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London silver dealer Alastair Dickenson, of Jermyn Street, realised it was featured in a 'stolen' advert from ATG No 2076, dated February 2, among 17 pieces in a mixed haul of antiques taken on December 11 last year.

Another dealer asked him what he thought about a William IV silver-gilt Columbine cup, John Bridge, London 1830, which had come into his possession. A French silver mustard pot, Paris, 1781, with blue glass liner, was also recovered.

AXA Art Insurance claims manager Claire Dewey said: "Thanks to Alastair's diligence we were able to return these items. One of the most rewarding aspects of working in fine art insurance is returning stolen items to the rightful owner after they are recovered. Suffice to say the owners were delighted that these items were found."

The other 15 items are still missing, however.