into a mould with resin and other materials.

She said: “I have had a lot of positive feedback from mothers and fathers to be – and I already have clients.”