Lot 117. Eight Sarmatian gold phalerae, circa 1st century B.C.-2nd century A.D. Estimate USD 8,000 - USD 12,000. Photo Christie's Images Ltd 2016.

Each: 1 ½ in. (3.7 cm.) diameter

Provenance: Edmund Roy Hofmann (1901-1977), Philadelphia, acquired in Europe, 1930s-1950s; thence by descent.

NoteFor a similar depiction of animals in circular formation, see the gold vessel from the Kobyakov burial mound on the lower Don river in south Russia, fig. 10 in V. Guguev, "The Gold Jewelry Complex from the Kobyakov Pit-Burial" in A. Calinescu, ed., Ancient Jewelry and Archaeology. For gold phalerae of similar construction, each of gold foil over a bronze base with a hook on the reverse, see figs. 11-12, op. cit.

Christie's. Sale 12257. Antiquities, 25 October 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

NDB: A phalera was a gold, silver, or bronze sculpted disk worn on the breastplate during parades by Roman soldiers who had been awarded it as a kind of medal.[1] Roman military units could also be awarded phalerae for distinguished conduct in action. These awards were often mounted on the staffs of the unit's standards. The term also refers to disks crafted by the continental Celts for religious and ornamental purposes, especially those used on equestrian gear. (Wikipedia)