AN ANTIQUE jug found by chance during a house clearance has sold for £8,000 at auction.

The Toby jug, which features a man playing a violin, was discovered after auctioneers Martin & Pole were called in to assess items following the clearance of a park home near Wokingham.

Auctioneer Matthew Coles said: “I saw the jug and thought this must be of some age. It looked like early Staffordshire ware, dating to the late 18th/early 19th century, but was a little wary because I knew that some of this ware is copied. “What particularly drew me was that it was not the usual portly gentleman holding a tankard or jug but a figure a man playing a violin.

“We could not find any details of similar jugs being sold, until we learned that the jug depicts a midshipman playing a fiddle, and are known as ‘Midshipmite’ Toby jugs. The last one we could find sold was at Christie’s in 2013, so they are particularly rare.”

Following an intense bidding war in the auction room in Milton Road on Wednesday, February 21, the hammer fell at £9,680, including the buyer’s premium. The jug was bought by a private collector who had left an absentee bid with the auctioneers.

Other items at the sale included a collection of postcards sent by a father to his daughter during the First World War, selling to a local collector for £250; and a silver teapot and milk jug made by the celebrated silversmith Paul Storr at the height of his career in 1811 which sold for £2,000.

The next auction will take place on March 21. For more details visit