It continued to be produced by the Daffy family and various imitators throughout the 19th century – Dickens and Thackeray give it a mention in their novels – and there must have been hundreds of thousands of bottles. Today, they are rarities.
The 4in (10cm) green glass example embossed True Daffys Elixir , above right, provided one of the tonics at specialist auction house BBR Auctions (15% buyer’s premium) at Elsecar on January 9.
“It dated from c.1790-1800 – an exceptionally early example and the first in this small size ever recorded,” said auctioneer Alan Blakeman, who pitched it at £3000-4000 and saw it sell to a Midlands collector at £3600.
A second Daffy bottle, embossed Unless the name of Dicey & Co is in the star over the cork the Medicine is Counterfeit, was a little larger at 4½in (11.5cm) tall and later at 1830-40. It went over estimate at £1000 to a collector from Bermuda.
International collectors play a big role in what Blakeman describes as “an extremely strong market for the better material”.
Two previously unrecorded Victorian ceramic advertising jars brought fourfigure sums from antipodean bidders. A 3½in (9cm) barrel-shaped London Meat and Fish Paste jar (left), featuring a polychrome image of the Stock Exchange, went to an Australian buyer at £1700 (estimate £400-600).
Estimated at £800-1200 and sold to New Zealand at £1600 was a 3¾in (9.5cm) wide rectangular pot lid and base for Whitby Toothpaste. It featured a strong green transfer depicting the West Cliff coastline and Whitby Abbey.