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%.