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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 12:09 GMT
Jacobite ring sells for 12,000
Jacobite 'secret service' ring
The ring is thought to be the only one of its kind to be found
A ring used by Jacobite agents to identify themselves while carrying secret messages from Bonnie Prince Charlie has been sold for 12,200.

The ring, set with an emerald, was carried to prove the message had originated from the exiled prince.

Anyone caught with documents signed by the prince after his defeat at Culloden in 1746 faced execution.

The ring, which was valued at 3,000, went under the hammer at Lyon and Turnbull in Edinburgh.

It was used by Prince Charles Edward Stuart - better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie - decades after he fled to France.

The ring was bought by an anonymous private collector, however I can confirm that it will stay in Scotland
Colin Fraser
Lyon and Turnbull

The ring bore a concealed cypher which proved the allegiance of its wearers to the Jacobite cause.

Only when the receiver saw the ring, which features the inscription CRIII 1766: Charles Rex, 1766, would he know the message was genuine.

The inscription is significant as 1766 was the year Charles' father James died, leaving the Young Pretender to consider himself the rightful king of Scotland.

Colin Fraser, silver specialist at Lyon and Turnbull, said: "We are very pleased with the result. We had bids from across the country.

"The ring was bought by an anonymous private collector, however I can confirm that it will stay in Scotland."

He added the ring was thought to be the only one of its kind to have been found, although others are known to have existed.

Bonnie Prince Charlie
The prince had to communicate with his supporters in secret

He said: "The significance of this unassuming item of 18th Century jewellery is far greater than it appears as it was used as a 'signature' when travelling with correspondence from Charles.

"No document could carry a signature or seal, as if the bearer was found in possession of such marked papers by government troops he would almost certainly have been sentenced to death.

"Therefore this ring would accompany the messenger to show they had originated from Charles and were considered an official document."

The ring was sold by a private owner, who acquired it from a museum in Montrose several years ago.

Charles' grandfather was James VII of Scotland and James II of England.

He was deposed in 1688.

Both Charles and his father James fought to be restored as king of Scotland and England.

Much of the Scottish population continued to consider Charles to be the rightful heir to the Scottish throne throughout his decades in exile.

The Jacobite "secret service" of ring bearers provided an invaluable service to the prince, who had to keep all his loyal supporters abreast of his plans and movements.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Ring is auctioned in Edinburgh



SEE ALSO
Culloden centre opens its doors
20 Dec 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Mystery over Jamaican at Culloden
05 Oct 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Beach hunt for lost Jacobite gold
19 Feb 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Culloden artefacts to be unveiled
31 Jul 06 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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