Character Jug Price Guide, Toby Jugs

Rare 1800 Pearlware Solid Agate Toby Jug Sells for £13,000 at Bonhams Auction

In a striking sale at Bonhams’ Fine Glass and British Ceramics auction in June 2021, a very rare pearlware solid agate Toby Jug from around 1800 fetched a remarkable £13,000. This jug, originating from the esteemed James and Timmey Challenger Collection in Chicago, stands out due to its unique agateware technique where brown and white clays are rolled together and press-moulded, creating a vivid, striped pattern that mimics the look of agate stone.

A very rare pearlware solid agate Toby Jug circa 1800
A very rare pearlware solid agate Toby Jug circa 1800

Measuring 24.5 cm in height, the Toby Jug is fashioned in a traditional seated form, with the characteristically jolly figure holding a foaming jug of ale on his left knee. What sets this piece apart is not just its age but the craftsmanship involved in its creation. Unlike typical painted ceramics, the agate style seen in this jug shows the intricate pattern both on the exterior and interior, a testament to the skilled artisans of the early 1800s. This method of melding different colored clays makes each piece distinctly unique, especially in larger formats like this one, making it an exceptionally rare artifact.

The high sale price of this jug highlights the enduring appeal and value of historic British ceramics, captivating collectors who cherish both the artistic merit and historical significance of such pieces. The Bonhams auction featured over 30 lots of early Toby Jugs and included a number of record prices including a Midshipman (selling for £9,000) and Farrier (selling for £13,000) from the Midshipman Family.

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Lord Rodney Toby Jug sells for £65,000 at Bonhams