George II serving dish by Paul de Lamerie – £6000 at Lyon & Turnbull.

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The service was built up by the future Lord of the Admiralty over a period of time, with this piece made in the year he was given the title 1st Baron Anson.

In 1744 he had returned to England after circumnavigating the globe and capturing of a Spanish galleon off Cape Espiritu Santo with a cargo valued at approximately £500,000.

The treasure was so vast (1,313,843 pieces of eight to be precise) that it was paraded through the streets of London on the way to the king in 32 wagons. The prize money he received made Anson a rich man for life.

He ordered the service from the most celebrated London silversmith of the day for use and display at the family homes at Shugborough in Staffordshire and Moor Park in Hertfordshire.

Parts from the Anson service can still be found in the collection at Shugborough but the majority of pieces were sold at Christie’s at a sale in May 1893.

Kept in the family

This dish was reputed to have been a gift to a member of staff at Fordell House in Fife and then came by descent. It was offered at Lyon & Turnbull (25% buyer’s premium) in Edinburgh on March 9 with an estimate of £1500-2500 but brought £6000.

In 2010, Sotheby’s offered a snuffer’s tray from the Anson service ($40,000) while a 2012 Christie’s sale of property from the estate of Benjamin F Edwards II featured a pair of sauceboats ($35,000).

In 2008, as part of the Chen collection, Lyon & Turnbull sold a pair of George II silver circular serving dishes for £21,000.