London’s Apollo Art Auctions invites collectors and holiday gift-shoppers to a Dec. 11 Christmas ‘feast’ of ancient art, antiquities and coins
Auction features 500+ lots of carefully authenticated cultural art and artifacts, early hand-forged armor, and ancient jewelry; many items with distinguished provenance
LONDON – Apollo Art Auctions hopes to make your Christmas merry and bright with unique antiquities, ancient artworks, coins and wearable jewelry chosen especially for their beautiful December 11, 2022 holiday sale. Whether you’re a collector or a gift-giver in search of something unforgettable, you’ll find it in this impeccably curated auction. The 500+ cataloged lots encompass a broad range of well-provenanced and expertly authenticated artifacts from Classical Europe, through Egypt and the Near East, as well as many treasures from India and China.
The peerless array of wearable ancient jewelry 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 or Rodeo Drive jewelry 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 known as a “stephane.” Dating to circa 340-320 BC, the tastefully decorated, double-handled vessel is estimated at £1,500-£3,000 ($1,840-$3,680).
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 was previously in a French collection, a Paris gallery, and Binoche et Ginquello Auction, also in Paris. Estimate: £20,000-£40,000
Rare and absolutely stunning, a circa 300 AD Roman silver bowl measuring 165mm in diameter features a central medallion formed as a high-relief bust of the most important of all gods in the Greco-Roman pantheon: Zeus. The character’s facial details, abundant hair and beard have weathered the test of time very nicely, making this unusual bowl a fine choice for display. Weighing in at 230 grams, it is estimated at £2,500-£5,000.
Like their modern-day descendants in Italy, Ancient Romans were masters of jewelry design. The market’s insatiable desire for fine, wearable ancient jewelry will be well satisfied on auction day with 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, etc.) incised with intaglios whose subject matter ranges from many types of 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, with a long trunk and well-defined legs, tail and ears, has been assigned 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 armor they wore and weaponry they carried. Armor and armaments is a category for which Apollo Art Auctions is well known, and the December 11 sale continues to uphold that reputation with entries such as a circa 500-300 BC Chalcidian helmet of hammered tinned bronze. It has a sharply flaring neck-guard and a slender nose guard running to broad, arching eye openings below two convex eyebrows. It is in excellent condition, with provenance that includes a private London specialty collection and an old German collection formed since the 1980s. Its auction estimate is £6,000-£9,000.
Also noteworthy is a medieval (circa 1100-1300 AD) crusader’s or knight’s double-handed iron sword. A weighty, fearsome weapon measuring 1250mm long by 700mm wide, it comes with an academic report written by the famous lecturer, reenactor, and expert in Viking and medieval artifacts Russel Scott. Estimate: £3,000-£6,000
A Chinese Late Shang/Early Western Zhou Dynasty (circa 12th-11th century BC) bronze xian (ritual steamer) is designed with three bulbous lobes, each cast with a large bovine mask with thick horns, protruding eyes and fanged mouth, rising to a deep U-form bowl. Standing 410mm high and weighing 5.7kg, the vessel has been XRF tested to confirm a metallurgical content that suggests ancient origin with no modern trace elements detected. Estimate: £4,500-£9,000.
An irresistible Chinese Tang Dynasty (circa 618-907 AD) pottery figure of a prancing horse shows the jaunty equine with a raised right foreleg and his head thrown back with a sideswept mane. Measuring 700mm by 590mm, the figure is accompanied by a TL certificate and full report from the noted independent German laboratory Ralf Kotalla. Estimate: £3,000-£6,000
A circa 100-200 AD Gandharan carved grey schist Buddha depicts the great moral teacher in a seated dhyanasana position, the deeply incised folds of his sanghati flowing over his shoulders and covering his ankles. Measuring 560mm high and 330mm wide, with a weight of 19.3kg, the figure has graced several illustrious collections, including a Japanese collection where it resided in the 1960s prior to arriving in the UK. Estimate £2,000-£3,000
Apollo Art Auctions is located in a newly expanded gallery at 25 Bury Place in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury district, opposite The British Museum. Their December 11, 2022 auction will commence at 7 a.m. US Eastern Time/12 noon BST. View the fully illustrated auction catalogue and sign up to bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. Apollo Art Auctions accepts payments in GBP, USD and EUR; and ships worldwide. All packing is handled by white-glove specialists in-house. For questions about any item in the sale, please call the London gallery on +44 7424 994167 or email [email protected]. Online: www.apolloauctions.com
Today’s approximate rate of exchange: £1 = US$1.23