A rare coffer from the Tudor period that was used to keep valuables in has emerged for sale at auction and could fetch £30,000.
The grand oak chest probably graced the interior of a large manor house in the West Country – such as those depicted in Wolf Hall, the TV serial and best-selling book.
It remains in wonderfully good condition and has carvings of ‘Romayne’ heads along the side, which allow it to be dated to the reign of Henry VIII.
The 5ft-long coffer, which is fitted with a sturdy metal lock, is go under the hammer at Duke’s of Dorchester, the fine art saleroom, on 11 June.
With a renewed interest in the Tudor era due to books, documentaries and TV drama there is increased interest in relics from this period.
Made at such a pivotal time in the country’s history the early 16th century, the chest is an important and highly collectable item of English furniture.
Guy Schwinge of Duke’s, said: “Very little furniture survives in its original form from the first half of the 16th century.
“This is a rare item with a strong form and well executed carving, incorporating Renaissance ‘Romayne’ heads and Gothic leg spandrels.
“The heads might be of the original owners and possibly of a young Henry VIII, but the stylized carving makes it difficult to be sure.
“It is this transitional stylistic vocabulary which enables us to date it with a degree of accuracy to the first half of the 16th century.”
The word coffer originally comes from the Latin, cophinus, meaning ‘basket’. Its other meaning is a repository for valuables, as used in the expression ‘swell the coffers’.
The item has been in storage for many years so it is a fresh piece that has entered the market.