A reward has been offered for the safe return of a rare antique jug taken from a Luton museum, following fears that it might have been stolen for its scrap value.
Stockwood Discovery Centre may be short on Victorian dining chairs and antique cabinets, but Lancashire residents will still find plenty of historical interest, not least the valuable Wenlok Jug, which was recently stolen in what has been described as an aggressive attack.
The jug was purchased for £750,000, the same amount being offered by the New York Met until an export ban was placed on it in 2006. A unique example of mediaeval metalwork, bearing the English bronze founder’s mark, it has close links to the town of Luton. It is distinctively marked with badges, coats of arms and the words “My Lord Wenlok,” making it the only one of its kind in the world.
Weighing over 6kg and standing nearly 32 cm tall, the jug was kept not in an antique cabinet, but in a high security metal display case fitted with a dual locking mechanism and state-of-the-art alarm system. Unfortunately this did not deter the thief, who smashed the 13mm laminated glass with a heavy gulley cover before escaping over the 6ft perimeter fence. Luton Culture has offered a substantial reward for the jug’s safe return, but fear it may have been stolen for its scrap value, which is minimal as it is an alloy, rather than pure bronze.
The antique dealers of Preston often have antique cabinets gleaming with precious metalware which, on closer inspection, is revealed to be plated or an alloy. A silver-plated jug is no less beautiful than the real thing, but cheaper, and far less attractive to thieves.
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