A rare 16th century gold sundial and compass ring, possibly German,

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Lot 17
A rare 16th century gold sundial and compass ring,
possibly German, circa 1570

Sold for £ 10,800 (US$ 15,037) inc. premium
A rare 16th century gold sundial and compass ring, possibly German, circa 1570
The hinged oval bezel designed as a seal and engraved with a coat of arms, opening to reveal a sundial and compass, on a plain gold hoop, dimensions of bezel 1.8x2.0cm., ring size V

Footnotes

  • The Renaissance interest in scientific discovery and the natural sciences was reflected in rings incorporating compasses and sundials. By the 16th century miniature timepieces of a more sophisticated nature were being manufactured, usually in Augsburg. This particular ring is illustrated in The Ring from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century, Ward, Cherry, Gere, Cartlidge, London, 1981, page 102, plate 213. The accompanying catalogue entry states that the seal of arms is that of the Von Steiger family and that an impression from the seal on this ring can be found on a document signed by Johannes Steiger, Baron de Rolle (1518-81), now in the Bernese Staatsarchiv, dated 26 December 1571. The ring may also be recognised as that worn by his son, in a portrait dating from the early 17th century. It is also observed that as this ring is less elaborate than other princely time-keeping rings, the interest in scientific discovery was not confined to the great courts of Europe.
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