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This did not prevent the Romans regarding their animals, and slaves indeed, as nothing less than heroes. So much so that it would be easy to make exotic animals a theme for collecting. The rhinoceros is currently more fashionable than usual because it is such a pervasive image in the current Dürer exhibition at the British Museum (don’t miss it). This rhino was sent to the King of Portugal, who sent it to the Pope, but the poor thing drowned in the Med in transit. We do not know the fate of a much more realistic western representation of a rhinoceros on a small bronze counter struck, well, we do not know exactly but either side of AD100 will have to do.

Traditionally the rhino’s opponent in the circus was the elephant. The elephant usually lost. It is quite rare, but diligent search is eventually rewarded. There was one in this sale. Estimate $220. Why not? It made $350 (£213).