NEW YORK – The Vikings were known for their wanderlust and fearless adventures both at sea and on dry land, but when they weren’t looting and pillaging, they developed other skills that took them at the top of their game. Most notable was their talent for metalwork. Their ability to craft deadly swords, knives, spears and other weapons of war was balanced by the more genteel pursuit of designing and creating fine jewelry of silver and gold. Their handiwork has withstood the test of time and is admired by collectors worldwide.
Jasper52 has curated an outstanding 84-piece selection of Viking, ancient and medieval jewelry for an August 14 online auction through LiveAuctioneers. The array of striking designs dates back to the 8th to 15th centuries and includes rings, sorcerers’ amulets, symbolic pendants, bracelets and earrings.
When Viking artisans worked in gold, they usually opted for high-carat content. An especially nice example in the sale is a Viking warrior’s ring (shown at top of page) dating to the 9th or 10th century A.D. The ring’s coiled, medially ridged design was made by the lost wax process. It is a size 9¾ and its gold overlay has been professionally restored. Presented with a certificate of authenticity, it is estimated at $700-$900.
A fascinating sorcerer’s amulet shaped as a duck’s foot is made of ancient silvered bronze and has a large loop enabling it to be suspended from the included [modern] silver chain. Nicely detailed, it is similar to the three duck’s feet pendants that were buried with an aristocratic woman in Viden, Denmark, who was thought to have been a “seer” or sorceress. The woman’s grave also contained hallucinogenic henbane seeds, a wand, and other objects that might have been construed as mystical. Hence, duck’s feet amulets are often described as sorcerer’s amulets. The extremely rare example offered by Jasper52 carries a $650-$800 estimate.
Of a different style, a Viking silver lunar pendant of opened circular form on a modern sterling silver neck chain dates to circa 870-1050 A.D., in Cambridgeshire, England. Vikings believed this particular form could invoke supernatural guidance during navigation on the high seas. Professionally refurbished with the silver surface restored, the handsome pendant on included [modern] sterling silver chain is expected to sell for $150-$200.
For questions about any item in the Aug. 14 auction, email email@example.com.