Rare Toby jug sells for £8,000 at Wokingham auction

A RARE toby jug found during a clearance of a park home near Wokingham sold at auction for £8,000 last month.

The antiques auction rooms at Martin & Pole in Milton Road sold the late 18th century jug during its February sale, held on Wednesday, February 21 – and, once the buyer’s premium is taken into account, the amount it fetched is more than one sold for at a top London auction house.

Martin & Pole said that interest in the jug meant that there was intense bidding in the room, online, and on the telephones, but the eventual winner was an absentee bid left with the auctioneers by a private collector.

With the buyer’s premium the amount paid was £9,680 – compared to the £8,125 paid for at Christie’s in London.

Auctioneer Matthew Coles said he had been allowed to look around the park home as it was being cleared and he noticed the toby jug in the dining area.

He continued: “I saw the jug and thought this must be of some age. It looked like early Staffordshire ware, dating to the late 18th/early 19th century, but was a little wary because I knew that some of this ware is copied.

“What particularly drew me was that it was not the usual portly gentleman holding a tankard or jug but a figure a man playing a violin.

“We could not find any details of similar jugs being sold, until we learned that the jug depicts a midshipman playing a fiddle, and are known as Midshipmite toby jugs. The last one we could find sold was at Christie’s in 2013, so they are particularly rare.”

Also sold in the auction was a collection of postcards sent back from France during the First World War by Staff Sergeant Harry Hall. He regularly sent cards to his daughter and wife. These sold to a local collector for £250.

A silver teapot and milk jug by the celebrated silversmith Paul Storr, made in London at the height of his career in 1811, was sold to the London trade for £2,000.

Martin & Pole’s next auction will take place on Wednesday, March 21. Viewing days will be held on Saturday, March 17 from 9am to 1pm, Monday, March 19 and Tuesday, March 20, both from 9am to 6pm.

For more details, log on to www.martinpole.co.uk/auction_information.php

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Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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