A RARE silver bowl created to mark the USA’s purchase of Alaska is to go up for auction.

The 10-inch long sterling silver ice bowl was produced in 1870 to commemorate the historic deal three years earlier when Russia sold the territory for £7.2m.

Decorated with an iceberg, icicles and two snarling polar bears, the piece made by the Gorham Manufacturing Company was found recently at a house in Newcastle.

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It is expected to fetch up to £5,000 when it goes up for sale at Anderson and Garland’s auction house in Newcastle on December 5.

Julian Thomson, director at Anderson and Garland, said: "This Gorham sterling silver ice bowl is a wonderfully festive and unusual piece that was found in a house near Newcastle.

"It was completely black and tarnished but from the marks evidently a significant find and has since cleaned up beautifully.

"We are experiencing a lot of interest in the piece due to its historical significance and expect it to do particularly well."