As you wander around a flea market, would you consider buying a chipped and heavily distressed-looking mug for just £2 ($2.50)? Well, one sharp-eyed couple did that, and their meager investment paid off – big time! At a market in England, a couple spotted a mug with an image of King Charles II and a date of 1660; they quickly snapped up the 362-year-old piece.
King Charles II is pictured on the mug wearing a new state crown. After the execution of his father, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell ordered the destruction of the crown jewels. The crown jewels were sold off and melted down, with the proceeds going to the government. Cromwell believed the jewels represented the monarchy’s unjust privileges and wanted to end them.
Cromwell, an English military and political leader was best known for leading the Parliamentarian victory in the English Civil War (1642–1651) and for being Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 until he died in 1658. He is one of the most controversial figures in British history and is widely considered one of the greatest military and political leaders of all time. His son, Richard Cromwell, was his successor.
King Charles II regained the throne in 1660 following the Restoration of the Monarchy; his coronation was on 23 April 1661, in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey. This was only after a political agreement between Parliament and the army, who had supported the execution of his father ten years earlier. This agreement was known as the “Agreement of the People.” It granted Charles II some concessions, including the right to a limited monarchy, religious toleration, and a promise of no retribution against those involved in the execution. During his reign, Charles II oversaw the passage of the Habeas Corpus Act, the Exclusion Crisis, the Glorious Revolution, and the English Bill of Rights.
The couple decided to have the mug tested for dating purposes, but the test results were inconclusive. They decided to auction it off anyway and were happy to receive a £1-2000 estimate. Two phone bidders were determined to own the mug, and when the hammer finally fell, someone paid £12,000! (£14,000 w/p). According to experts, had the couple been able to obtain the provenance or conclusive dating results, the mug might have fetched closer to £70K! So, here’s a thought, as we all await the coronation of King Charles III, if there is a souvenir mug, snatch it up so one of your descendants can make a few extra bucks one day!