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Christie's announces Seven Centuries of Science sale now officially open for bidding
An English Horary Quadrant 14th century Estimate: £50,000-80,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 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.

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.

14th Century
An English Horary Quadrant 14th century Estimate: £50,000-80,000

16th Century
An Astrolabe Rete Attributed to Georg Hartmann, circa 1530 Estimate: £10,000-15,000

17th Century
A reverse printed paper quadrant Attributed to Walter Hayes (c.1618-1696) Estimate: £2,000-3,000

18th Century
An English brass sector George Adams, mid-18th century Estimate: £1,000-1,500

19th Century
A Wheatstone wave machine circa 1850 Estimate: £20,000-30,000

20th Century
A rare K-model Enigma Cipher machine Heimsoeth & Rinke, circa 1936 Estimate: £80,000-120,000

An Apple-1 Personal Computer Palo Alto, 1976 Estimate: £300,000-500,000

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