This 8in (20cm) high, mid-19th century pewter jug, of squat and bulbous form, with leather bound loop handle and hinged dome cover, came with as detailed a provenance as one could hope for, inscribed on the cover: “Purchased at the Sale at Gadshill, August 11th 1870, Number 325 in Catalogue. This was constantly used by Charles Dickens in preparation of his celebrated gin punch, brewed by the great author himself”, above a CD monogram below the spout.
The Gadshill sale, at Higham, Rochester, Kent, was a four-day dispersal of household furniture and effects following Dickens’s death there on June 9 that year aged only 58. The auctioneers, Thomas & Homan conducted the sale where the jug and cover sold on the second day as part of the contents of the pantry.
Almost 130 years later to the day, on Friday, June 30, 2000, it appeared again, this time at Halls of Shrewsbury, where it was put up for sale by a 23-year-old Derbyshire farmer.
On this occasion, it sold to a private buyer from Yorkshire for a low estimate £2000 plus 15 per cent buyer’s premium.