Stock Number: 9307


For sale: Antique, early and significant lodestone, a wonderfully shaped stone weighing three pounds, and suspended from a wooden frame by a brass chain attached to the brass mounting of the stone.


4" (10 cm) lodestone plus 19" (48 cm) stand


17th/early 18th century

Country of manufacture


Categories: Maritime, Other Maritime Antiques, Natural history


SIGNIFICANT LODESTONE ON STAND, Dutch, 17th / early 18th century.  This large 4” (10 cm) long lodestone is a wonderfully shaped chunk of naturally magnetic magnetite, found in nature.  It is mounted with iron plates and pole pieces to concentrate the field, and boldly bound in brass conforming to the shape of the stone and with decorative “columnar” supports above.  The poles are engraved in Dutch “Noord” and “Suyd.”  The whole lodestone weighs three pounds. It has a wonderful presence, especially from the thought given to accommodating the stone’s shape, even placing the suspension point well offset from center to allow for the stone’s greater thickness (and weight) on the north end, and strongly curving the brass ends to follow the form of the stone.  The lodestone is suspended within a good 19” (48 cm) tall mahogany frame with twin columns and arched supporter.  Overall this is a superb example, in very fine condition throughout.  

        We have had a number of fine lodestones (see e.g., Tesseract Catalogue 94), but this particular one has perhaps the most “presence” of them all.  We always appreciate the natural strength of the stone combined with the artistry of the human mounter, all for the simple but very critical purpose of using nature’s power to remagnetize a simple man-made compass needle in order to find one’s way home. $13,500.

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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, and can be contacted at [email protected].

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