Greek, Roman, Egyptian & Other Antiquities

The antiquities market comprises artefacts and works of art made by ancient civilisations including statues, coins, jewellery and arms and armour.

Provenance is one of the most important considerations when trading in this sector as there is a long history of looting from archaeological sites.

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…and the loser is: Emperor Maxentius

10 June 2004

THE Numismatica Ars Classica (15% buyer’s premium plus local sales tax) sale in Zurich on May 12 was no less wonderful than most of its predecessors. We have become used to prices which draw gasps from this house.

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The strange case of the carved cross…

09 June 2004

ONE of the most unusual disputes concerning an item sold at auction comes full circle on Wednesday, with the object being put up for sale once more.

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Paying rich tribute to pharaohs... the Mayfair menagerie

03 June 2004

MAYFAIR antiquities dealer Rupert Wace is mounting possibly the most captivating June selling exhibition when, as one of the participants of the first London Sculpture Week, he presents Pharaoh’s Creatures: Animals from Ancient Egypt, at 14 Old Bond Street, London W1.

There are bargains even at the best sales…

27 May 2004

MORTON and Eden continue to make great strides considering how short a time they have existed. On April 22 they held their first sale abroad – in Milan in collaboration with Sotheby’s. Indeed, that firm is descended from the now closed Sotheby’s coin department.

Fragments of the Ancients

19 May 2004

Illustrated right is part of a group of fragmentary Greek and Coptic papyri, dating from the 4th-9th century AD and comprising mainly Coptic accounts, lists of names, literary fragments and two Greek biblical extracts, together with three narrow linen bandages inscribed in ink in late hieratic with spells from the Book of the Dead, c.3rd-1st century BC – offered as a single lot in a Christie’s antiquities sale, of April 27.

Marshalling the bidding

13 May 2004

THIS spring season Spink’s have had some hard-hitting sales and it has to be said that the market for the best British material has become very buoyant over the last year or so.

Massive sale proves a staple guide to prices…

01 April 2004

THE massive catalogue of Küncker of Osnabrück (27.22/23 buyer’s premium) devoted to Classical, Byzantine and Islamic coins has fallen onto my desk.

Fluorspar is cup that cheers for Ede

05 February 2004

Funded by the Friends of the British Museum, the Caryatid Fund and the National Art Collections Fund, the British Museum has acquired an extremely rare Roman fluorspar cup from the 1st century AD. The total cost of the antiquity, bought from a leading London dealer, was £150,000.

Striking the rhino in NY

28 February 2003

Baldwin, Markov and M&M Numismatics is a bit of a mouthful, but this troika held their sale also in New York on January 16. It consisted mostly of classical coins. The antics of the Roman Circus would have given modern hunt protesters something to think about.

Red granite bust sees estimate tripled

21 November 2002

Egyptian material is the current antiquities favourite, especially Egyptian sculpture, so perhaps it was no surprise to see just such a piece top Sotheby’s November 6 sale of antiquities from the Charterhouse collection.

Egyptians try to reverse sale over clause on profit

12 November 2002

Antiquities dealers could find their trade in legally exported artefacts threatened despite due diligence if the Egyptian government succeeds in reversing Sotheby’s sale of a granite bust of Ramses II.

Ploughed up and given away, sculpture sells for $600,000

11 October 2002

The extensive press coverage given over to the conflict in Afghanistan may have helped re-focus collectors’ attentions on the magnificent Gandharan sculpture produced in this troubled region in the second and third centuries AD.

Massive archaeological hoard of gamekeeper turned poacher

12 August 2002

ANTHONY Molloy worked as a wildlife ranger for Ireland’s national heritage service, Duchas. When he retired a few years ago, at 65, his farewell gift was not the traditional watch, but a metal detector.

Vendor set to challenge auctioneer over duty of care

17 July 2002

The extent to which a provincial auctioneer should be liable for underselling a work of art is again under scrutiny as a vendor threatens legal action.

Emperor of the Channel

05 July 2002

GERMANY: Round about the year 286AD times were very interesting in Britannia. Some small documents of this small and little known facet of British history appeared in the Lanz (15% buyer’s premium) sale in Munich on May 27.

Venus breaks record for antiquities in London fest

19 June 2002

A new auction record for any antiquity was set at Christie’s last week on June 13 when the 5ft 3in (1.6m) high ancient Roman marble statue of Venus, pictured right, sold for £7.2m.

Lottery Fund grant rescues Portable Antiquities Scheme

14 May 2002

The Portable Antiquities Scheme, which improves the chances of archaeological objects found by members of the public being recorded properly, has secured ongoing funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

David Sylvester collection nets £2.7m

07 March 2002

It was standing room only at Sotheby’s Bond Street on February 26 when the auctioneers sold the David Sylvester collection. In a room packed with dealers, collectors and friends of the late art critic, plus a phalanx of Sotheby’s staff manning a bank of telephones, the auctioneers offered 149 lots of paintings, drawings, sculpture, tribal art and antiquities, and as lot after lot outstripped the estimates, it was clear that their £1m projection was going to be dramatically exceeded.

Big Apple, huge price

18 February 2002

USA: The annual general sale of good quality classical coins (446 lots) hosted by the triumvirate of Baldwins (London), Markov (New York) and M&M (Washington DC) took place in the Big Apple on January 17.

On white horses, let me fly away…

29 January 2002

IT CANNOT often be said of an auction catalogue that its lot numbers will be used for a very long time, perhaps a century or more, as reference numbers in a standard academic publication. The catalogue of Numismatik Lanz of Munich is just such a one.

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