George III gold freedom box for sale

A rare gold box presented to Sir John Major, one of the two MPs for the borough of Scarborough from 1761-68
A rare gold box presented to Sir John Major, one of the two MPs for the borough of Scarborough from 1761-68
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WHEN Sir John Major was granted the freedom of Scarborough in 1761 he was presented with a rare box fashioned from gold.

Now the box, which is inscribed, is set to go under the hammer at an auction in London later this month and is expected to fetch between £15,000 and £20,000.

It was presented to Sir John Major, who served as one of the two MPs for the borough of Scarborough from 1761 until 1768.

The box marks the award to Sir John of the freedom of the town of Scarborough and the full inscription, engraved on the base, reads: “This Gold Box was presented the 21 Sept 1761 together with the Freedom of the Town of Scarborough to Sir John Major Bart.

“Then one of the Representatives in Parliament for that Borough, for his approved Zeal in extending & protecting the Trade & Commerce of that Port.”

Sir John, who was born in 1694 and died in 1781, 1st Baronet, was a British merchant and enjoyed a thriving trade in iron which was based in his home town of Bridlington, and eventually became the largest dealer in the country.

On several occasions during time of war, he allowed his ships to be used to transport troops at his own cost.

Sir John built up a considerable fortune, acquiring extensive estates in Suffolk and Sussex and other land elsewhere in England, to a value of about £5,000 a year.

In 1761, during the first election of King George III’s reign, he successfully stood for election to Parliament and became as the MP for the Borough of Scarborough.

Sir John served in this post until his defeat at the next election in 1768 when he retired from politics.

In 1765, he was created a Baronet and on his death the title was inherited by his son-in-law, John Henniker.

The inscribed gold box will go under the hammer in an auction at Bonhams Fine Silver Sale in New Bond Street in London on November Wednesday next week.