NEW YORK.- Sotheby's December 2004 sales of Antiquities brought an outstanding total of $15,152,210, far above the high estimate of $9.4 million*, and the highest total ever for a series of Antiquities sales at Sotheby's. Among the highlights of the two-day series of sales was The Charles Pankow Collection of Egyptian Art, one of the largest private collections of fine Egyptian antiquities to appear on the market in recent memory, which nearly doubled a high estimate of $3.5 million to total $6,961,291. Also featured was a Bronze Portrait Head of Ptolemy of Mauretania, Roman Imperial, Julio-Claudian, circa A.D. 5-20, grandson of Antony and Cleopatra and last known descendant of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which surpassed a high estimate of $500,000 to sell for $960,000. The portrait head was included in the various owners sale of Antiquities which totaled $8,190,920, also above the high estimate of $5.7 million.
Richard M. Keresey, Worldwide Director of Sotheby's Antiquities Department and Florent Heintz, Vice President in Sotheby's Antiquities Department, said, "We are extremely pleased with the results achieved over the past two days. Sotheby's had the pleasure of working with Mr. Pankow over the past several decades to assemble his extraordinary collection and it was particularly gratifying to be the steward of these works again as they were passed on to the next generation of collectors. We were honored to handle the sale of the Bronze Portrait Head of Ptolemy of Mauretania, a truly unique and magical object which deeply affected everyone who came into contact with it. The quality and rarity of the works on offer attracted not only private collectors and dealers, but also institutions, including the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta who were active in both sales, acquiring important Egyptian and Classical works which will undoubtedly enhance their collections. Among the highlights of their purchases were a Marble Portrait Bust of a Woman, Roman Imperial, Reign of Trajan, for $820,000 and an Egyptian Limestone Relief Panel, late 5th/early 6th Dynasty for $84,000."
The Charles Pankow Collection of Egyptian Art - An Egyptian Monumental Granite Figure of the Goddess Sekhmet, Thebes, 18th Dynasty, Reign of Amenhotep III, 1390-1353 B.C., was the highlight of the sale of Charles Pankow's Collection of Egyptian Art, doubling a high estimate of $300,000 to sell for $612,800. All of the top ten lots exceeded their high estimates and among the other outstanding prices achieved was an Egyptian Polychrome Wood Face Mask, 19th /21st Dynasty, 1305-946 B.C., which sold for $372,000 (est. $50/70,000) and an Egyptian Limestone Statue of the Steward Kar and his Wife Khentetsut, 5th Dynasty, 2520-2360 B.C. which sold for $400,000 (est. $250/350,000).
Antiquities - Today's sale of Antiquities was highlighted by the Bronze Portrait Head of Ptolemy of Mauretania, which was sought-after by as many as four determined bidders, both in the room and over the telephone, driving the final price to $960,000. The under-lifesize bust was made in the first two decades of the 1st century AD, when Ptolemy was about 15 years old and co-ruler with his father Juba II. It is not only a prime example of high quality Julio-Claudian bronze-casting and a sensitively rendered portrait, but also a subtle instrument of propaganda, for the artist succeeded in making the young man's facial features and hairstyle resemble those of the emperor Augustus, implying Ptolemy was to rule on behalf of Rome. Traditionally thought to have been found in excavations in the Swedish city of Uppsala, the bust entered the collection of Count Gustav Malcolm Hamilton in the 1860s, and has remained in his family since then. It had been estimated to sell for $300/500,000.
Also among the highlights of today's sale were Cycladic and other Bronze Age marble figures from the Gustave and Franyo Schindler Collection. An exquisite Marble Figure of a Goddess, Early Bronze Age, circa 330-2500 B.C. sparked competitive bidding, driving the final price to $764,000, more than five times the high estimate of $150,000. Also from the Schindler Collection was a Cycladic Marble Figure of a Goddess, early Bronze Age II, 2700-2500 B.C. which surpassed a high estimate of $120,000 to sell for $209,600.