PARIS – Bonhams will hold its first sale of antiquities in France when it offers The Antiquities sale, de Louxor a Rome, voyage d’un passionne at its Paris saleroom, 4 rue de la Paix on Thursday October 7. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Among the highlights is an Etruscan Montefortino-type bronze helmet, circa 4th-3rd century BCE, estimated at €20,000-€30,000.
This single owner 132-lot private collection is of great breadth, ranging from the ancient Middle East to the later Roman Empire. The collector did, however, have a particular focus on ancient arms and armor, and the sale offers a wide selection of helmets, swords, shields, military stools and greaves. These include:
A Persian bronze shield dating to the early 1st millennium BCE. It is estimated at €20,000-€30,000.
A Chalcidian tinned bronze helmet, circa 5th-4th century BCE. The Chalcidian helmet is thought to have originated in the city of Chalcis, in Euboea. Chalcis was already a known hub for bronze production by the 5th century BCE and is also where this type of helmet is first depicted on painted vases. Derived from Corinthian helmets, Chalcidian helmets were lighter in construction and less restrictive to movement. The hinged cheek pieces found in the helmet in the sale were a later innovation, which allowed the helmet to be fitted securely to the soldier’s head. This example is estimated at €15,000-€20,000.
An Urartian bronze helmet, circa 9th-8th century BCE. In the 8th century BCE, Urartu was one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient near east which, at its height, covered an area corresponding to modern-day Armenia and beyond. The helmet is estimated at €8,000-€12,000.
An Urartian bronze sword, circa 8th-7th century BCE. It is estimated at €5,000-€7,000.
An Italic bronze muscle cuirass, Magna Graecia, circa 4th century BCE. It carries an estimate of €2,500-€3,500.
Among the other sale highlights are:
A Gallo-Roman gilt bronze Mercury and infant Dionysus sculpture, circa 1st-2nd century. The piece was produced in France (then Gaul), at the height of the Roman Empire and it epitomizes the craftsmanship of the province. It is estimated at €40,000-€60,000.
An Egyptian painted wood coffin from the third intermediate period, 26th dynasty, circa 1069-525 BCE. The coffin is of typical anthropomorphic form, the large eyes outlined in black, wearing a striped tripartite wig and elaborate broad beaded collar, below which kneels the winged goddess Nut with the Four Sons of Horus standing below. It is estimated at €25,000-€30,000.
Bonhams Head of Antiquities, Francesca Hickin, said: “This is a wonderfully diverse collection reflecting the owner’s broad tastes and intellectual pursuits. It is particularly strong in arms and armor, with many fine examples from across the ancient world, and I anticipate keen interest from collectors in these and the other pieces in the sale. We are excited to be holding our first Antiquities sale on French soil and it seems particularly fitting as the top lot, the Gallo-Roman Bronze Mercury and Infant Dionysus, was produced in France (then Gaul), reputedly discovered in Northern France and has remained in French collections ever since.”
The current rate of exchange is €1 = $1.17.
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