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Home > Auctions > 21st February 2023 > 'The Chinnor' Medieval Gold 'None So Well' Decorated Posy Ring

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LOT 0302

GBP (£) 2,000 - 3,000
EUR (€) 2,260 - 3,390
USD ($) 2,460 - 3,700

Opening Bid
£1,620 (EUR 1,832; USD 1,996) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

CIRCA 1400-1500 A.D.
3/4 in. (1.83 grams, 18.11 mm overall, 16.35 mm internal diameter (approximate size British J 1/2, USA 5, Europe 9.32, Japan 9)).

A gold posy ring composed of a waisted band with pearled and raised upper and lower borders, each decorated with a circumferential ring of pellets, the central section engraved with a blackletter French inscription: 'nul ce bien' ('none so well'), each word separated by sunbursts and flowers; plain interior.

Found whilst searching with a metal detector by Kevin Ford on 25th January 2020 in Chinnor, South Oxfordshire, UK.

Accompanied by a copy of the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme Report (PAS) number OXON-FF9F8E.
Accompanied by a letter to HM Coroner for Oxfordshire from the Treasure Registrar at the British Museum disclaiming the Crown's interest in the ring with treasure reference number 2020 T76.
Accompanied by a letter from the finder detailing the circumstances of the find.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate no.11657-196665.

Published on the British Museum's Portable Antiquities Scheme Database, record id. OXON-FF9F8E.

Cf. The V&A Museum, accession number M.219-1962, for a very similar 15th century ring; cf. The Portable Antiquities Scheme Database, record ids. PAS-A36D2D and NARC-394C24, for similar ring types of this dates and BERK-1893D5 for a similar ring and inscription; cf. Evans, J., English Posies and Posy Rings, OUP, 1931, p.12, for this inscription in black letter.

French Gothic blackletter inscriptions on finger rings were associated with the culture of chivalry and courtly love; a historic example of gifts and tokens as expressions of love. Some scholars note that black letter inscriptions are prevalent on love rings between the 13th-15th centuries. Although such rings could be both English and French in origin, it is believed that most were English, with French inscriptions.
Note that the PAS offers a different interpretation of the inscription on this ring.