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The 18in (46cm) diameter pewter dish illustrated right is a case in point. It is one of a small but well-documented group of 17th century wriggleworked pewter chargers bearing the Royal Arms, a Latin inscription translating as: Long Live King Charles II and Blessed are the Peacemakers, and the date 1661 or 1662.

Other examples can be found in The British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Worshipful Company of Pewterers and two were sold by Phillips’ Chester rooms in 1999 and 2000 for £23,000 and £20,000 respectively.

So much is clear, but there has been long debate over their exact significance.

Writing in The Connoisseur as long ago as 1942, Captain A. V. Sutherland-Graeme suggested they were made to celebrate either the marriage or the betrothal of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza. As the union resulted in an alliance with Portugal, it was an important event for the peace and security of both Europe and England.

But this particular charger, dated 1661, which went under the hammer at Sotheby’s Olympia on April 27, does bring one incontravertible fact to the debate. Its maker is known. While other chargers from the group have either lost or lack marks, the Sotheby’s example bears the touch mark of Robert Jones of London who took up livery with the Worshipful Company of Pewterers on November 28, 1667 and became a company steward two years later.

Estimated to make between £12,000 and £18,000, the charger eventually sold to a UK private buyer for £13,000 (plus 20 per cent premium).