Sotheby's Greek marble carving up 80.5% on estimate
A 4th century BC Greek marble carving excelled at Sotheby's New York showroom yesterday
A stunning Greek marble carving exceeded expectations yesterday by achieving an 80.5% increase on estimate in Sotheby's antiquities sale.
The New York auction featured an array of ancient artefacts from Egypt and Asia, but it was Greek items that dominated thebidding. In total, the 79 lots realised a combined $5m, spurred by the estate of legendary New York restaurateur Jan Mitchell, who died in 2009. The carving, originally intended as a Greek grave stele, was discovered in Athens in 1877 and dates back to the 4th century BC. Carved in high relief, it depicts a youthful figure who, according to the inscription, is Onatoridas of Boeotia. The Jan Mitchell relief sold for $902,500 against a pre-sale high estimate of $500,000. Another Greek marble statue sold with impressive results in the Sotheby's auction, achieving a 59.4% increase on its high estimate of $250,000. The figure, a 1st century AD replica of the 4th century BC Dresden Artemis, sold for $398,500. One of the sale's biggest draws was provided by a remarkably well preserved Greek gold olive wreath, also dating to the 4th century BC. Another item from the Jan Mitchell estate, the wreath sold 454% above its $40,000-60,000 estimate at $332,500. Elsewhere, a Roman imperial gold armlet which was formerly exhibited in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, sold for $230,500 against a high estimate of $30,000, achieving a 668% increase. The Sotheby's sale acts as a precursor to Christie's own antiquities auctiontoday (June 8), where it plans to sell the world's oldest artwork for $600,000. Christie's currently holds the world auction record for antiquities, after it sold the Jenkins Venus to Sheik Said al Thani of Qatar for 7.9m in 2002. Be sure to check back with Paul Fraser Collectibles regularly to see the results from Christie's sale.