The world's most important silver coffee pot to ever appear at auction - a rococo masterpiece by London-based silversmith Paul de Lamerie - is coming to Christie's London on July 4.
Estimated to be worth �4.5m ($6.8m), the pot is set to become the world's most valuable piece of English silverware.
London's Victoria and Albert Museum describes Paul de Lamerie as the "greatest silversmith working in England in the 18th century".
Lamerie's international customers included tsarinas Anna and Catherine, King John V of Portugal and many members of the English aristocracy.
The present pot, which is marked 1738, was commissioned by affluent London trader Sir John Lequesne. The coffee pot, inspired by French rococo forms, speaks of Lequesne's Gallic ancestry.
Naturally, the history of coffee being imported into Britain runs adjacent to the production of silver coffee services. The very first London coffee house opened its doors in 1652.
Coffee's virtues, both evidenced and imagined, were printed on handbills which circulated London.
Britons soon developed a taste for the exotic, full-flavoured beverage and dozens of coffee houses - each with their own specific clientele - sprang up across London as if overnight.
Today, it is estimated that 1.6 billion cups of coffee are consumed worldwide each day.
Silver has been hitting the headlines of late. Earlier this week (May 21), a pair of German silver soup tureens brought $171,750 to Christie's, while a decorative soup tureen that once belonged to the sister of Marie Antoinette is to auction at Bonhams on June 19.
For auction insights straight to your inbox, please sign up for our free weekly newsletter.