17th century gold-encrusted wine bottles, accidentally dug up by builders, will be auctioned at a fabulous £ 20,000.
Seven "extremely rare" handmade black glass bottles were found in clay last November at a construction site in England. Each bottle bears the stamp of the Earl of Coventry, who lived in Worcestershire in the late 1600s. The gold-encrusted vessels are believed to have been made sometime between 1650-1670, during the reign of Charles II, which saw the civil war.
The bottles were found during the excavation of the building site. One of the workers saw an object gleaming strangely in the sun.
The bottles are believed to have been made for George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and 2nd Earl of Coventry (1628-1687). Villiers owned three glass houses and was interested in glass production. According to the Antiques Trade Gazette, in 1663 he obtained an exclusive patent for flat and mirror glass at the Vauxhall glass factory in what is now Glasshouse Walk in London.
County Coventry was founded as the estate of Villiers' eponymous father, the first Earl of Coventry, who was also a favorite and possibly lover of King James I. The bottles are priced at £ 20,000 and will be sold in three auctions, with the first sale taking place on February 2nd.