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A GILT-BRONZE AND ROCK-CRYSTAL PAPAL RING
A GILT-BRONZE AND ROCK-CRYSTAL PAPAL RING
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A GILT-BRONZE AND ROCK-CRYSTAL PAPAL RING

ITALIAN, 15TH CENTURY

Details
A GILT-BRONZE AND ROCK-CRYSTAL PAPAL RING
ITALIAN, 15TH CENTURY
Decorated with a papal tiara, cross-keys and four symbols of the Evangelists, and inscribed 'N.COLAVS.P.O' on the underside, with foil-backed rock-crystal
2 ¼ in. (5.3 cm.) high
Sale Room Notice
Please note that the inscription and coat of arms on the present ring relate it directly to the papacy of Nicholas V who reigned 1447-1455.

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Lot Essay

Decorated with the arms of popes or cardinals, papal rings of the fifteenth century were made of gilt bronze or copper set with glass or crystal bezels, and distinguished by their great size. Their exact function remains a mystery, although it is thought they may have been given as credentials to an envoy from the pope or cardinal to the king, used as a sign of authentication for the wearer during their journey. Comparable papal rings are in the British Museum (inv. 1888,1201.3) and Victoria & Albert Museum (inv. 664-1871 and 667-1871).

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