Community and Lifestyle

No deal on rare 14th Century timepiece

Jon Condon, 20/12/2011


A 14th-century quadrant device used to tell the time, discovered in a cattle property shed in Central Queensland has failed to sell at auction in London.

The ancient brass timepiece, which is marked with the badge of King Richard II, had been expected to fetch more than A$300,000 when offered by auction house, Bonhams last week.

The quadrant had spent much of its recent life in a shed on a Queensland cattle property near Marlborough.

Found in a bag of pipe fittings delivered to the Becker family from deceased English-descendent relatives in New Zealand, the device was being used as a toy by the Becker children the mid-1970s (see Beef Central’s original report, “Cattle Station shed yields rare find."

The small artefact was actually the world's second-earliest known time-keeping instrument, dating from 1396, and one of only five known in the world.

Bonhams Australian operations chief James Hendy had expected the ‘incredibly rare’ find to be snapped up quickly at auction, but it failed to reached the reserve.

Bonhams had originally provided an auction estimate of between A$232,000 (UK£150,000) and A$386,000 (UK£250,000) but bidding did not reach the lower-end of the scale.


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