Channel Islands silver mug

An 18th century Channel Islands silver mug with inscription, £6200 at Wotton Auction Rooms.

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However, the example sold by Wotton Auction Rooms in Gloucestershire on December 18 held two pints or a quart.

Marked three times with the initials IH for the Guernsey Huguenot silversmith Jean Henry (1727-83), to the base is a spiralling inscription in French that suggests it was (like many similar Channel Islands vessels) given as a christening gift.

Translated, it reads: To Pierre Laine, born on August 23, 1771 and baptised on the 25th of the same month, a gift from Jeanne Marqui, his grandmother and godmother.

The mug is a well-made piece. Competing with both English and French-made goods, the standard of most 18th century Channel Islands silver was consistently high and (although not assayed on account of geography) adhered to sterling standards. While silver was sourced from small mines in Guernsey and Sark, the majority came from melting of coins and bullion.

Channel Islands silver mug

The 18th century Channel Islands silver mug with the detail of the inscription.

It is the size that made this mug so desirable. The Michael Paint collection of Channel Islands silver offered by Martel Maides in St Peter Port in 2017 included close to a dozen similar baluster mugs – typically sold for prices between £1500-2500 – but only one of quart capacity and none of this muscular 19oz size.

Wotton’s Philip Taubenheim had found it in a Bristol townhouse owned by a family whose forebears had lived in Guernsey.

Offered in excellent, seemingly little-used condition with a guide of £800-1200, it raced away to bring £6200 (plus 21.6% buyer’s premium inc VAT).