Auction  August 5, 2017

Head of the Pack: Egyptian Head Achieves Top Lot at Bonhams Antiquities Sale

An Egyptian granite head of a priest was the top lot at Bonhams Antiquities Sale, selling on the phone for £137,000 against an estimate of £60,000-80,000. The sale made a total of £1,284,000.

The Egyptian head belongs to a well-known category of sculptures, often referred to as the 'egg-head' type, named for their depiction of priests of religious cults, instantly recognizable by their shaven heads.

Elsewhere in the sale, a life-size Roman marble male portrait bust sold for £100,000. With its head turned slightly to the right, the face framed with short curly hair and a beard with a neat, bushy mustache, the bust displays a deliberate imitation of the style sported by the ruling family of the early 3rd century A.D.

Bonhams Head of Antiquities, Francesa Hickin commented, "The Egyptian head was the standout in today's auction. The competitive bidding in the room, online and on the phone, shows that these sophisticated artifacts are as highly prized now as they were at the time they were created. This was my first sale as the Head of Bonhams Antiquities department, and I look forward to building on its success in future."

Other highlights include:

  • A Roman marble figure of a young woman sold for £112,500 against an estimate of £40,000-60,000.
  • A Roman marble head of a satyr, circa late 1st-early 2nd century A.D. achieved £52,500.
  • An Egyptian bronze Ptah made £52,500 against an estimate of £20,000-30,000.
  • A European bronze rapier blade made ten times its high estimate, selling for £37,500.

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