The vessels were catalogued as Doulton Lambethware flasks for Sunderland Old Highland Whisky and offered at the Hertfordshire saleroom’s March 1 auction.
“The bidding was mad,” a representative of the auction house said. Though given an estimate of £70-100, pre-bidding on thesaleroom.com meant that live bidding opened at £2500. Eight phone bidders then battled it out and it was finally knocked down to one of them for £5500.
The modest estimate reflects the typical prices for Doulton stoneware. However, there is a keen market for whisky flasks and this pair is a rare but well-known pictorial type. They come in at least two different colours. Brown is most common and one such piece sold for a hammer price of £2200 at Charles Ross Fine Art Auctioneers last month.