The 9in (22cm) high pale green bottle – initially catalogued as an 18th century ‘onion’ – dates to around the time of the Restoration, c.1665-70. The surface of the glass shows signs of burial and family history suggests it was found by chance on the West Penwith moors.
It was in decent condition, save the visible losses to the string rim and the neck.
It had been entered for sale alongside some more routine bottles with an estimate of just £100-150. The core competition was between two collectors with connections to the local area: one in the room and the successful combatant bidding online via thesaleroom.com.
Shortly after the sale, David Burton, author of the three-volume ‘bible’ on this subject, Antique Sealed Bottles 1640-1900 and the Families Who Owned Them (2014), told ATG that the bottle was a new discovery and the seal – a stag’s head erased on a torse, f lanked by two branches – is previously unrecorded.
Although it has not been possible to firmly identify the crest, it seems likely the bottle has Cornish associations, perhaps with the Bolitho family.