On the 4th October 2020, leading London auction house Pax Romana Auctions is pleased to announce it’ll be holding a one day only antiquities auction (UK) showcasing the best in Ancient Jewellery, Weaponry and Classical Art. Headed by Dr. Ivan Bonchev, the auction house includes only the best in ancient antiquities, originating from all across Europe and the Mediterranean.
Carefully curated, this auction of 357 lots offers stunning pieces for a wide range of collectors and antiquities enthusiasts. In each of the three fields there are extremely rare antiquities that have lasted through history bringing their individual stories with them through to this day.
The catalogue begins with a selection of some of the best in ancient weaponry – from bronze age spear heads to armoury used in the Crusades. In fact, lot 73 is a beautiful iron sword with a long-bevelled blade that was most probably used by a well armoured knight in the one of the many battles in the Crusader Period. To fight in the Crusades was seen as a great honour as it was thought to guarantee the soldier a spot in the Christian Afterlife. Therefore, the weaponry a wealthy knight would take with him would be only the best quality in order for it to be fit for this religious mission, and a sword like this lot is no exception. In excellent condition on a custom stand, this sword has an estimate of £6,000 to £9,000.
Travelling further back into ancient history we’re brought to lot 96A, a Greek Hoplite Helmet in the Chalcidian Style. These helmets were made of bronze and were an improvement on the design of earlier pieces. They were lighter in weight and allowed for better vision and hearing for the soldier, this helmet in particular offering further protection with its large cheek guards. With this advanced design, it’s perhaps not surprising that it was these helmets that were used by the forces of Alexander the Great in his many campaigns across the Mediterranean world. Fully XRF tested for authenticity, this complete intact helmet is a rare example and has an estimate of £15,000 to £30,000.
The second section of the catalogue is comprised of rings, necklaces, brooches and other pieces of unique, ancient jewellery, much of it wearable now. A brilliant example of the wearable ancient past is lot 238, a rare late Roman Gold Cameo Pendant that features a gorgeous blue Menorah. With such an intricate design and a bright colour, it is likely this pendant was owned by a successful Jewish Businessperson. Throughout the Roman Empire the Jewish community were crucial in commerce and trade and pieces such as this remind us of the important roles they played. This necklace has an estimated value of £4,000 to £8,000.
Expressing religious or spiritual belief through jewellery was not uncommon in the ancient past, and this was no less true on the North Sea as it was on the Mediterranean. Lot 156 is a Viking Ring in gold that is formed into four intricate coils that represent a mythological serpent in Greek Mythology – Jörmungandr. One of three children of Loki, he was thought to live in the ocean and his escape was associated with the Viking end of the world, Raganork. Therefore, the ring was a powerful symbol, likely worn by a strong Viking warrior who wanted to evoke this strength, it has a current estimate of £2,000 – £3,000.
Finally in the jewellery portion, there is a large range of ancient earrings that are still wearable. Lot 157 are a particularly eye-catching pair, made of gold and pearls they date from the Greek Hellenistic period. Comprising of hoops with long hanging decorations, they still look as impressive as they would have over 2000 years ago when owned and worn by a Greek noblewoman. A conversation piece that would add to any ensemble, they have a current estimate of £2,500 to £4,000.
The last section of the auction includes items from across the Classical world that would have featured heavily in domestic and religious life. The first lot of note is lot 310, an item that would not have been unfamiliar to the owner of the Greek earrings in lot 157. An Appulian krater in a Greek Black Figure Ware style this piece was used at Greek parties and banquets to mix wine and water. On this particular example, its design shows two women at a party, one being served by the other, so it gives us an insight into the exact circumstances in which it would have been used. Fully authenticated with a TL test, it has an estimate of £7,500 to £15,000.
Moving away from Greece, lot 349 is one of an exquisite selection of ancient Egyptian funerary pieces. A wooden mummy mask from the late Dynastic/Ptolemaic period it depicts an idealised version of the deceased with reddish-brown skin, full lips, arching brows and a flaring nose. These masks were crucial in the burial as they were thought to protect the head of the individual on their way to the afterlife and then allow them to breathe, eat and see once they got there. Beautifully intact this example is currently estimated at £3,000 to £5,000.
The Egyptian Mummy Masks are not the only anthropomorphic items in the sale, with a considerable selection of figurines from the ancient world. One of the most stunning of these is lot 336, a large Roman bronze standing figurine of Venus. With one leg raised, the statue has intricate detail in the face and hair. Venus was extremely important to the Romans as she was the mother to Aeneas, their mythical founder, and was the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, prosperity and victory. A figurine such of this therefore could have been found in a religious context such as a temple or in the home as a figure of protection and good fortune. This lot is currently estimated at £6,000 – £9,000.
The items we’ve covered in this article are only a small proportion of the many stunning pieces the auction has to offer. In order to discover the catalogue and register to bid, please visit our website and if you want to learn more about the ancient past follow us on our social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. We provide world-wide in-house shipping and a dedicated team of experts who are there to guide you through the entire auction process. The live bidding for these items will begin at 1pm BST on 4th October 2020 – so we’ll see you there!