We all love our gadgets, from our mp3 players to our androids and iphones. Take yourself back 200 years or so and this would be the gadget of choice for any up and coming gentleman of leisure.
Measuring just 5cm high, it is made of ivory and although resembling nothing more than a vessel – looks can be deceptive. Dating from the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century, it is in fact a pocket microscope. The top unscrews to reveal a tiny lens and a spike for impaling specimens on. Furthermore the base again unscrews to house a ‘live box’ for examining live specimens.
Science was all the rage with the Georgians and as the lenses are of a very low magnifying power it is regarded as nothing more than a ‘boys toy’.
It caused quite a stir when it was discovered by experts on a valuation day at Richard Winterton’s Lichfield Salerooms. Accompanied by a 1964 letter from the Science Museum London of verification it was offered in a specialist auction on 13th July where it soared past the estimate to total £1,400. It was purchased by an anonymous UK buyer bidding live on the internet who fought off five telephone bidders.
Free valuations of all antiques and collectables are held Tuesdays from 9.30am to 4pm at The Lichfield Salerooms. Phone 01543 251081 for further details or home visits. Website: www.richardwinterton.co.uk