June, 2002, Christie's set an auction record for antiquities of
almost eight million pounds for a beautiful marble statue of Venus
at its antiquities auction in London.
The New York antiquities sales at Sotheby's and Christie's in
the fall of 2002 do not have any comparable blockbusters and actually
are leaner in quality items than in recent years.
This Christie's sale is highlighted by a marvelous Greek bronze
lion, some good Greek and Roman statues and busts, several fine
Greek vases and some excellent ancient glass. Christie's also
has a separate auction the following day of Antique Jewelry that
is highlighted by several lovely works.
most appealing work of the Antiquities auction is Lot 133, a Greek
bronze lion, Classical Period, circa 4th Century B.C. The hollow
cost sculpture of the lion seated on his hind legs with a gaping
mouth is 6 1/4 inches high. The catalogue notes that "the
treatment of the locks of this lion is related to that of the
famous Etruscan bronze Chimaera of Arezzo, now in Florence. The
lot, which is in fine condition although it is missing its tail,
has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. This work has a nice green
patina and a highly animated face with a fabulously stylized treatment
of the animal's mane. It failed to sell.
several works in the auction that were formerly in the collection
of Dr. and Mrs. Freddy and Regina T. Homburger, most notably Lot
154, a Greek portrait of a queen, marble, Ptolemaic Period, circa
3rd Century B.C. The 15-inch-high sculpture is very beautiful
and in fine condition except for a large gash on the left side
of the figure's nose and some discoloration in part of the left
eye. It has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. It sold for
$95,600 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned
in this article.
A beautiful sculpture of an athlete that is missing its head and
arms is Lot 233, a Roman marble that is 41 inches high and is
dated circa 2nd Century A. D. The catalogue notes that it is "loosely
based" on a Classical Greek original. It has an estimate
of $90,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.
figure from the same period is Lot 245, a Roman bronze figure
of Bacchus that is 22 5/8 inches high. The figure, which has a
spotted greenish patina, is naked except for a faun's skin draped
across his left shoulder and chest. It has an "estimate on
request." It failed to sell.
is a striking marble portrait head of a man, Roman, circa mid-
to late 3rd Century, A.D. The 11 1/4-inch-high head is finely
modeled with an incised moustache and beard. Its nose is broken.
It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for
The auction has several nice fragmentary Roman works from sarcophagi
and cinerary urns as well as some nice Palmyrene limestone funerary
is a dramatic fragment from a marble Roman sarcophagus, 2nd Century
A.D. The 24 1/2-inch-long frament depicts a scene from an Amazonomachy
and is sculpted in high relief with a standing warrior armed as
a Roman centurion carrying a large shield in his outstretched
left arm and the Amazon seated astride a partially preserved horse
with her mantle billowing in the wind and wielding a double-axe
in her raised right hand. This lot has a conservative estimate
of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $33,460.
is a Roman marble oval cinerary urn whose exterior is carved in
high relief and depicts a hunting scene. The 8 7/8-inch-high work
was once in the collection of Charles D. Kelekian and has a
estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $41,825.
is a charming Palmyrene limestone funerary relief, 12 1/2 inches
high, circa mid-2nd to 3rd Century A.D. The catalogue notes that
"the deceased, most likely a priest, [is] depicted on a richly
upholstered mattress at a funerary banquet." There is a similar
piece in the Louvre. The lot has a modest estimate of $15,000
to $20,000. It sold for $17,925.
is an impressive Roman marble statue of Mercury that is 28 1/8
inches high and is dated circa 2nd Century A. D. It has an estimate
of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $17,925.
is a very handsome Roman oval lead pyxis with a frieze of Bacchic
revelry. The 3 7/8-inch-long is dated circa 1st-2nd Century A.D.
and has a modest estimate of $5,000 to $7,000. It failed to
is a very elegant Roman "Campana" terracotta relief
that is 17 1/2 inches wide. Dated circa early 1st Century A.D.,
it has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $20,315.
is a fine Sumerian head of a worshipper, Late Early Dynastic Period,
circa 2600-2350 B.C. The 3 1/2-inch-high calcite head depicts
a woman with an elaborate coiffure. Her eyes now have modern lapis
and synthetic inlays. The lot has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.
It sold for $17,925.
Lot 283 is an impressive Near Eastern basalt altar that is dated
circa 2nd-early 1st Millennium B.C. The altar is nicely carved
with a ram's head and is 13 7/8 inches long. It has an estimate
of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $23,900.
illustration of the catalogue is Lot 47, an Apulian Gnathian-ware
bell-krater that is attributed to the Konnakis Painter. The
black krater is simply but beautiful painted with the messenger
goddess Iris on one side and a girl playing with a ball on the
other. The vase is broken and the catalogue notes that it was
repaired "in antiquity by means of four lead clamps."
It has an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000. It sold for $83,650.
Lot 20 is
a fine Attic black-figured neck-amphora that is attributed to
the Group of Toronto. The 15 7/8-inch high base depicts Herakles
battling Amazons on one side and three hoplites in battle on the
other. It has a modest estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. It
Another fine vase is Lot 16, an Attic black-figured amphora (type
B), that is attributed to the Swing Painter, circa 540-520 B.C.
