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Comprising 22 spoons, including an unusual child’s spoon, a pipe-cleaning tool, four beakers and a plated beer tankard, the treasure had probably been stashed away more than 300 years previously by the Von der Tann-von Haune family during the 30 Years War (1618-1648).

Naturally, the silver had oxidised somewhat in the interim period, but the items could still be easily identified and even a few inscriptions, arms and hallmarks were still in evidence. The maker HL conjoined, Augsburg 1585-90 appears on some of the spoons, and on three of the beakers a maker’s mark, V with a cross, a shaped shield, and an indistinct townmark in a shaped shield, c.1590.

With the exception of one spoon, which failed just short of its lower €900 estimate, everything sold within or above estimate. The lion’s share was carried off by the extremely keen UK trade, but the rest went to a handful of Dutch private collectors, one of whom was particularly interested in the archaeological aspect of the find, and a US private collector.

The highest individual price was the €5000 (£3450) paid for the 61/2in (16.5cm) high, German silver-gilt tankard with cover (pictured centre back), apparently unmarked, possibly Augsburg c.1590. The most sought-after piece, however, was a German silver spoon, 41/2in (11.2cm) long, unmarked, with a short curved raised stem engraved with a foliate geometrical pattern. Its shaped shield terminal is inscribed 1587, and the bowl is engraved with two foliate coats-of-arms and the initials of Hans Melchior von der Tann and Cordula von Haune, who married in 1585. It went at an above-estimate €1600 (£1105) to the US collector.