$45,051 Dickens claret jug up 187.5% on estimate

A silver claret jug given by novelist Charles Dickens to a Scottish journalist has tripled its estimate at a Christie's London auction.

The John Samuel Hunt jug came to the May 30 auction with a £10,000 estimate, selling for £28,750, a rise of 187.5%.

Charles Dickens jug
The Dickens name boosted this jug's

The sale is clear evidence of the Dickens effect. A very similar silver jug, produced by the collectible London silversmith, sold for just $2,500 at a US auction in 2008. It is also an indication of the power that this year's 200th birthday celebrations of Dickens are having on the collectibles market, with buyers' interest in the author at an all-time high.

Dickens can have a similarly beneficial impact on your bank balance.

Handwritten Dickens letters are currently appreciating at a rate of 15.69% pa, according to the PFC40 Autograph Index. They are currently valued at £3,950 ($6,200), up from £795 ($1,250) in 2000. You can become the owner of this handwritten, signed letter by Dickens today.

Dickens gifted the engraved jug to his confidant and part-time assistant William Henry Wills in 1862.

The lot was accompanied by a handwritten letter from Dickens to Wills regarding the jug.

"I hope it is a pretty thing in itself for your table and I know that you and Mrs Wills will like it none the worse because it comes from me," it reads.

"It will never be so full of wine, as it is today of affectionate regard. Ever faithfully yours, Charles Dickens."

Harry Williams-Bulkeley, head of silvers at Christie's, told the Edinburgh Evening News: "People are fascinated by Charles Dickens. We sold his desk a few years ago and it went for more than £430,000."

A signed first edition of Dickens' David Copperfield will appear at Christie's Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts sale on June 13, with a £50,000 estimate.

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