A hoard of 17th-century ‘shaft and globe’ type bottles unearthed by a JCB digger on a building site in Kinnersley, Herefordshire, could sell for up to £20,000 in an upcoming sale.
The six ‘extremely rare’ black glass wine bottles are encrusted with gold. Seals on two of the bottles and a fragmented section of bottle bear the Coventry arms, meaning that they could be connected to George Villiers, the second Duke of Buckingham and second Earl of Coventry (1628-87).
The bottles measure just over 20cms, are near intact and dated from 1650 to 1670, around the period of King Charles I and the English Civil War.
Alan Blakeman, auctioneer at BBR Auctions in Barnsley, said, “Wine bottles which date from 1650 to 1670 are extremely rare and for these to be discovered with their seals so they can be attributed to the Earls of Coventry is very special.
“Back then, you had to be filthy rich to have your own wine bottles made, with the seals providing an extra status symbol.
“The workman was digging a trench for footings with a JCB when he found them and it is remarkable that they have survived in such good condition.”
The bottles will be sold over three auctions upcoming auctions, with the first sale taking place on February 2.