THE MISSING King's Cup, not seen since 1875, has been found in America and is now up for sale.

The magnificent silver gilt bowl was presented by King William IV to the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.

Charles Wallrock, of Wick Antiques in Lymington, who is also a keen yachtsman, believes he has found the missing trophy from the squadron’s annual race.

That year the winner was Irishman John Barry-Smith in his 90-ton yacht Columbine. An account from the time states it will "grace the sideboard of the hospitable and liberal proprietor of Cove Island in Cork Harbour" but its whereabouts were unknown since.

The bowl includes the royal coat of arms and has the inscription The Gift of His Most Gracious Majesty William the Fourth to the Royal Yacht Squadron, 1835.

The annual race was the precursor of the world-famous Cowes Week.

The Royal Yacht Squadron was founded in 1815 and it remains among the most prestigious and exclusive yacht clubs in the world.

Members have included some of the most famous and privileged — with the Queen as patron and the late Prince Philip an Admiral and active participant.

Mr Wallrock said: “This is a superb and outstanding silver gilt bowl presented by the king to the Royal Yacht Squadron.

“For me it does not get any better and I am very proud to have brought it back home. It is an important part of our nautical heritage.

“Although his younger brother had been a member, King William IV can be considered the squadron’s first Admiral because it was he who changed its name from the Royal Yacht Club to the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1833.

“He had served in the Royal Navy in his youth and 1827 he was appointed as Lord High Admiral, three years before he inherited the throne and presented the first of his cups.

“Research strongly suggests this is the bowl won in 1835 by John Smith-Barry of Fota House, a stunning regency mansion situated on an island in Cork Harbour.

“The mansion was sold by the family to University College, Cork, in 1975 and has since been restored and is open to the public.

“How and when the trophy ended up in the USA is unclear but when I saw it for sale I realised its importance.

“The bowl has two handles in the form of a ship’s prow, one with a crowned lion and the other with a unicorn wearing a chain of office.

“It was made by the top silversmith William Bateman II and is of supreme quality. There are many collectors and institutions who would love to add this to collections.”

The bowl will now be offered at the Chelsea Antiques Fair with a price tag of £78,000.

The fair will be held at Chelsea Old Town Hall, from September 21 to 26.