Estimated at £80-120 it sold way above expectations to an online bidder via thesaleroom.com.
The 6in (15cm) mould, made to an unusual design, carries the stamp for Benham & Froud, the firm of London coppersmiths. The signature of an orb and cross references its most famous commission, the replacement finial created for the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1821.
Benham & Froud (best known for the designs it produced with Christopher Dresser) created some of the most innovative and ambitious copper moulds. Most designs will bring less than £100 but rare ‘figurals’ include the profile head of Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales feathers, a recumbent lion and a mould in the form of a Victoria Cross – all of them capable of prices close to £1000.
However, the £2000 bid by a collector in the north of England for this turtle model may be the highest for a single copper jelly mould at auction.
The sale at Brighton & Hove Auctions took place on March 30.