Edward IV bronze measure

Edward IV bronze measure, estimate £40,000-60,000 at Bishop & Miller.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

It is thought to be the earliest Standard Measure extant.

The issuing of standard weights and measures has been a regular occurrence in the British Isles for more than 1000 years.

However, the earliest English measures previously recorded date from the reign of Henry VII (1485-1509). Two, a Winchester gallon and a bushel, are in the collection of the Science Museum. The earliest measures previously available to commerce are the Elizabeth I standard measures, dated 1601, one of which sold at Bishop & Miller in February for £30,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium).

A key figure during the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV reigned twice from 1461- 70 and 1473-83.

This ovoid measure with a D-shaped handle carries a band of Lombardic script reading Edward Rex Anglie (Edward King of England).

It is believed to be the object mentioned in the diaries of Caroline Lybbe Powys, c.1762, who, on a visit to Hardwick House, Oxfordshire, writes: “In a recess in the corridor leading to the breakfast room was found a bronze jug, inscribed Edward Rex Anglia.

“It is 7½in (19cm) high, 5¾in (14.5cm) at the base, with a straight handle of 4in (10cm). The measure holds exactly a gallon of wine. This was considered by General Conway and Lord Frederick Campbell, connoisseurs in antiquities, to be a standard measure of the reign of one of the Edwards.”

Given the sum paid for the Elizabeth I measure earlier this year, the auction house believes it could bring £40,000-60,000.