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Plate from Christian Gottlieb Hertel’s Völlstandige Anweisung zum Glass-Schleiffen – £4200 at Flints.

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Containing an allegorical frontispiece that includes cherubs with a box microscope, as well as 20 other folding plates, Christian Gottlieb Hertel’s Völlstandige Anweisung zum Glass-Schleiffen of c.1716 made £4200 in the Flints (20% buyer’s premium) auction on April 26.

Hertel was an instrument maker whose book covers the grinding and polishing of lenses and the construction of various optical instruments.

A number of copies are recorded in institutional libraries but Harold Moe, in The Story of the Microscope (2004), says only one or two copies contain the microscope plate reproduced above.

It depicts the compound ‘Double Microscope’ of a leading English maker of optical instruments, John Marshall, who first announced its invention in 1704.

Flints, a specialist auction house of ‘cameras, scientific instruments, early technology and more’, was launched in summer 2017. Initial sales were held in north London.