A clockwork tin toy by Fernand Martin, the “Mysterious Ball” was inspired by a real-life act (La Sphere Mysterieuse) performed by Leon LaRoche on a 30-foot spiral track at the Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1905. Martin toys are very rare and this is certainly the most complex toy produced by Martin. The toy works well and when the string in pulled, the ball rolls down the spiral to the bottom. The string is then released and the ball slowly travels back up the spiral to the top where it opens to reveal the performer inside. This is a unique and complex action, especially for a 106 year old toy.