Sotheby’s Upcoming Auction – Egyptian, Classical, and Western Asiatic Antiquities

The Antiquities auction is taking place at Sotheby’s New York on 12 December 2014. Classical and Egyptian sculpture is the strength of this upcoming auction; but its 49 lots includes a breadth of objects: a mummy mask, figurines, jewelry, krater and a relief panel, among other items.

The Egyptian polychrome cartonnage mummy mask (19th/21st dynasty, 1305-946 B.C.) is one noteworthy item.  It comes from a French collection with an estimate of $6,000-9,000 USD.  Ancient Egyptians mummified dead bodies, and the mask was an important part of the mummy process.  Instead of a mimicked image of the deceased, the facial features reflect a projected image for the afterlife.  Furthermore, the cartonnage material consists of layers of linen coated with plaster.  A more in-tact example of a mummy-mask is that of The British Museum in London: a late first century B.C. to early first century A.D. mask from Abydos, Egypt (Greco-Roman period).

There are also several pieces of jewelry in this auction worth highlighting.  An Egyptian gold or electrum ring (18th dynasty, reign of Akhenaten, circa 1353-1336 B.C.) previously owned by Jack Ogden in London, maintains an estimate of $30,000-50,000 USD.  The oval bezel is engraved with an image of King Akhenaten.  A comparative piece of jewelry comes from a June 2013 Sotheby’s New York sale.  An Egyptian gold and steatite scarab swivel ring (early 18th dynasty; 1540-1400 B.C.) sold for $16,250 USD (hammer price with buyer’s premium).

There is also a gold and emerald necklace (probably Egypt, late Roman or early Byzantine, circa third or fourth century A.D) with an estimate of $6,000-9,000 USD included in the upcoming auction.  The necklace includes a plaited wire chain, a penannular pendant, an emerald bead attached with gold wire and a circular clasp.

Sotheby’s June 2014 Egyptian, Classical, and Western Asiatic Antiquities auction sold 95 percent of the lots, bringing in $7.95 million USD.  Indeed, the upcoming December auction also holds promise.  In addition to the aforementioned items, the Roman marble head of the goddess, Artemis, a Hellenistic marble figure of Aphrodite and a Greek red-figure calyx krater are a few other highlights of this upcoming auction.