The late 18th or early 19th century allegorical figures of women rose to the top of the results list at Mehlis (23% buyer’s premium) in Plauen on August 25-27.
The catalogue offered no suggestions to the possible identity of the figures; the seated women were dressed in classical Roman robes and bore their respective attributes, a cornucopia and a bundles of fasces.
The cornucopia is associated with several Roman goddesses, among them Terra, Fortuna and Abundantia, which symbolised the earth, good luck and prosperity respectively. The combination of a female figure with the fasces, generally symbols of authority, is often connected with the Vestal Virgins.
Both figures had suffered minor damage over the centuries, but there were plenty of bidders on hand. After all but two dropped out, a collector from Berlin and an international dealer swapped bids in a seemingly neverending exchange, until the latter finally won the day at €62,000 (£53,915).