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Item number: 6403

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A Group of Three Superb 19th Century Juvenile Star Tortoise shell specimens, (‘Psammobates Oculiferus’), (‘Geochelone Elegans’)
Ex English Private Collection

The 18th and 19th Century bore witness to the previously accepted wisdom of the ancients challenged and largely superseded, indubitably aided by the burgeoning interest in the collection, study and classification of naturally occurring objects from around the world.

Trade, exploration and long voyages to exciting new areas of the globe provided favourable conditions for the acquisition of the raw materials which were amassed in to great collections.

Admired and coveted for the wealth of  knowledge and explanation they could impart through examination and comparison, these specimens were avariciously desired in equal measure for their diversity, complexity, sheer beauty and monetary value.

Their striking appearance ensured Tortoise carapace were a prolific feature in any noteworthy collection and were considered an essential ingredient in the formation of a ‘wunderkammer’, or ‘cabinet of curiosities’.

These three superb 19th century juvenile Star Tortoise shell specimens perfectly epitomise the ethos of such a collection. In wonderful condition, each uniquely marked with the distinctive camouflage radiating star pattern from which they take their commonly referred to name. The two examples of, ‘Psammobates oculiferus’, clearly display a fascinating, distinct difference to one another on both the carapace and plastron, one healthy the other having experienced a lack of sufficient nutrition or problems with environmental conditions in life as indicated by the prominent, abnormally raised scutes, the different, but related species, ‘Geochelone elegans’, further serves as an interesting comparative.

(CITES Appendix II, Annex B)

Dimensions (approximate)

Clockwise from top:

1. Indian Star Tortoise, (Geochelone Elegans), Length, 9cm,  Width, 7cm

2. Serrated Star Tortoise, (Psammobates Oculiferus), Length, 10cm,  Width, 7.5cm

3. Serrated Star Tortoise, (Psammobates Oculiferus), Length, 8.5cm,  Width, 6.5cm