A Rare Marine Ivory Teetotum Gambling Ball

A Rare Marine Ivory Teetotum Gambling Ball
Early to Mid 18th Century
Size: 4.5cm dia. – 1¾ ins dia.
The Latin word ‘Totum’ means the whole; the whole stake. A teetotum balls acts somewhat like a spinning dice, but is a many faceted spinning top that has each side numbered and so unlike a dice when thrown there is an equal chance of any number turning up. Most teetotum balls are incised with the numbers 1-32, having 32 equally faceted sides.
Gambling by staking a bet on the throw of a teetotum ball probably has its origins in the early 18th century when a four sided ball was inscribed with letters and not numbers: T for Totum (whole), A for Auferre (take away), D for Deponere (putdown), and N for Nihil (nothing). These Latin terms determined whether the spinner of the ball had won or lost according to which lettered side landed uppermost facing the player.
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A Rare Marine Ivory Teetotum Gambling Ball

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+44 (0) 207 689 7500

+44 (0)7836 684133
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ENQUIRIES

+44 (0) 207 689 7500

+44 (0)7836 684133
+44 (0)7768 236921

enquiries@finch-and-co.co.uk