. October 5, 2007

With gold at a 28-year high – $755 an ounce this week – Bonhams Antiquities Sale on October 26 in New Bond Street takes on added interest as the sale features an array of stunning ancient gold jewellery.

The value and fascination that gold holds is an ancient one, almost as old as the history of man. This is evident in the ancient Roman, Bactrian, Scythian, and Persian jewellery which was both decorative as well as in some case used as currency.

In a week of volatile stock markets and gloom and doom from the housing market the New York Mercantile Exchange saw gold reach the highest level seen in nearly 28 years. The record all-time high for gold, set in January 1980 stands at $875.

Chantelle Rountree, Head of Antiquities at Bonhams comments: ”If you love beautiful ancient things, the jewellery in this sale is worth seeing. It is a very strong cross section of Ancient Near East work through to our own Anglo-Saxon heritage. The current strength of the gold price simply amplifies the old truth that gold holds its value over time. And of course the intrinsic artistic merit of these pieces with their timeless beauty makes them highly collectable.”

The sale includes lot 113, a breathtaking Archaemenid gold and cloisonné bracelet circa 5th-4th Century B.C. This 2500 year old bracelet featuring a pretty brightly coloured duck atop a gold hoop, is estimated to attract bids in the region of £30,000 to £50,000.

There is also a wonderful collection of Byzantine-Langobardic gold strap ends and buckles dating from 6th-7th Century A.D., estimated to make £8,000 to £10,000.

Gold bangles with horse and calf heads at each end from the 4th and 5th Century B.C. – Achaemenid and Scythian – should make an estimated £15,000 to £20,000 and £25,000 to £35,000 respectively.

One piece that stands out even in this distinguished company is Lot 102 a Roman gold mounted agate cameo that features a finely engraved scene of Psyche reclining asleep under a tree while a youthful naked Eros stands on a rock playing a double-flute. The piece made in the 3rd Century AD is estimated to fetch between £7,000 and £9,000.

There are many fine Roman and Greek gold earrings from the 1st and 2nd Century A.D. with estimates of around £600 to £1,500.

Gold from a more recent but no less fascinating era is the Anglo-Saxon gold jewellery collection from the deceased estate of Brian North Lee Esq. (1936 – 2007), which offers some startlingly striking workmanship from the 6th and 7th Centuries A.D. The collection Lot 268 to 278 includes a gold and garnet pendant estimated to make £3,000 to £5,000.

Category: Auction News

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