Chatham Historic Dockyard 1

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Antiques Roadshow, Series 35 Episode 15 of 25

Duration: 1 hour

Fiona Bruce and the team assemble in Chatham's historic dockyard for another busy day uncovering stories behind family treasures. Objects featured include a gruesome spiked object believed to have been used to ward off highwaymen, a rare collection of Victorian tiles and an astoundingly valuable collection of poison bottles.

  • More about Toby jugs

    At Chatham Historic dockyard, Henry Sandon presented Fiona with three Toby jugs. The task was to work out which is the basic worth £50, which is better and worth £700 and which one is the best at £1,400. 

    What is a Toby jug?

    Toby jugs are fun, decorative objects. Originally they would have been used to hold beer and in fact they’re modelled on (and named after) a legendary 18th Century drinker called Toby Philpot – who was known to regularly fill his pot with beer! This type of Toby jug is known as an ‘ordinary jug’ but they can come in all shapes and sizes. The more unusual ones can often be worth a lot more money.

    What to look for…

     As ever, it’s the rarer jugs that are sought after by collectors. Toby jugs started being produced in the late 18th Century and it’s these earlier ones that are more desirable. After this time, the moulds became worn and the quality simply wasn’t as good. By the time you get to the late-Victorian ones, they were mass produced and not high quality. One of the ways you can tell the older ones is because the colour is underneath the glaze.

    Another important thing to look out for is whether the Toby jug is marked. So many of them were just produced as cheap, novelty items so the manufacturers didn’t bother to put any marks on them. So if you see one with a stamp on it, it might just be a rare Toby jug.

    Unlike with porcelain, condition isn’t absolutely vital. These are rustic, fun items and collectors won’t worry too much about a few small chips or knocks. 

    So which is which?

    Basic – This jug is late Victorian so it’s the most recent one in date. The quality is not brilliant and they’re not uncommon so it’s worth about £50.

    Better – He dates from 1790-1800 so he’s one of the rarer earlier Toby jugs. The finish is what’s called pearlware but sometimes this glaze doesn’t take very well so the finish is not very good. Nonetheless this kind of Toby jug is desirable to collectors and would make £600-£700.

    Best – This one also dates from 1790-1800 so falls into that good, early category. It’s well decorated and of good quality but what really elevates it above the others is this mark on the bottom. It’s stamped Neale & Co who is a manufacturer synonymous with the production of high quality Toby jugs in the late 18th century. This one is very well made, has a good attention to detail and importantly has the stamp on the bottom. As a result, it’s worth around £1,400.

    Did you know?

    Toby jugs have been produced in the image of mane famous people including: Fidel Castro; Winston Churchill and even our very own Henry Sandon.


Fiona Bruce
Series Editor
Simon Shaw
Michele Burgess


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