A DRINKING glass which was donated for auction by a Petersfield man has brought a lot of joy to people on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Prue Rushmer and her friends at the Petersfield branch of Save The Children (STC) were shocked when an engraved ale glass sparked a bidding war at an auction held at John Nicholson’s salerooms in Fernhurst.

The glass was part of a box of antiques which included a pair of bronze figures and a Royal Worcester bowl, together raising close to £800.

The man who donated the glass had no idea about its history or value and had all but forgotten its existence, while no picture of the piece was printed in the auctioneer’s guide.

So Prue nearly fell off her chair when she learned that the glass went for £3,500 to a collector in Northern Ireland following a long telephone bidding war with a counterpart from the UK.

She said: “This very kind gentleman whose father died in November contacted us as he had lots of bits and pieces he wanted to donate to STC.

“We didn’t have anywhere at that point to store them but Reeves was amazing and sorted us out with a container.

“Usually when we have a charity sale we raise about £2,000 but this time it was £4,500. There was this ale glass engraved with John Day and that one glass reached £3,500.

“I asked the auctioneer if he had put the dot in the wrong place so I nearly fell off my recliner. There was a bidding war between two telephone bidders from Ireland and the UK and when it was over everyone cheered.”

The piece was a very rare example of 17th century Irish glassware and is only the fourth to be found since 1996.

It was snapped up by an antiques dealer in County Down who suspects the piece will eventually be displayed in an Irish national museum in Dublin.

“Because it was such a big figure, we had to tell the gentleman who donated it,” added Prue. “He didn’t even know the glass was in there but he was so glad the money went to STC. Two others have been recovered in the Dublin area and it’s quite a unique Irish piece.”

The next major STC fundraising event will be a gift fair in Churcher’s College on October 25 which will be opened by celebrity antiques expert John Ford, of Dickinson’s Real Deal. Tickets are £5 from One Tree Books, Hawkins Brothers or www.petersfieldsavethechildren co.uk