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Seriously, if an antique dealer's website does announce the forthcoming sale of a Toby jug at auction this simply spoils the fun for everyone as we all want to find that “sleeper” that no-one else has spotted.

March 4th 2018 I will shortly be listing this interesting Ralph Wood “ordinary” Toby jug – Lot 78 from the 1996 sale at Christie’s in London of the Marquess of Bute collection.

This excellent example of the Clarice Cliff Churchill Toby jug sold yesterday on Ebay for £2015.

Produced in 1941 to form part of the earlier (c1917) Wilkinson's set of Toby jugs depicting 1st World War military and political leaders which were designed by Carruthers Gould - these are fine Toby jugs and many collectors of early English Toby jugs also collect these as the quality is exceptional.

Underneath is the label from the dealers in question with details of the Toby jug but no mention of restoration.

Restoration can be difficult to spot and even reputable dealers are not infallible - I can recall four occasions over the past 15 years where I’ve failed to see an area of restoration and in each case I’ve offered a complete refund or an agreed reduction thus ensuring that my customer was happy.

In addition to the similar decoration they both have an identical moulded flat head of foam on the small jug and a very distinctive pipe bowl.

Upon close examination the moulding is identical on both and this allows us to conclude that they are almost certainly from the same pottery, probably the same mould and it’s quite possible that they were decorated by the same hand – a very fine matched pair!

If you take a look online at the results of today’s sale at Bonham’s you will see that this may well be the case as over 40 good Toby jugs were sold with most achieving extremely high prices including quite a few records.

Of course we collect for the sheer pleasure we get but it's nice to know that our collections may well be earing us a nice return!

January 26th 2018 This attractive early 19th century pearlware Lord Howe Toby jug sold today at T. Gaze auctioneers - estimated at £80 - £120 it achieved a price of just over £2300 including premiums!

Clearly good early Toby jugs continue to fetch excellent prices within what is a very strong collecting community.

There is an old handwritten label to the base reading “4.4.12 Ralph Wood nice quality & colours marked “W” very rare” We know that this collection was almost complete by 1912 and so it is possible that this note was either written by the ceramic scholar William Burton who assisted the Marquess in cataloguing the collection in 1912 or perhaps by the Marquess of Bute himself?

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