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Ancient ring prompts bidding battle, before gavel falls at $152K

The top-selling lot of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries May 21-22 auction, a 1st century BC, Greek yellow gold and emerald ring realized more than five times its high estimate.
Greek emerald gold ring

Rare Greek, circa 1st Century BC, 22K or 24K Yellow Gold and Emerald Ring, top lot of the sale. (All photos courtesy Thomaston Place Auction Galleries)

THOMASTON, Maine — A circa 100 BC Greek gold and cabochon emerald ring attracted frenzied bidding at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ Spring Fine Art & Antiques Auction on May 21 & 22, until one participant finally caught the prize for $152,100. This important antiquity came from the New York Estate of Anne Bigelow Stern, daughter of Lucie Bigelow Rosen and Walter Tower Rosen, passionate early 20th Century collectors and the founders of the Caramoor Music Festival.

Another piece of ancient jewelry from the Stern Estate, a necklace composed of 13 solid gold Byzantine era coins, also created excitement, as competing bidders pushed it to a $14,040 selling price. All listed final sales include the 17% buyer's premium.

Many Asian artifacts also fared well in the sale. A Qing Dynasty cauldron form two-handled open bronze censer with Kangxi seal mark created excitement when bidding reached a final selling price of $70,200. A collection of bronze sculpture, including many depictions of Buddha, was presented. A bronze seated scholar in deep thought led the group, bringing $14,040; and a gilded Buddha in meditation set with semi-precious stones sold for $4972.50. An ornate, expertly cast bronze Hindu temple bell shattered its $600 to $800 estimate and brought $4,914.

Among the leading decorative arts items were: a monumental, circa 1900 Daum Nancy cameo glass stalk vase that sold for $14,040; a 259-piece set of Herend porcelain in the Rothschild Bird pattern that fetched $12,870; a 177-piece set of Georg Jensen sterling flatware in the Acorn pattern that achieved $12,870; and a circa 1800 22-piece Old Paris porcelain dessert set hand painted by Jean Nepomucene Hermann Nast that brought $11,700. A 19th Century French Louis XIV style rosewood vitrine with ormolu mounts rocketed past its $2,000 to $3,000 presale estimate to reach a selling price of $11,115.

Leading the folk and marine art group were two wonderful ship paintings, one by Joseph Smith (NY/NJ, 1798-1876) of the schooner “J.W. Seaver” that sold for $17,550, and the other, “The Black Ball Line ‘Great Western’ in the Approaches to New York” by Joseph Stobart (MA/FL, 1929- ) that brought $12,870. A rare circa 1905 running cat carousel figure fetched $9,945 and a Napoleonic War era cased prisoner of war model of a British man-o-war reached $9,360. Bidder interest in two fine California Native American baskets drove final selling prices well above presale estimates, a circa 1900 Yokuts coiled ‘Friendship’ basket brought $6,435 (est. $1,000-2,000) and a Pomo coil built bowl sold for $2,691 (est. $800-1,200).

Byzantine necklace

A selection of 12 solid gold period Byzantine Coins (Solidus, all Constantinople) formed as a necklace ca 1920, and finished at more than $12,000.

There were also several high flying American historical artifact items in the sale. A rare Revolutionary War broadside, “A Poem on the Bloody Engagement that was fought on Bunker’s Hill in Charlestown New England”, created excitement when bidders battled until a selling price of $17,550 was reached. A Civil War era 12-star Union field flag brought $9,945; a marble bust of George Washington, possibly after a work by Horatio Greenough (MA/Italy, 1805-1852), achieved $8,775; a collection of 52 Maine Native American Red Paint People artifacts fetched $7,605; and a circa 1863 Civil War field marching drum by Rogers sold for $7,605.

A complete list of auction results can be found at The next Thomaston Place Auction Galleries fine art and antique feature auction will take place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, August 27, 28 & 29.

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