A lead seal of the 'bulla' type, used on bags, bales and sacks from the late 18th to the early 20th century. Each of the two sides has an inscription, and the bottom line on one side is probably the date, 1776. Some of the letters appear to be from the Cyrillic alphabet, which would suggest a Russian origin.


The bulla - a disc with a tunnel from side to side through which a string is passed - became a popular form of seal during the 18th century. It was found to be more versatile than the rivet-type seals hitherto used on cloth, as it could be attached to a wider range of goods, including the bags, bales and sacks in which they were distributed. The method of sealing was to pass the ends of the package's tightened drawstring through the tunnel in the blank seal. The latter was then die-stamped to impress the design and grip the string.