Saxon bowl

Near-complete Saxon copper-alloy hanging bowl, estimate £20,000-30,000 at TimeLine.

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Spectacular Saxon bowl unearthed

TimeLine’s September 5-9 sale in Harwich, Essex, includes a spectacular recent metal-detecting find: a near-complete Saxon copper-alloy hanging bowl featuring three kite-shaped escutcheons worked with Celtic interlace.

These high-status objects were first used in the Roman period but most examples come from the Saxon period in the 6th to the late 7th century.

This example, dated 550- 700AD, was found in Ryedale, North Yorkshire in February 2023 and comes with a copy of the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme report documenting its discovery.

Saxon bowl detail

A detail from a Saxon bowl.

Estimated at £20,000- 30,000, it may be among the last newly discovered pieces of its kind to come to auction in the UK.

It has been a quirk of the British Treasure Act (1996) that only metal-detecting finds made substantially of gold or silver were declared ‘treasure’ and thus offered first to a national or local museum. It was just last month (July 2023) that the law was changed to include any item of ‘exceptional significance’ in the description

Paris booksellers ‘for the high jump’

While many Parisians will be celebrating the city staging the Olympic Games next year, the traditional booksellers on the banks of the Seine have found they may have to move.

The opening ceremony of the July 26-August 11 event involves around 10,000 athletes sailing along the river in a flotilla of 160 boats but the second-hand book stalls are viewed as not only blocking spectators but also a security threat where bombs could be planted.

The Times reports the city council has told booksellers - known as bouquinistes - that about 60% of the green stalls will have to be dismantled, with around 240 traders affected. Officials have offered to stage a book fair in the Place de la Bastille during the Games and rebuild stalls afterwards.

However, the bouquinistes fear the new stalls will be too modern and bland and many older stalls may collapse entirely.

Piranesi’s Veduti di Roma on offer

Piranesi’s Vedute di Roma

A plate from the near complete copy of Piranesi’s Vedute di Roma estimated at €70,000-140,000 by ArtMaximum in Brandenburg, Germany.

A rare near-complete copy of Piranesi’s Vedute di Roma comes to auction in Germany this month.

The two-volume edition, bound in the late 18th century, is offered by ArtMaximum in Brandenburg on August 24 with expectations of €70,000-140,000.

Vedute di Roma (The Views of Rome) was the work that made Giambattista Battista Piranesi (1720-78) famous and helped create the Western vision of Rome as ‘the eternal city’ and the centrepiece of any Grand Tour of Europe.

It was an epic undertaking. The Venetian archaeologist, artist and architect began work on the series in 1747 and continued right up until his death in 1778. While single framed prints appear at auction with some frequency, the complete set numbers 134 plates.

This album contains 121 etched double-page plates plus the folding plate titled Pianta di Roma e del Campo Marzio (A Great Plan of Rome and the Field of Mars).

Sammy Davis Jr ring brings bling

Sammy Davis Jr ring

Sammy Davis Jr yellow-brown 10.75ct diamond ring, estimate £50,000-70,000 at Fellows of Birmingham.

A favourite ring of Sammy Davis Jr will go under the hammer at Fellows in Birmingham on August 24. The yellow-brown 10.75ct diamond ring comes for sale two years after it was offered at Bonhams in California. The estimate is £50,000-70,000.

It was worn by ‘Mr Show Business’ on many occasions. In March of 1973, Davis Jr was invited to a White House reception which Richard Nixon called ‘An Evening with Sammy Davis Jr’.

This was a historic occasion: not only a marvel lous performance but the first time that an African-American family was invited to spend the night at the White House.

Photos from the event show the ring on Davis Jr’s little finger. He also wore it on his index finger during his tour of Europe in 1985. He was known for the extravagant and f lamboyant jewellery that mirrored his persona.

Much of his collection was sold by Bonhams in Los Angeles, when this particular ring went for $40,312 (estimate $7000-9000). This time it is offered with an extensive photo album to boost its provenance as one of the performer’s favourite items of personal adornment.

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In Numbers


The year a group of vellum-bound court rolls, books and maps for the title of Lordship of Silverstone date back to. The title of Manor or Lordship of Silverstone, alongside the relevant papers, is being offered at Iconic Auctions on August 25 with an estimate of £80,000-120,000.