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BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)<br />
Pic: Sothebys/BNPS<br />
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He may be more famous for dishing it out to his enemies but this 450 year old silver ladle is what Ivan the Terrible used for spooning out his own meals.<br />
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A 450-year-old ladle belonging to Ivan the Terrible, Russia's first ever tsar, is tipped to fetch £60,000 when it goes under the hammer at Sothebys.<br />
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It is thought the rare silver 'kovsh' - or drinking vessel - may have been used by ill-fated Maria Temryukovna, the second of the feared Russian leader's seven wives.<br />
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Maria was a stunning Muslim princess who married Ivan Vasilyevich in 1561, 14 years after he proclaimed himself ruler of 'All the Russias' and a year after the death of his first wife Anastasia Romanovna.<br />
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The 13-inch kovsh boasts an outer rim gilded and inscribed in Old Slavonic 'By the Grace of God of the Tsar Sovereign Grand Prince Ivan Vasilyevich Autocrat of All Russia the kovsh of the Tsaritsa and Grand Princess Maria'.<br />
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It would have been used to drink mead from at regal ceremonies and was made by the Kremlin's master craftsmen between the 1560s and 1580s.<br />
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The kovsh is being sold on behalf of the family of late Italian duchess Donna Simonetta Colonna who bought it from Bulgari in Rome in the 1950s.