Doulton
These Doulton stoneware flasks sold for £5500 at Bushey Auction’s March 1 sale.

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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.