Rare coffee holder urns £18k at sale

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A RARE 18th-century silver urn made by a man who fought on the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie has fetched more than £18,000 at a Capital auction.

The coffee urn, which was made by Alexander Johnstone in Dundee in 1742, is the only one of its kind.

Johnstone, who served his apprenticeship with a leading Edinburgh urn-maker, was an active Jacobite and a member of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Life Guards.

He was on the winning side at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745 but he was captured the following year by Hanoverian forces at the Battle of Culloden.

The urn, which was recently discovered on the west coast of the US, was the star item at Bonhams’ Annual Scottish Sale II in Queen Street yesterday.

A collector, bidding over the phone, offered £18,125 to end a fierce bidding war.

A Bonhams spokesman said: “Although coffee was widely drunk by wealthy Scots in the 18th century, few coffee pots have survived and, until recently, the exact function of the two-handed coffee pots was not known.

“Research in the ledgers of the Edinburgh goldsmith John Rollo, however, has revealed a bill for a coffee pot weighing 
62 ounces.”