Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Antiquities at Christie's: Results

The sale of antiquities at Christie's, Rockefeller Plaza today (December 9, 2008) generated US$4,735,100.

The Cobham Hall Hadrian (lot 164) realized $902,500 (well above the upper estimate of $550,000). The (apparent) third century bronze portrait of the first century emperor Vespasian (lot 180) --- once in the possession of Atlantis Antiquities (in 1982) --- appears to have been left unsold.

Vespasian was one of five "highlights" that failed to sell (see Christie's pre-sale press release). Two others were "an early Christian silver patten" (lot 186) and a Bactrian copper alloy seated female figure (lot 45). The latter had once passed through Koutoulakis, Paris (prior to 1989) before entering a French private collection. The fourth was a Late Period to Early Ptolemaic figure of a treasurer from a European private collection (lot 35). The fifth was a marble portrait of Faustina the Younger (lot 166) from a British private collection ("Acquired by the current owner's father in the 1960s").

The only other "highlight" to sell was a Roman marble figure of a woman, 1st-2nd centuries CE, that had passed through the Merrin Gallery in 1989 before entering a New York private collection (lot 159). This sold for $218,500, below the lower estimate of $250,000.

The press release had suggested the anticipated combined sum from antiquities and ancient jewelry would be in the region of US$7.5 million. In fact the combined sum was far less ($4,735,100 and $641,188).

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