A mug which was bought for £240 in 1971 has beaten the rate of inflation by over 1000%, selling for £41,500. The porcelain mug was made in Worcester around 1753, and is so rare that only three other examples are known to exist, one of which is in the collection at the V&A. The last one to come on the market sold for £18,500 at a London auction house in 2006.
The high value of the piece is not just down to its rarity; condition was also exceptional and it featured as the star lot in a sale of the Raymond Dennis Collection of English porcelain. Preceding the Fine Porcelain & Pottery sale on the 25th February and with a separate catalogue, the sale had a 90% sold rate, which is a promising sign for the porcelain market, which has long been in decline. The mug was bought by the London trade on behalf of a private collector and was similarly underbid on the telephone.
“For an item to be 40 years in one collection makes it very fresh to the market'' said Clare Durham, Head of the Ceramics Department at Woolley and Wallis, “and we’ve recently seen huge prices for the finest and rarest objects. It is quite a while since a collection like this came up at auction and it really caught the imagination of fellow collectors.”