Friday, 22 September 2023

Claudius aureus from Pompeii brings £18k

A beautifully preserved Roman aureus celebrating Emperor Claudius’s conquest of Britain has sold at auction for £18,000 after being discovered from the ashes of Pompeii. The gold aureus celebrating the conquest in AD 43 was uncovered among the ruins of a suburb five km north of the archaeological site in southern Italy’s Campania region. The coin was discovered as part of a horde alongside the body of a servant in the wine-pressing room of the Villa della Pisanella in the suburbs of the town of Boscoréale. Many coins from Pompeii are toned with a distinctive reddish hue.
The coin is estimated to have been worth 2 months wages for the average Roman soldier. One face of the coin depicts the triumphal arch of Claudius on the Via Flaminia road out of Rome, topped by an equestrian statue of Emperor Claudius flanked by British battle shields and inscribed DE [VICTIS] BRITANN[IS] - ‘Triumph over the Britons’. Claudius launched the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43. This coin was struck AD 46-47 in Rome.

Royal Germanic grave

Remains of 11 animals were found, including cattle, horses and dogs. The grave of a Germanic lord who lived 1,500 years ago was unearthed in Saxony-Anhalt, near Brück in 2020. Builders were clearing land for a new chicken farm and found a royal cemetery. Ashes may be inside a bronze cauldron in the central tomb, which is around 13 feet by 13 feet. The cauldron is the focal point of the mounded tomb, and is surrounded by six women buried in a radial alignment from the pot, like the hands of a clock.
A glass bowl was among the objects found.
Vestment clasps.The site dates from between AD480 and AD530, a turbulent period following the fall of the Roman Empire which saw many Germanic tribes invade territories which were no longer under Roman protection. A gold coin found at the site features Eastern Roman emperor Zeno. It dates to around 480.

Thursday, 21 September 2023

Hawaiian Kona-style statue of the god of war Ku-ka’ili-moku - $7.5m

Sold in 2017 at Christie’s in ParisHawaiian figurative sculptures are incredibly rare. Kamehameha I associated himself with the war god Ku-ka’ili-moku — the ‘land snatcher’ or ‘island eater’. This example was made circa 1780-1820 from the Metrosideros, a tree found in the high mountains of Hawaii. The figures that are known are all in museums. The statue made $7.5m blowing past it's $3.5m estimate.
Also sold is a Uli figure, which is a type of wooden statue carved only in the villages of New Ireland in Papua New Guinea. $3.4m. Tribal art is rising in value and has done so for many years. The reason is extreme rarity. There are more museums, but fewer pieces.

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Graffiti changes history of Pompeii

Graffiti jotted down just a few days before Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD proves it was in October, instead of August as was thought.Delicate charcoal writing on the wall of a house that was under renovations in the year of the eruption, states that someone “indulged too much in food here on the sixteenth day before the kalends of November” meaning 17 October.
Other discoveries were made in the Regio V area — mosaics and frescoes.

Tuesday, 19 September 2023

The Spanish doubloon

In the New World, Spanish gold coins were minted in one, two, four, and eight escudo denominations. The two-escudo piece was called a 'pistole' with the large eight-escudo coin called a 'quadruple pistole.' English colonists would come to call it the Spanish doubloon. Tens of millions of Spanish cob and milled gold coins circulated throughout Europe. Spanish gold was regularly accepted in the early United Sates and continued to be minted in the New World until 1821. It was the first literally world-wide gold trade coin and circulated for over three hundred years until the economic and military decline of Spain forced it's replacement.
The Spanish dollar, also known as the piece of eight is a silver coin of approximately 38 mm (1.5 in) diameter worth eight Spanish reales. It was minted in the Spanish Empire following a monetary reform in 1497.
A silver Spanish dollar minted in Mexico City c. 1650

Camptosaurus Barry for sale

A Camptosaurus known as Barry will go under the hammer in Paris next month. The dinosaur dates from the late Jurassic period some 150 mya. Its skeleton, 2.10 metres tall and 5 metres long, is expected to fetch up to €1.2m. The dinosaur was discovered in the 1990s in Wyoming.

Sunday, 17 September 2023

Sobek, the crocodile god

Egyptians had a complex relationship with the Nile’s crocodiles. The crocodile god Sobek first appeared in the Old Kingdom as the son of Neith with the epithet “The Rager”. According to some myths his father was Set, the god of thunder and chaos, but he also closely association with Horus.

Egyptions bred, raised, and mummified millions of baby crocs. Once hatched, the baby crocodiles would reside in shallow basins before being sacrificed, mummified and then sold to worshipers as votive dedications.

Sobek and his affiliated reptilian deities had their headquarters in the Faiyum, an oasis in Upper Egypt. It was thought that Sobek could protect the Pharaoh from dark magic.
During the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasties, the cult of Sobek was given particular prominence and a number of rulers incorporated him in their coronation names, including the first fully attested female pharaoh – Sobekneferu.

Saturday, 16 September 2023

Ancient coins

Claudius II, the “Roman Savior”, led the revival of the Roman Empire during the great struggle of the third century. Claudius was hailed as a hero for his success in battle but he died just two years into his reign. His coins are rare. The coin, graded NGC MS 5/5 – 3/5, sold for $94,000 in 2017.
The Senate voted him the title of Gothicus (conqueror of the Goths). But Claudius never lived to enjoy his triumph, he contracted the plague and died in the summer of AD 270.
The 1684 Charles II Gold 5 Guineas is in Mint State. Graded MS61 by PCGS, one of just two Mint State pieces known, $82,250.

A 1831 William IV Proof Crown, graded PR64 Cameo by NGC. It brought $51,700.
Bavaria: 1640 Maximillian I Gold 5 Ducat, MS64 NGC – realized $49,350.

Japan – 1870 Meiji Year 3 Gold 20 Yen, AU55 NGC – $41,125.

Friday, 15 September 2023

Treasures of Thrace

Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe, centered on the borders of Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey. In antiquity it was also referred to as Europe, prior to the term describing the whole continent. Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east. It comprises southeastern Bulgaria, northeastern Greece, and part of Turkey. The biggest part of Thrace is part of present day Bulgaria. Thracians were divided into many tribal groups. The region was controlled by the Persian Empire at its greatest extent, and Thracian soldiers were known to be used in the Persian armies. 
Thracians were known to accompany Alexander the Great when he crossed the Hellespont.
Some Thracian treasures were part of a major exhibition at the Louvre Museum in Paris in 2015. The exhibition brought together more than 1,600 objects from 17 Bulgarian and international museums including the Louvre and the Prado Museum, giving visitors an opportunity to see in one place some of the most significant Thracian artifacts that have ever been discovered.
One of the exhibition highlights is the bronze head of Seuthes III.

Hilt with gold inlay of Seuthes III's sword. ca. 331 BC.
The Panagyuriste gold treasure was excavated in 1949 and consists of gold drinking vessels that are elaborately decorated. The metalwork showcases the artistic skills of the Thracians.

Rare gold hemidrachm from Thasos, Thracian islands.
Gold and silver greave (knee-piece)