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'Holy Grail' item of Scottish silver comes to market at August sale
The cup has been given an estimate of £6,000-£8,000

CAMBRIDGE.- An exceptionally rare solid silver tumbler cup made in a small town in Scotland nearly 340 years ago is expected to be one of the star lots at Cheffins’ Jewellery, Silver & Watches Sale in Cambridge on Thursday 01 August 2019.

Made during the reign of Charles II and bearing the marks of the assay office in Banff, a town in Aberdeenshire on the north east coast of Scotland, the cup is in remarkable condition for its age.

Historically, there were nearly 30 assay offices in Scotland, testing and hallmarking precious metal items before sale. Now there is only one, in Edinburgh, and items marked from ‘closed’ assay offices have become extremely collectable.

Banff had one of the smallest assay offices, with the result that only a small number of items were ever marked there and in the past ten years there does not seem to have been any other sizeable items of Banff-marked silver offered on the market.

Not only is Banff marked silver rare, but the maker of the cup marks it out as being of even more keen interest to collectors. William Scott the elder made it in around 1680 and was the first recorded silversmith working in Banff.

Interest in silver from Banff has heightened in recent years. In 2018, Glasgow-based jewellery maker Vanilla Ink opened a silversmithing workshop in Banff with council backing to bring the historic trade back to the town. In May this year Prince Charles visited the workshop which further boosted the profile of Banff silver.

Steven Collins, head of jewellery, silver & watches at Cheffins Fine Art, said: “This is a ‘Holy Grail’ type piece for the serious collectors of silver. Banff-marked silver so rarely comes on the market and I’m really excited to have this truly exceptional example in my sale.”

The cup has been given an estimate of £6,000-£8,000.

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