Monday, 9 September 2019

Ancient Greek gold crown kept for decades in a box of old newspapers under bed

A rare gold crown believed to be more than 2,300 years old was discovered last year under a bed in a Somerset cottage. The delicate Greek myrtle wreath, which is thought to date to 300BC, was found in a cardboard box in a modest Taunton property.

Its elderly owner was stunned when he found out the artifact is worth at least £100,000. Stylistically it belongs to a rarefied group of wreaths dateable to the Hellenistic period and the form may indicate that it was made in Northern Greece. It is eight inches across and weighs about 100 grams. It's pure gold and handmade and it would have been hammered out by a goldsmith.
Gold wreaths like the one found were meant to imitate the wreaths of real leaves that were worn in Ancient Greece in religious ceremonies and given as prizes in athletic and artistic contests. They usually depicted branches of laurel, myrtle, oak and olive trees, which were symbolic of concepts such as wisdom, triumph, fertility, peace and virtue.

Due to their fragile nature, they were only worn on special occasions. Many were dedicated to the Gods in sanctuaries or placed in the graves of royal or aristocratic people as funerary offerings.
The current owner's grandfather was a collector who was fascinated by the ancient world. Although his family do not know how or where he acquired it, it is likely he bought it sometime in the 1940s.

A gold wreath similar to this one sold at auction in 2012 for almost £200,000.

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