A Christmas ‘Feast’ Of Ancient Art, Antiquities and Coins

December 7, 2022  17:49  |  News

Apollo Art Auctions hopes to make your Christmas merry and bright with unique antiquities, ancient artworks, coins and wearable jewellery chosen especially for their beautiful December 11, 2022 holiday sale. Whether you’re a connoisseur, collector or gift-giver in search of something unforgettable, you’ll find it in this impeccably curated auction. The 500+ catalogued lots encompass a broad range of well-provenanced and expertly authenticated artefacts from Classical Europe, through Egypt and the Near East, as well as many treasures from India and China.

A Christmas 'Feast' Of Ancient Art, Antiquities and Coins

Circa 100 BC to 100 AD Roman gold and carnelian intaglio ring depicting an elephant in profile with a long trunk and well-defined legs, tail, and ears. Estimate £1,500-£3,000 ($1,840-$3,680). Photos – courtesy of Apollo Art Auctions ©

The peerless array of wearable ancient jewellery and decorative objects – created in gold, silver, bronze, pottery, stone and glass – outshines anything a Christmas shopper might see at the toniest of Fifth Avenue jewellery stores. Just a few of the highlights are a British medieval gold ring with a massive sapphire, a Viking gold twisted ring, and a rare and exceptional Roman silver bowl with an embossed, high-relief bust of Zeus.

The exceptional ancient art selection includes many museum-worthy Greek pieces, such as a large Greek Apulian red-figure amphora painted with two scenes: Eros seated on a stack of rocks and holding a large pyxis (box for carriage of personal objects), and a “Lady of Fashion” adorned with a fancy headband. Dating to circa 340-320 BC, the tastefully decorated, the double-handled vessel is estimated at £1,500-£3,000.

As marbles go, the 1000mm-tall Roman figure of Asclepius, son of Apollo and the god of medicine, is a showstopper. Standing on an integral base, the figure clutches his mantle to one side, revealing a muscular torso. The artwork is further enhanced by a staff entwined by a snake. Similar to an example in the National Museums Liverpool, the marble previously resided in France. Estimate: £20,000-£40,000

A Christmas 'Feast' Of Ancient Art, Antiquities and Coins

Large Chinese Tang Dynasty (circa 618-907 AD) pottery figure of a prancing horse with a raised right foreleg, head thrown back with side swept mane. Height: 700mm x 590mm (28in x 23.2in). Accompanied by TL testing certificate and full report from independent German laboratory Ralf Kotalla. Estimate £3,000-£6,000 ($3,680-$7,360)

The selection of fine, wearable ancient jewellery includes dozens of gorgeous rings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces, amulets and other adornments. Some of the rings are set with semiprecious stones (garnets, carnelians, amethyst, lapis lazuli) incised with intaglios whose subject matter ranges from animals to a military scene and the goddess Diana. A circa 100 BC to 100 AD gold and carnelian intaglio ring depicting an elephant in profile carries a £1,500-£3,000 estimate.

The courage it must have taken for ancient warriors to engage on the battlefield becomes starkly apparent when examining the primitive armour they wore and weapons they carried. Armour and armaments is a category for which Apollo Art Auctions is well known, and the December 11 sale bolsters that reputation with entries such as a circa 500-300 BC Chalcidian helmet of hammered tinned bronze, £6,000-£9,000; and a medieval (circa 1100-1300 AD) crusader’s or knight’s double-handed iron sword, £3,000-£6,000.

The bounteous Asian art category includes a Chinese Late Shang/Early Western Zhou Dynasty (circa 12th-11th century BC) bronze xian (ritual steamer), £4,500-£9,000; an irresistible Chinese Tang Dynasty (circa 618-907 AD) pottery figure of a prancing horse, £3,000-£6,000; and a circa 100-200 AD Gandharan carved grey schist Buddha depicting the great moral teacher in a seated dhyanasana position, £2,000-£3,000