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Medieval English bronze jug – £500,000.

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A reasonable turnout made it up to Northamptonshire for the sale, but the lion's share of the bidding and buying came over a bank of telephones from a mix of trade and private buyers. Demand was keen enough to make comfortably over the pre-sale predictions of £5m-plus. The main talking point of the auction came early on with lot 47, the 12in (31cm) high late 14th/early 15th century English bronze jug of six quart capacity pictured here.

Any extant piece of medieval metalware counts as a rarity. However, the cast royal arms of England used from 1340-1405; those of either Edmund, King of East Anglia or the Abbey or Bury St Edmunds; the three crowns of East Anglia; and a merchant's mark all put this into an exceptionally rare group. It includes two other similarly decorated jugs (one in the V&A and one in the British Museum) that can be tied to an English workshop.

An additional dedicatory inscription to My Lord Wenlok on the Easton Neston jug relates either to John, 1st Baron Wenlock born c.1400 or possibly the Prior of Wenlock Abbey, Shropshire.

The jug was the subject of a two-way telephone battle way above the £60,000-80,000 won by London dealer Daniel Katz at £500,000 (plus premium).

Talking after the sale, Mr Katz, who bought the piece for stock and plans to keep to for a special exhibition in a year's time, said he had still to research it. But he is of the opinion that all three known jugs are from the same workshop and period and that their different sizes and capacities point to them forming a set of measures. "At the end of the day, it is a great medieval object. Not only that, it is a thing of great beauty", he told ATG last week.