A London auctioneer company was stunned when five posy rings appeared in its auction last month.
Dix Noonan Webb, an auctioneer based in Mayfair, sold five posy rings at a September jewellery auction. Posy rings are highly collectible, especially those which were made during the 15th and 16th Centuries, and those with inscriptions which are rare. The name is taken from ‘poesy’ – a French word meaning ‘short rhyme’. These were mostly used to communicate feelings of love towards another.
The oldest posy ring dates back to the 16th Century and is illustrated. The inscription is on the flat band of the ring, and reads ‘BOVNDE BY FATHE’ which translates into ‘bound by faith’. The ring was found in 2012 and sold for £1,800 to a bidder who was in the auction room. An 18th-Century posy ring sold for £800. It was made by John Gamon, a London goldsmith. The inscription read “My Love to thee Shall Constant be”.
Another ring, which was produced during the 18th Century, sold for £1,200, although the maker’s mark was indistinct. A gold enamelled ring from the 18th Century sold for £1,400 and was inscribed “Not the value but my love”, with the maker’s mark IC. Other posy rings from the same maker can be viewed in the British Museum and the Museum of London.
The posy rings may be displayed in an antique cabinet, and would be likely to be the topic of conversation during get-togethers with friends and family.
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