London's premier antiquities dealer, Pax Romana, to host Aug. 10 auction of cultural art, relics
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London's premier antiquities dealer, Pax Romana, to host Aug. 10 auction of cultural art, relics
Greek Corinthian bronze helmet belonging to Spartan warrior. Wide nose guard and broad cheek pieces, circa 600 BC. Estimate £30,000-£50,000 ($37,500-$62,250). Image courtesy of Pax Romana.

LONDON.- To collectors of ancient art and numismatics, scholarship and provenance are the two most important points to consider before making a purchase. It is no coincidence that those same criteria are the cornerstones of Pax Romana, Britain’s premier dealers and auctioneers of antiquities and coins.

Located in central London in a two-story gallery directly opposite the venerable British Museum, Pax Romana specializes in the appraisal, authentication and sale of genuine artifacts from the world’s greatest cultures. The company reserves its finest pieces for its auctions, the next of which will be conducted on Saturday, August 10. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available worldwide through LiveAuctioneers.

“We are not simply the ‘middle man’ auction house,” explained Pax Romana director Dr. Ivan Bonchev (PhD University of Oxford), an art connoisseur with years of experience and training in his chosen field. “Our mission is to promote the importance of ancient art and coins, encouraging collectors, investors and history enthusiasts to acquire high-quality art and enjoy the thrill of possessing historical artifacts.”

That mission is amply fulfilled by the selection Dr. Bonchev has chosen for the August 10 auction. There are 601 lots of expertly curated art, relics, coins and jewellery from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; the Near and Far East; and the Holy Land, as well as marvelous discoveries from the Bronze Age and periods when Viking/Norse cultures flourished. The catalogue is divided into five distinct sections: Ancient Jewellery, Ancient Coins, Classical Antiquities, Ancient Weaponry, and Asian Antiquities.

One of the sale’s top highlights is a Greek Corinthian bronze helmet that originally would have been a critical form of protection for a Spartan warrior. Dating to circa 600 BC, the helmet has curvilinear eyeholes that taper to a point, a wide nose guard and broad cheek pieces that leave a vertical opening for the mouth. The property of a London art expert and formerly in an old British collection, it is estimated at £30,000-£50,000 ($37,500-$62,250). From approximately the same timeframe, an extremely rare Greek terracotta figure of Demeter and Persephone, circa 500-400 BC, is offered with its original TL test certificate from Ralf Kotalla. Estimate: £3,000-£4,000 ($3,750-$5,000)

A substantial selection of Asian art includes several treasures of the ancient kingdom of Gandhara (present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan). “Alexander the Great conquered Gandhara in 300 BC, and the Indo-Greek kings who followed him introduced classical traditions that would influence Gandhara art for the next seven centuries,” Dr. Bonchev noted. Those influences are reflected in a substantial stucco head from a monumental statue, modeled in classical Hellenistic style, complete with halo and original pigments, estimate £10,000-£15,000 ($12,500-$18,675); and a schist panel depicting the muscular god Atlas in a seated pose, estimated at £2,000-£3,000 ($2,500-$3,750). Both date to circa 200 AD. Executed in the traditional Greco-Buddhist tradition, a massive stucco bust of a female figure wearing an ornate headdress and with curly Mediterranean hair and a topknot, circa 400 AD, is expected to make £1,000-£2,000 ($1,245-$2,500).

Over the past several years – perhaps due to the global fascination with Game of Thrones – many new and enthusiastic collectors have discovered Viking artifacts. During their time, Viking metalsmiths were renowned for their ability to produce unfailingly reliable arms and armaments. Pax Romana will present several exceptional examples in their August 10 auction, including a hand-forged iron sword with three-lobe pommel and decorated guard, mid-10th century AD; and a Medieval four-plate iron helmet with intact nose guard, circa 800-1100 AD. Each of these rare and coveted pieces carries a £10,000-£15,000 ($12,500-$18,675) estimate.

Anther popular category is wearable European jewellery, especially those items created during the Medieval and Post-Medieval periods. A rare and extremely beautiful British Medieval (circa 1400 AD) gold ring is set with green emeralds and a central amethyst set in an openwork floral-shape bezel. The ring is of a type that would have been worn only by the highest-status aristocratic ladies, usually from the King’s court. Its estimate is £5,000-£8,000 ($6,225-$9,960). A gold fede/betrothal ring shaped as clasped hands, from the Late Medieval/Tudor period (circa 1500 AD), comes to auction with a £2,000-£3,000 ($2,500-$3,750) estimate.

A third ring worthy of special mention is an extremely rare 17th/18th-century Post Medieval falconry ring bearing the crest of “De Gaulle.” It is either French or British made and may have a connection to the Charles de Gaulle family of France. Estimate: £3,000-£5,000 ($3,750-$6,225)

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