CAESAR AND HIS COMET, ON A STAFFORDSHIRE PLAQUE, English, c. 1800. This fine cream colored oval plaque is 5-3/8” (14 cm) wide and 6” (15 cm) tall, and bears the raised profile bust of, apparently, Julius Caesar, with a comet and eight stars blazing in the sky, the whole surrounded by a band of leaves (oak leaves, perhaps, and thus the “corona civica” which was awarded to Caesar).
An extremely bright daytime comet, perhaps the brightest in recorded history, appeared for a week in 44 B.C. shortly after the assassination of Caesar. The appearance of this “Great Comet of 44 BC” or “Caesar’s Comet,” was taken as confirmation of his deification, and was used on coins of the time.
An unusual “astronomical” plaque. $1750.
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David and Yola Coffeen both have enjoyed academic careers, as planetary astronomer and as linguist/educator. But since 1982 (yes, 1982!) they have been full-time dealers in early scientific and medical instruments, under the name Tesseract. Selling primarily by catalogue (over 100 issued so far) they also have a web presence at www.etesseract.com, and can be contacted at [email protected]