24 Oranges, an English language blog on all things Dutch, is reporting that one of Leeuwenhoek’s microscopes is to be auctioned at Christies. The microscope (Lot 88, Sale 5808) is to be sold at the London, South Kensington salesroom and is described as:
A highly important Dutch silver microscope
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), circa 1690
The lens held between two riveted silver plates; stage with rounded step design, specimen pin and focusing screw; main screw with rounded handle, with angle bracket and securing screw. Marked with an incuse 3, and two later Dutch sale marks (for the periods 1813-1893 and 1814-1831).
dimensions of plates 39 x 22mm.
The origins of this microscope are said to be:
Found in 1978 among a box of laboratory impedimenta from the Zoological Department of Leiden University and purchased by the present owner.
Believed to be no. 62 in the 1875 exhibition catalogue by Harting, and from the collection of the Dutch zoologist R.T. Maitland (1823-1904).
Bought at an unknown auction between 1814 and 1831.
Read the complete description and background here.
The auction date is 8 April 2009 and the price range is expected to be between $102,340 – $146,200.
Will a Dutch National treasure be lost?
Perhaps Delft should purchase this as the basis for a much needed Leeuwenhoek Museum!(Image from Christies. Original news source for the 24 Oranges article is in the Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf.)