Specialist auctioneer Andrew Hilton describes the Bear's Grease Manufacturer as 'the Holy Grail of pot lids'.

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The Bear’s Grease Manufacturer pot lid that sold for £5800 at Special Auction Services.

The politically incorrect lid that depicts a bear hung upside down in the process of being skinned was clearly made in only small numbers: only three were known until earlier this year when this example was dug from a disused tip in the West Midlands.

Produced in two different sizes, this example was of the larger size, 4in (10.5cm) diameter, with a coloured marbled border inscribed in black Claydon & Cos Real Bears Grease 58 Watling St. London.

Found broken in two, it was subsequently well restored and consigned to the September 5 sale at Special Auction Services (15% buyer's premium) of Kennetholme, near Midgham in Berkshire.

Estimated at £2000-4000, it was competed by a number of collectors in the room before selling to a UK buyer for £5800.

It ranks among the highest sums ever paid for a Staffordshire pot lid. SAS have sold all the other examples of Bear's Grease Manufacturer in recent years.

Another large version of the lid with lettering, suffering only a small rim chip, was sold in 1996 as part of the Ball Collection for £3800 and subsequently re-sold in the sale of the Hart Collection in 2005 for £6600.

In 2000, another large lid with restored flange from the Smith collection made £2900 whilst a small version from the Crowther collection without lettering took £3000 in 2004.