Silver spirit labels (‘Holland’ refers to Dutch Gin) are not quite two a penny, but they are among the cheapest drinking trinkets available.
This rather plain example, would have worth around £40 had it
been made in London, but its presence among the Scottish provincial
silver at Thomson Roddick and Medcalf's (12.5% buyer's
premium) sale in Edinburgh on April 24, promised a far
The wine label was engraved W.I.Tain to the reverse - and
this mark would make thousands of pounds difference to the
The initials stood for William Innes, a silversmith active in Tain
during the early 19th century. Silver from Tain may not be as rare
as that from Peterhead, Ellen, or Stonehaven, but it is still
highly sought. The spirit label (no doubt part of an original set
of four of five) was a cut above the usual flatware from Tain, and
it sold to the trade at £3600.
Elsewhere a fiddle pattern egg spoon by George Angus of
Peterhead c.1820 made £3500 and a pepper castor by Robert Naughten
of Inverness made £3400.