Medieval Gold Inscribed Quadruple 'Ring-Brooch' Love Ring - Lot No. 0593

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Medieval Gold Inscribed Quadruple 'Ring-Brooch' Love Ring

Antiquities - Medieval

LOT 0593

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 6,720 - 8,970
USD ($) 7,670 - 10,220

Bid History: 2   |   Current bid: £5,900
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14th-15th century AD

A gold finger ring of exceptional composite construction and design formed from a band with four equally-spaced decorated annular ring brooch motifs as bezels, each with an eight-pointed star design with hatched background and a triangular 'pin' bridging the open centres; toothed edges to the band to imitate beading between and recessed into the band between the bezels, each riveted through the band, a rectangular panel incised to receive enamel with traces remaining; each panel depicting a reserved single lowercase Gothic letter between two pellets reading 'b-i-e-n' meaning well, but also wealth, presumably an amuletic wish for the health and wealth of the wearer, unusually the letters are aligned circumferentially around the ring; also between the bezels, a double pair of delicate wire scrolls with bead terminals affixed to each side of the band, two lacking. 3.64 grams, 21mm overall, 18.94mm internal diameter (approximate size British R 1/2, USA 8 3/4, Europe 19.38, Japan 18) (8/10").

Very fine condition. Excessively rare, probably unique.
Condition report [Click to show]

Found west of Maiden Newton, Dorset, UK, in 2014, by Mr Clive Smith.

See Portable Antiquities Scheme, reference DOR-46EFBD (includes this ring, with copy of entry, incorrectly stating the inscription being 'l-v-n-e'); see Treasure Hunting, March 2015, p.9 (with copy of article); see Daily Mail, Mail Online, 5 October 2017 (printout included).

A ring of generally similar date and construction, with inset panels between the bezels (this example has three bezels in the form of miniature open books), was found in Fylde, Lancashire in 2005 (see PAS reference LANCUM-469077, copy included); a gold annular ring brooch of very similar design to that depicted on the ring bezels was found on Isle of Wight, 2013 (see PAS reference IOW-506491, copy included; Treasure Act reference 2013 T72, now in British Museum collection).

This ring, found with another of different form, is an exceptional example showing very fine workmanship and most unusual construction; it is probably a unique ring in displaying miniature annular brooches (precious metal brooches of this type were often themselves gifts of love) as multiple bezels and it would have been a very expensive gift, commissioned from a goldsmith of standing and most probably from a man of noble birth to his betrothed or wife; doubtless the enigmatic letters around the ring would have had special meaning to them but this cannot be meaningfully translated today. Valued and disclaimed under the Treasure Act, 1996 (as amended), reference 2014 T855; accompanied by Treasure Report and official valuation, accepted by the named expert advisers, by Richard Falkiner Ltd in the sum of £18,000.

Tuesday 4th September 2018 to Monday 10th September 2018: Ancient Art, Antiquities & Coins

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Bid History: 2   |   Current bid: £5,900

Lot No. 0593

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Auction Catalogue

Auction Venue:
Stratton Street
Mayfair London, W1J 8LT

Viewing from noon Monday 3rd Sept. 2018
Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm

Tuesday 4th Sept. 2018 (Day 1)
10am : Lots 1 - 651

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363 Main Road
Harwich, CO12 4DN

Auctions start 10am BST (Lunch 1.30 - 2pm)
Wednesday 5th Sept. 2018 (Day 2)
Lots 700 - 1361
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