The 18 5/8-inch-high amphora has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.
It sold for $53,775.
12 is a very good Corinthian black-figured trefoil oinochoe with
three registers depicted animals that are painted with great style.
The 16-inch high vessel is dated circa 580 B.C., and has a modest
estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. It sold for $8,962.
Lot 83 is
an Etrusco-Corinthian black-figure ople with five registers depicting
animals. The 17 3/8-inch-high vessel is dated circa early 6th
Century B.C., and has a modest estimate of $7,000 to $9,000. It
sold for $6,572.
Lot 145 is an impressive Apulian red-figured loutrophorous (type
III=barrel amphora) that is attributed to the White Saccos Painter.
The 44-inch-high vessel is dated circa 320-310 B.C., and has an
estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It sold for $33,460.
has a notable group of very fine ancient class that is highlight
by some sensational cobalt blue and opaque white glass jars of
which Lot 380, shown above, is a fine example. This marbled glass
jar is 4 15/16 inches high and is dated to the 1st Century A.D.
It has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $20,315.
One of the
most interesting lots in the auction is 217, a painted terracotta
Egyptian sarcophagus lid. Dated Roman Period, circa 3rd-4th Century
A.D., it is 46 1/2 inches high and has a modest estimate of $20,000
to $30,000. It failed to sell. The lid depicts,
to the catalogue, "an elite woman with her hair arranged
in a bun, her small breasts protruding, her hands with open palms
pressed against her lower abdomen, garlands around her neck and
across her body, a rectangular panel at her legs, framed by scrolling
grape vines and floral motifs." The stylization of the lid
is quite remarkable. The woman's head is sculpted and raised but
her arms and legs and shown like sticks and the "panel"
is asymmetrically placed and depicted, and the decorative markings
are highly abstract.
is a very adorable Egyptian faience baboon, Middle Kingdom, Dynasty
XI-XII, 2040-1783 B.C. The 3 1/8-inch high figure was once in
the collection of Marquis de Riviére, Ambassador of France,
circa 1820s, according to the catalogue. It has a modest estimate
of $4,000 to $6,000. It sold for $5,377.
is an Egyptian limestone sculptor's model portrait bust, Late
Period to Ptolemaic Period, 664-30 B.C. The 6 3/4-inch-high model
has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $33,460.
Jewelry auction at Christie's Dec. 13, 2002 is highlighted by
a smashing Greek gilt silver roundel of Alexander-Helios, a delightful
Egyptian rock crystal amulet of Thoeris, a beautiful Neo-Babylonian
head of a hippopotamus, and many fine rings and necklaces.
Lot 568 is a Greek gilt silver roundel that depicts Alexander-Helios.
The 4 3/4-inch-diameter piece is dated Hellenistic period, circa
4th Century B.C., and has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It
sold for $33,460.
is a beautiful rock crystal amulet of Thoeris, the hippopotamus-headed
Egyptian goddess of childbirth. The 7/8-inch-high amulet has her
hands rested on her swollen stomach, pendulous breasts, and a
crocodile's tale along her back. It is dated Late Period, 664-332
B.C., and has a modest estimate of $2,000 to $3,000. It sold
is an exquisitely carved head of a hippopotamus that is a
haematite weight. Dated circa 8th-7th Century B.C., the piece
is 15/16 inches long and has a modest estimate of $1,000 to $1,500.
It sold for $8,365.
illustration of the catalogue for this auction if Lot 551, a gold
and carnelian finger ring engraved with a profile head of Herakles
with his club positioned above but partially obscured by the ring's
bezel. The 3/4-inch wide ring is Greek, Early Classical Period,
circa mid-5th Century B.C., and has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.
It sold for $35,850.
One of the
auction's most charming pieces is Lot 553, a Greek bronze ring
incised with the figure of a walking monkey. The 15/16-inch wide
ring is dated Classical Period, circa 4th Century B.C., and has
a modest estimate of $1,000 to $1,500. It sold for $2,868.
Another fine ring is Lot 586 that has an Roman onyx cameo of an
eagle's head. The silver and agate ring is 1 inch wide and is
dated circa 1st Century B.C.-1st Century A.D. It has an estimate
of $5,000 to $7,000. It sold for $4,780.
is a beautiful Roman gold and onyx ring engraved with Mercury
and Victory. The 7/8-inch-wide ring is dated circa 2nd Century
A.D. and has an estimate of $2,500 to $3,500. It sold for
is a very interesting "magic" amulet in black steatite
that is Roman, circa 2nd-3rd Century A.D. The 1 5/8-inch long
disk-shaped piece is engraved on one side with Abrasax, the cock-headed
anguipede with the body of a solider in cuirass and tunic, holding
a whip in his right hand, and the other side is engraved with
two figures of Chnoubis, the lion-headed serpent. The lot has
a modest estimate of $1,000 to $1,500. It sold for $3,346.