LONDON – Apollo Art Auctions, the premier choice for authentic, expertly vetted ancient art and antiquities, takes pleasure in announcing highlights of its June 10-11 gallery auction, with absentee and Internet live bidding available through LiveAuctioneers. In addition to exquisite, professionally vetted cultural art, artifacts and jewelry, the 702-lot auction broadens the buying horizons for collectors of ancient arms and armor with the addition of post-16th-century weaponry.
June 10-11 auction expands timeline for collectors of arms and armor, a fast-growing area of specialty
“We have always included fine examples of ancient militaria in our auctions. That stands to reason, because history’s turning points are largely associated with wars and conflicts. But over the past year we’ve noted an increased interest in militaria and felt it was time to expand the category to incorporate post-16th-century weaponry,” said Dr Ivan Bonchev (PhD, University of Oxford).
In launching the new initiative, the June 10 session has been enhanced to include a broader selection of arms and armaments, perhaps none more distinctive than a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Saxony lobster-tail hussar’s helmet (shown at top of page) with wings. Created around the 17th-18th century AD during the reign of August II the Strong, its design consists of a round skull with six vertical ridges, a horizontal visor with an attached narrow face guard, and the pièce de résistance: a pair of riveted, “fanned” wings adorned with openwork heart shapes. An astonishing survivor, this helmet was held in consecutive European collections and now comes to auction with an estimate of £4,500-£9,000 ($5,555-$11,110).
The time-tested skill and artistry of Viking metalsmiths can be seen in a pair of rare circa-9th-century AD hand-forged silver stirrups. The front and back sides of the strap loops and stirrups are decorated with an interlaced band, and the lower end of each is decorated with an animal head in relief on a medallion, the ends having four different, complex animal depictions in Borre style. The stirrups were previously the property of a London ancient art gallery and before that, two private European collections. Estimate: £6,000-£12,000 ($7,405-$14,810)
The Ancient Romans were also masters of precious metalwork. A double-handled silver skyphos – a vessel used for serving wine at banquets or social gatherings – exhibits a beautifully balanced design and a motif that would have reflected its owner’s taste for understatement and regal elegance. Its auction estimate is £4,800-£9,600 ($5,925-$11,850). A circa-100 AD Roman gold pyxis – a cylindrical, lidded container for precious essences and ointments – symbolizes patrician refinement and luxury. It is embellished with beading and symbols, including geometric patterns and a repousse swastika (ancient symbol of good fortune), that tell a story of ancient wisdom and mysticism. Sometimes a pyxis would be given as a gift, lavish on its own but twice as opulent with a precious object tucked inside as an extra surprise. The auction example is guided by a £3,000-£6,000 ($3,702-$7,405) estimate.
Ancient Roman glass artisans, who laid the foundation for Italy’s modern-day glass tradition, could not be matched in any corner of the Earth. A stunning example from circa 200-300 AD is an iridescent glass amphoriskos (bottle) designed to hold personal perfume or oil for use during rituals. Its neck is adorned with a blue glass ring and a pair of similarly-hued handles. In its day it surely would have been the property of a wealthy individual. In Apollo’s June 11 session, it will be offered with a £2,700-£5,400 ($3,330-$6,665) estimate.
A sumptuous array of ancient jewelry includes many dozens of gorgeous rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, amulets and other adornments. The artistry, originality and integrity of hand-workmanship seen in the pieces to be auctioned equals or surpasses anything created by modern artisans. A top treasure in Apollo Art Auctions’ jewel box is a rare medieval finger ring of rich gold intricately engraved within its rectangular border with a haloed head of Christ (or a saint) holding the Gospels. Dating to circa 1400-1500 AD, this iconographic ring’s distinguished provenance includes the collection of London barrister and lifelong antiquities aficionado Alison Barker (1951-2021). It will convey to its new owner with a detailed report from Striptwist Ltd. Estimate: £6,000-£12,000 ($7,405-$14,810)
The wonderful selection of pottery includes an Attic pottery kylix with a decorative black-figure band depicting swans and bovines. Made circa 540-525 BC, it exhibits similarities to an example held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Estimate: £4,500-£9,000 ($5,555-$11,110).
Another stellar entry is a Timurid (Persianate Turco-Mongol Empire) silver-inlaid bronze plate dating to the early 14th century AD. Its recess (or well) is adorned with the image of a seated figure flanked by birds, and it is encircled by a decorative band depicting various animals in motion. Estimate: £12,000-£24,000 ($14,810-$25,620)
The Asian selection continues with a Gandharan schist torso of an emaciated Siddhartha Gautama, founder of Buddhism, who endured extreme self-deprivation during his six-year search for enlightenment. This profoundly striking artwork was previously in a private London collection and, sometime between 2000 and 2005, was acquired from an old Japanese collection. Estimate: £3,900-£7,800 ($4,815-$9,630)
Certainly worthy of note, a curious circa 18th- to 19th-century AD Indian brass astrolabe is both a complex and fascinating tool. It is comprised of a circular frame with a flaring finial and seven discs that, together, would have aided astronomers in calculating the positions and altitudes of celestial bodies while also having the capability to determine latitude on land or calm seas. Its auction estimate is £6,000-£12,000 ($7,405-$14,810).
Apollo Art Auctions’ spacious gallery is located at 25 Bury Place in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury district, opposite The British Museum. Both sessions of their June 10-11, 2023 auction will commence at 8 a.m. US Eastern Time/1 p.m. 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. No import charges apply to most antiquities entering the USA. For questions about any item in the sale or to discuss consigning to a future Apollo auction, please call the London gallery on +44 7424 994167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Online: www.apolloauctions.com
Today’s approximate rate of exchange: £1 = US$1.23
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