Tuesday - 21 October 2014

Communion cup leads Scottish silver sale at £17,000

28 August 2013Written by Alex Capon

This Scottish provincial George II communion cup topped Lyon & Turnbull’s latest silver sale in Edinburgh.

One of three cups consigned by Dundee's Steeple Kirk, it was being sold to raise funds for restoration and facilities at the historic church which dates back to the 12th century and is the city's oldest building.

Any piece of 18th century Dundee hollowware is pretty rare and many pieces that have survived are now in museums.

This example, which was marked for Charles Dickson II, had an acorn-knopped stem and a stepped domed circular foot. It also had a Latin inscription over two lines referring to the merchant Thomas Read de Auchinleck who either commissioned it or donated it to the church in 1733.

In good condition with only a few minor defects, the 20oz cup was 8¾in (22cm) high and was estimated at £8000-12,000 at the sale on August 19. However, it drew competition beyond these levels and was eventually knocked down at £17,000 to a private collector.

That buyer also bought a second communion cup by Charles Dickson II from the same source. This example, given to the church in 1730, sold for £15,000, while a third cup by John Steven, donated in 1750, sold to a different buyer at £6000.

The buyer's premium was 25/20%.

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