Feeds

Fourteenth century timekeeper turns up in Queensland

What was a bit of brass to a child is a lot of brass to Bonhams

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The second-oldest known British scientific instrument in existence is going to auction next month after spending decades in a farm shed in Queensland.

The “equal hour horary quadrant” – a timepiece for calculating time of day from the sun – is dated 1396, carries the badge of Richard II, and seems to have ended up in Australia via New Zealand after being found sometime in the 19th century in northern England by an ancestor of its current owner.

Its owner, Christopher Becker – an antiques dealer – says he found the object in a “bag of old pipe fittings” on the family farm in the 1970s, somewhere it may have been for as long as 20 years.

“I did take it to the Brisbane Museum with my father,” Becker told ABC 702 Sydney presenter Richard Glover. “They thought it was an astrolabe … and they weren’t all that excited about it”. So he continued keeping the object with him as a keepsake.

Last year, however, Becker read an article on the Internet, “Richard II, John Holland and Three Medieval Quadrants” (Silke Ackerman and John Cherry) that identified the real significance of the item for him, and he contacted the British Museum (each of the quadrants discussed in the article is younger than Beckers, dating from 1398, 1399 and around 1400).

With the item identified, Bonhams expects the item to sell for around £150,000 to £200,000.

According to Bonhams, one of the earliest administrative records in the UK based on equal-hours timekeeping refers to the abdication of Richard II “at about the ninth stroke of the clock”. The only older piece is the “Chaucer astrolabe” from 1326, which is kept at the British Musem. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.