Roman Imperial Marble Bust Sells for a Staggering $23.8 Million at Sotheby's
Date: 8 Dec 2010 | | Views: 2543
NEW YORK, NY.- Tonight at Sotheby’s, A Marble Portrait Bust of the Deified Antinous, Roman Imperial, Reign of Hadrian, Circa A.D. 130-138 sold for $23,826,500, many multiples of the high estimate (est. $2/3million).* The bust led the auction of Antiquities from the Collection of the Late Clarence Day, known as one of the finest private collections of Antiquities in the United States. The ‘white glove’ sale achieved a total of $36,769,250, far exceeding the high estimate (overall est. $5.7/8.6 million). Proceeds from the sale will benefit the charitable foundation established by Mr. Day.
The Marble Portrait Bust of the Deified Antinous is the only known Classical representation of Antinous, outside of his coin portraits, to be identified by an inscription. Auctioneer Hugh Hildesley opened the bidding at $900,000 and two clients in the room and one on the phone began to battle. The winning bidder, a European collector, entered the fray at $6.5 million and prevailed against the three existing bidders as well as another client who only joined the competition at $11.2 million. In all, it took more than eleven minutes for the lot to sell and when the hammer finally fell the room broke out in applause.
Other highlights included A Green Porphyry Figure of an Egyptian Royal Sphinx, Roman Imperial, Circa 1st Century A.D, which sold for $5,234,500 after a contest between five bidders (est. $800,000/1.2 million). The piece is a direct Roman emulation, or replica, of a specific ancient Egyptian sphinx of the New Kingdom that was excavated in the 1850s.
An Egyptian Polychrome Limestone Ushabti Of Djehuty-Mose (Tothmes), Overseer Of The Cattle In The Temple Of Amun, 19th Dynasty, 1292-1190 B.C fetched $1,314,500 (est. $200/300,000) while four bidders sought A Greek Bronze Figure Of A Horse, Geometric Period, Circa 8th Century B.C before it sold for $842,000, well over the high estimate (est. $150/250,000).
Clarence Day will be remembered as a devoted philanthropist. An obituary in the Memphis Commercial Appeal mentioned a number of organizations that had received gifts from Mr. Day and The Day Foundation, including the Mayo Clinic Foundation, St. Mary's School, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, The Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University, Boy Scouts, and Rhodes College. Another beneficiary of The Day Foundation is Youth Villages, a Memphis-based charity committed to children’s behavioral and mental health. Mr. Day was also a patron of the arts, his most notable donation being his gift in 1989 of 60 pieces of Greek, Roman, Iranian, Egyptian, Etruscan and Byzantine antiquities to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium