Scarborough schoolboy uncovers 270-year-old Yorkshire farming treasure

The Silver tankard.
The Silver tankard.

A teenage boy from Scarborough has uncovered a 270-year-old Yorkshire farming treasure set to go under the hammer.

The blackened old tankard, brought home by the boy’s father in a box of bits and pieces acquired at a garage clearance, was so tarnished and filthy that neither the writing nor the marks on the piece could be distinguished.

It was only when the lad cleaned it up later that it became clear that it was a trophy awarded by a wealthy 19th century East Riding landowner for an early county ploughing competition and that it was in fact almost two pounds of hallmarked solid silver!

Andy Spicer of Driffield-based Spicers Auctioneers said: “It is terrific find. Our vendor initially thought it was just a very mucky brass piece. He gave it to his son who is apparently interested in old things and it was only weeks later when he got round to cleaning it that things started to get interesting.

“The inscription records that it was donated by James Hall of Scarborough Hall near Leconfield as the prize in a competition for the best plougher amongst farmers sons that was organised by the East Riding Association at Warter Wold in 1845. The winner was William Walker of Arram.

“In fact the tankard is much older than that. Other marks revealed by the clean-up have enabled us to establish that it was made by the London silversmith James Manners in 1734, so it was already an antique when James Hall donated it for the competition.”

The tankard, which weighs 27 ounces, is expected to make £500-£700 when it goes under the hammer in the Antiques and Fine Art Auction at the Exchange Saleroom in Driffield on Friday.