Victorian ‘freedom casket’ – £2500 at Ibbett Mosely.

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Aynsley was born into a dynasty of potters trading since the 1770s but his was not a ‘silver spoon in the mouth’ story.

Due to dire family circumstances, he had left school at the age of nine to begin work at two pence a day and later grafted up to 16 hours per day to hold down three jobs at three different pot banks. It was not until 1861 that he built the Portland Works and began to manufacture the bone china teawares that would make the Aynsley name famous.

He received this 14in (36cm) casket in October 1899, the year after the opening of Queen’s Park, Longton, the first municipal park in the area that he funded. Retailed by WH Ashton of Longton, it carries the hallmarks for the maker Solomon Blanckensee and Son, and Birmingham 1899. The enamel plaques include pictures of local landmarks and the Longton coat-of-arms.

It topped the firm’s first lockdown auction on June 17 – conducted with only Alan White and his team of socially distancing staff in the room – when it sold to a private bidder new to the saleroom at £2500.