THIS magnificent amber cup that was tipped to sell for 15k stunned experts when it went for a quarter-of-a-million pounds - even though its broken. The 300-year-old vessel is split in to two pieces and had to be held together by Blu-Tack so auctioneers could take a photograph of it. They then returned the delicate item to a tin box where it has been stored by the family that has owned it since the 19th century. It is carved with scrolls, figures and fruit and caused great excitement at the Lawrences auction rooms in Crewkerne, Somerset where it sold. Despite its stem being snapped, collectors and dealers were prepared to dig deep in order to win the 17th century receptacle. It is believed the piece was made by Jacob Heise, who was a popular craftsman in Konigsberg, Germany, between 1654 and 1663. The amber, which is fossilized resin, washes up on the coast near Konigsberg and each panel of the cup was made separately then stuck together. DM