A rare breed: Masonic pug snuff box set to reveal true worth at auction

A very rare Schrezheim porcelain snuff box in the form of a pug dog is expected to make £12,000-18,000 at Bonhams on July 5.

Created circa 1761-70 and measuring just 9.3cm across, the box is naturalistically modelled and coloured and shows the crouching animal chewing on a bone, wearing a gilt-edged purple collar.

The cover was painted by Johann Andreas Bechdolff and the inside is decorated with a landscape scene depicting a figure facing a building across a gully.

No oil painting: This ‘Order of the Pug’ snuff box could make £18,000

Around 1740, a series of pug related items were designed as secret emblems for a German underground Masonic-styled lodge known as the "Order of the Pug". Many were created by Johann Joachim Kaendler, master model maker of the Meissen porcelain factory in Germany, but this specimen is a much rarer example from the Schrezheim factory. 

The box is one of 80 from the Helmut Joseph Collection of porcelain snuff boxes which are expected to attract many investors to Bonhams. The entire collection is estimated to make £800,000-1,000,000.


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