A ring used to transport notes to Bonnie Prince Charlie sold for UKP12,200 yesterday (13.02.08), more than four times its estimated value.

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The gold and emerald ring – which was worn by Jacobite agents to prove they were genuinely carrying notes from the exiled Prince Charles Edward Stuart during the 18th century – was bought by an anonymous bidder at auction.

Colin Fraser, a silver specialist at Scotland’s Lyon & Turnbull auction house, in Edinburgh, where the ring was sold, said: “The ring was bought by an anonymous private collector. However, I can confirm that it will stay in Scotland.”

The ring, which has a concealed cypher and features the inscription “CRIII 1766: Charles Rex, 1766”, was originally valued at approximately UKP3,000. The piece of jewellery was used as an alternative to the prince’s signature or seal as anyone found carrying documents bearing such marks faced instant execution after the prince was exiled following his defeat in the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

Charles’s grandfather, known as both James VII of Scotland and James II of England, fought to be restored as King of Scotland and England after he was deposed in 1688.

The Jacobite cause was dedicated to restoring the Stuart family to the thrones of England and Scotland.