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The Captain’s prize spice box makes £10,500

21 March 2013Written by ATG Reporter

Family tradition had it that this Mughal silver spice box was looted during the siege of Delhi in September 1857.

But it was not until auctioneer Philip Rance prized open a compartment in front of his vendor that a document was found detailing its 'liberation', probably from the palace of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II, by a Captain Ellis Cunliffe of the First European Bengal Fusiliers.

Made in the form of a Mughal helmet, the late 18th/early 19th century box was handed down through the Cunliffe family and was offered for sale on March 1 at Netherhampton Salerooms in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Estimated at £2000-3000. Bidding reached £10,500 before it was hammered down to a private collector.

The buyer's premium was 15%.

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