Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bonhams: Gold Wreath Unsold

I have already commented on the  Hellenistic Gold Wreath that was the motif for yesterday's sale of antiquities at Bonhams.

The wreath was the 'motif' for the sale and featured in the press release: "Glory that was Greece Seen in Golden Wreath and Greek Vases at Bonhams".
A delicate wreath made of fine gold oak leaves with acorns, of the type worn by Alexander the Great's father, Philip II of Macedon, is one of the highlights of Bonhams sale of Antiquities on April 28 in New Bond Street.
This stunning artefact, estimate £100,000-120,000, may once have graced the head of a ruler or dignitary over 2,000 years ago. "The fact that this delicate collection of fine gold leaves and acorns formed into a wreath has survived the centuries is almost miraculous," says Madeleine Perridge, Antiquities Specialist at Bonhams. Previously in a private collection since the 1930s, "it is a beautiful example of a type that is rare to the market."

The collecting history was provided in the catalogue entry for lot 240:
Private Swiss collection acquired between the 1930s-60s.
Acquired by the present owner at Sotheby's London, July 11th, 1988, lot 83.
It should be pointed out that it is unlikely that Philip II was buried in Tomb II at Vergina (see here).

Why was this stunning artefact left unsold? And in which anonymous private Swiss collection did this wreath reside between the 1930s and 1960s?

Image
Clip from Bonhams press release.

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