The 11¾in (30cm) high sconces, which the auctioneers had dated to c.1680, carried a double-struck maker's mark IR, and had been discovered by auctioneer James Grinter in a local house in Stratford St Mary, where he had been asked to value some contents for the vendor. The sconces had been attached to the wall to serve as electric wall lights.
Carolean silver of the type is a rare survival, but these had the added attraction of a contemporary armorial prominently engraved to the backplate for the North Family of Kirtling Tower, Cambridge, a baronetcy created in 1554, while the reverse was engraved Henry Francis North and R&G.
There were several prominent members of the family in the 17th century, including Francis North, 1st Baron Guilford, who held the important positions of Attorney General in 1673 and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal in 1683.
The auctioneers had guided the pair at an attractive £6000-8000 for the sale on April 12, only to see them contested by six bidders to £74,000 plus 17.5 per cent premium, with the hammer falling to a member of the London trade on the phone.