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The 14/5in (4.7cm) high thistle-shape mug by the earliest and the best known Tain silversmith last appeared on the market in March 1999 when it was sold by Phillips in London for £21,500 (plus 15 per cent buyer’s premium) to Lyon and Turnbull’s vendor. Estimated in Edinburgh at £15,000-20,000, it was bought by Tain Museum, Ross-shire at £22,000 (plus 17.5 per cent buyer’s premium).

Estelle Quick, curator of the museum who bought the cup with the help of funds from the NACF and the NAF, said she was delighted it will be returning to Tain and explained the museum had been the underbidder in 1999. The cup will be on display from April 1.