By Carter B.
rather extraordinary auction,
two collectors have permitted Christie's to offer together their
antique glass objects that were formerly in the collection of
Giorgio Sangiorgi, a well-known antiques dealer whose gallery
was in the Palazzo Borghese in Rome. Sangiorgi assembled most
of his collection beginning in the late 19th Century and it was
published in 1914. Subsequently, many fine pieces were acquired
by the Corning Museum of Glass and the Toledo Museum of Art in
testament to the strength
and depth of the Sangiorgi Collection," the catalague notes,
"is that even with the partial disbursement, the remaining
several hundred works of art are still one of the most significant
private collections of ancient glass ever to be offered at auction."
auction was extremely successful
with many lots significantly exceeding their high estimates.
collection has a large
group of Mediterranean core-formed vessels from the 6th to the
1st Centuries, B.C. , and, from the same period, a group of pendants
in the form of bearded heads and elaborate colorful "eye"
beads. "Perhaps one of the finest in existence is a Carthaginian
pendant in the form of a head with the hair and beard in amber
glass rather than the usual blue or block," the catalogue
observed of Lot 27, shown above. Only 1 3/8 inch long, it has
a conservative estimate of $15,000 to $20,000 and is the cover
illustration of the catalogue. It sold for $87,200 (including
the buyer's premium as do all sales prices in this article.)
less spectacular, pendants are Lot 21, which has a blue beard
and an identical estimate and sold for $36,800, and
28 and 30, each with estimates of $4,000 to $6,000. The former
sold for $6,325 and the latter sold for $4,830.
the extremely decorative
and beautiful beads are strung as necklaces in two lots with several
strands each, 34 and 35, which have estimates, respectively, of
only $6,000 to $8,000 and $5,000 to $7,000. Lot 34 sold for
$14,950 and Lot 35 sold for $12,650. Lot 36 has a fine strand
of cobalt blue glass beads and a bead of Medusa together with
8 black irregularly shaped glass beads cast with grimacing faces,
all estimated for a total of only $4,000 to $6,000. It was
one of the few disappointments of the sale although it did sell
fascinating group is
Lot 38 that consists of 16 Punic, Greek and Roman glass amulets,
most of great charm and only estimated at $2,500 to $3,500. It
sold for $2,300.
the most spectacular
pieces in the auction is Lot 103, shown below, a Roman polychrome
glass snake, circa 1st Century, A.D., 5 1/8 inches wide, with
marvered threads of opaque white, blue, yellow, black and amber.
Estimated conservatively at $15,000 to $25,000, a similar example
is in the New Orleans Museum of Art. It sold for $68,500.
auction also has a remarkable group of Egyptian and Roman mosaic
glass inlays. One of the more delightful ones is Lot 51, shown
below, a Roman mosaic glass inlay, circa 1st Century B.C. to 1st
Century, A.D., 1 1/8 inches long. Comprised of two half sections
joined to form a full mask of the Brothel Keeper, a standard New
Comedy character, it is estimated at $8,000 to $10,000. It
sold for $29,900.
group of Roman glass
cameos dating from the 1st Century, A.D., in bronze settings is
also included in the auction. One of the nicest is Lot 141, shown
below, that depicts Dionysos looking back towards a leaping panther.
The piece is 1 5/8 inches long and is estimated at $3,500 to $4,500.
It sold for $7,475.
exceptional pieces include the following:
75, three Roman mosaic glass beads, one of which depicts a kiwi
against a green ground, 3/4 inch high, Egypt or Italy, circa 1st
Century B.C. - 1st Century, A.D. It is estimated at $1,500 to
$2,000. It sold for $4,600.
95 consists of nine Roman mosaic glass floral plaques, Middle
Egypt, circa late 1st Century B.C. - First Century, A.D., 3 3/4
inches long for the longest piece. It is estimated at $12,000
to $18,000. It sold for $55,200.
97, a Roman mosaic glass and bronze finial, 4 1/8 inches high,
circa 2nd - 3rd Century, A.,D.; Lot 154, which includes 5 Roman
glass relief fragments, one of which is a wonderful head of man
in cobalt blue glass. It is estimated at $800 to $1,200. It
sold for $6,325.
154 consists of five Roman glass relief fragments, circa 1st Century,
A.D., including a very strong and fine head of a man in cobalt
blue glass. The lot is estimated at $1,000 to $1,500 and sold
163, a Roman glass double-head-shaped flask, 3 inches high, circa
early 3rd Century, A.D. It is estimated at $400 to $600. It
sold for $2,530.
167, a Roman glass beaker, amber in color, 2 7/8 inches high,
Syro-Palestinian, early 1st Century, A.D. It is estimated at $20,000
to $30,000. It sold for $55,200.
191, a Roman glass double unguentarium, circa 5th - 6th Century,
A.D., 9 3/4 inches high. It is estimated at $1,000 to $1,500.
It sold for $1,380.
1, a lovely core-formed glass alabastron sold for $27,600 and
had a high estimate of $12,000.
in all, a very spectacular auction that indicates that antiquities
may finally get the due they deserve in the marketplace.