A BOTTLE that was dug up on a farm in Wiltshire has sold at auction for almost £8,000.

The farmer who discovered it on his land kept it on a shelf for over 50 years until his son decided to find out its history.

A specialist at Woolley and Wallis salerooms in Salisbury revealed that the bottle was a rare example dating from the 17th century.

Glass specialist Clare Durham said: “Sealed shaft and globe bottles, which this is, are not something that comes on the market very often. Most have survived only because they’ve been buried somewhere for a couple of centuries, but to have one come up at auction for the first time since it was unearthed is rather special.”

The bottle has a seal bearing three fleurs-de-lis, which would have related to the family who owned it originally.

Woolley and Wallis sought the help of bottle historian David Burton to try and track down the original family but unfortunately the seal was not unusual enough.

“It is a common charge on a coat of arms, which was used mainly by royalty or noble families, three fleurs-de-lis being part of the Stuart coat of arms in the 17th century, representing the English claim to the French throne,” said Mr Burton.

Several American collectors expressed an interest in the bottle and bid for it, but it was bought by a private buyer at auction earlier this month for £7,930.

“The bottle is not just staying in the UK, but actually staying in Wiltshire, which I’m delighted about,” said Mrs Durham.