MEDIA ALERT: 14th Century Sundial Discovered by Metal Detectorist to be Offered in Online-only sale



discovered by metal detectorist

To be offered alongside Apple-1 computer

in Seven Centuries of Science auction



15 - 29 October 2015


London – This October Christie’s presents a new online-only auction, Seven Centuries of Science, which offers a curated group of scientific instruments that span the centuries from the 14th to the 20th century. The earliest artefact featured in the sale in a medieval sundial, known as an horary quadrant, which was found by a metal detectorist near Chetwode, Buckinghamshire (estimate: £50,000-80,000). Dating to the 14th century, it is the oldest English scientific instrument to have been presented for sale at Christie’s. The 18 artefacts in the sale tell the story of the history of calculating and computing, from the ‘Chetwode’ horary quadrant through to the iconic Apple-1 that heralded the revolution in home computing (estimate: £300,000-500,000). Highlights include a rare Enigma cipher machine (estimate: £80,000-120,000) and a working wave machine designed by Charles Wheatstone (estimate: £20,000-30,000). Estimates start at £500 and the sale is open for bidding from 15 to 29 October 2015 at

The newly discovered medieval sundial, or quadrant, is marked with lines for unequal hours, to be used as a sundial. It uses unequal hours to tell the time, dividing the amount of daylight as opposed to equal hours, thus rendering winter hours much shorter than summer hours. Only a handful of comparable instruments are known and of this small group the ‘Chetwode’ horary quadrant is the earliest. Further information about this lot can be viewed here and an interview with the metal detectorist can be read here.

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in the first half of 2018 that totalled £2.97 billion / $4.04 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.