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Courtesy Hindman.

CHICAGO, IL.- Step into a cabinet of curiosities this November 10th with Hindman’s Ancient Art & Natural History: A Cabinet of Curiosities auction. Highlighting the auction is a rare and completely preserved iridescent ammonite fossil from 75 million years ago. Fast forwarding in history to another monumental moment, the auction concludes with the manual used by NASA to put a man on the moon in 1966. Presented alongside these items are works from ancient civilizations that reveal a better understanding of our shared history through material culture. This 200-lot auction is the ideal opportunity for collectors to develop their own “cabinet of curiosities.”

Awe-Inspiring Fossils & Meteorites

A lunar meteorite slice, circa 4.6 billion years ago (lot 1; estimate: $5,000-8,000) will lead the sale and natural history offering.

“Lunar meteorites are considered the rarest substance on Earth and date back to the birth of our solar system. To be able to physically offer a piece of the moon is thrilling,” commented Hindman’s Director and Senior Specialist for Antiquities Jacob Coley. “A treasure that is truly out of this world.”

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Lot 1. A Meteorite Slice, Imilac Pallasite, Circa 4.6 billion years ago. Diameter 2 inches (5.1 cm); Weight 48 grams. Estimate: $5,000-8,000. Courtesy Hindman.

Provenance: Recovered from the Atacama Desert, Chile.

Note: Formed at the mantle-core boundary of an asteroid this 'Space Gem' dates to the birth of our solar system and is one of the most exquisite type of meteorites known.

Following, a vibrantly colored, iridescent ammonite fossil (lot 5; estimate: $100,000-120,000), recognized around the world due to its rarity and striking appearance, will be offered. From the late Cretaceous period, circa 75 million years ago, this fossil stands out with its opalescent exterior and constantly shifting colors, changing with the light from vivid reds to emerald greens, to flickers of orange and gold, purples and brilliant blues. This effect is a natural result of the fossilization process, a unique phenomenon only found on ammonites recovered from single location in Canada.

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Lot 5: A Large Iridescent Ammonite Fossil (Placenticeras costatum), Late Cretaceous Period, Circa 75 million years ago. Height 16 1/4 (41.3 cm). Estimate: $100,000-120,000Courtesy Hindman.

Provenance: Discovered in the Blood Reserve, Alberta, Canada.
Legally exported under Alberta Canada Cultural Property.
(Export Permit 7012-21-11-25-353).

Note: A magnificent example of one of the most spectacular fossils. An extremely fine and intensely vibrant ammonite, the surface of this long extinct marine creature has transformed over millennia into a dazzling, iridescent gemstone. Its colors constantly shift with the light from vivid reds to emerald greens, to flickers of orange and gold, purples, and brilliant blues. This stunning effect is a natural result of the fossilization process, a unique phenomenon only found on ammonites recovered from one location in Canada. Most fossils of this kind are heavily restored, or pastiches, and their color is artificially enhanced with varnishes. This is a completely preserved, natural piece with its original surface. 

Mankind’s Mark on the Planet: Kraters & Vessels

Following the presentation of early geological material, highlights will include historically significant Greco-Roman vessels. A monumental Attic black-figured column-krater, circa 525-475 B.C (lot 77; estimate: $30,000-50,000) is an incredible display of artistry. Depicting a chariot race, one of the most prestigious events at all the Panhellenic games held in Greece, this column-crater must have pleased the symposiasts whose wine was mixed in it.

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Lot 77. An Attic Black-Figured Column-Krater, Circa 525-475 B.C.. Height 19 inches (48.3 cm). Estimate: $30,000-50,000Courtesy Hindman.

Provenance: Private Collection (Mr. B.), Switzerland, acquired between 1960 and 1980.
Bonhams, London, Antiquities, 30 October 2003, Lot 201.
Jean-David Cahn Auction, Basel, Auktion 5, 23 September 2005, Lot 104.
Royal Athena Galleries, New York, January 2006 (Art of the Ancient World, Vol. XVII, no. 103, p. 57).
Property from a Southern Collector. 

Published: Beazley Archive Pottery Database no. 9001999.

Note: The chariot race was the most prestigious event at all the Panhellenic games held in Greece. Only the wealthiest of families could afford the four-horse chariot (quadriga) and professional driver needed to enter the competition. This exceptionally large column-krater with depictions of chariots must have pleased the symposiasts whose wine was mixed in it.

The subject of the principal side is a chariot procession with Athena standing in the box of a quadriga. The panel is ennobled with three additional Greek gods: Apollo and his lyre, Hermes with his winged shoes (petasos), and Artemis with a young stag at her side. The two male figures on the reverse side comprise a different kind of chariot procession, that of the hunt. Both men are shown bearded and gripping spears. The first man mounts a quadriga, readying for departure while the second man looks back, and a molossian hound waits patiently to lead the way forward. Across the thick flat rim, a pride of lions and passel of wild boar faceoff between two large palmettes. 

Striking Egyptian & Roman Sculptures & Reliefs

Egyptian and Roman sculptures, portrait heads and reliefs will round out a spectacular offering. Standout Egyptian offerings feature a sandstone relief of a river god (lot 64; estimate: $15,000-25,000), and a limestone relief illustrating preparation for the eternal afterlife (lot 59; estimate: $10,000-15,000). Sculptures expected to see competitive bidding include a bronze Isis and Horus (lot 51; estimate: $12,000 - 18,000) and a Greywacke bust of Isis-Hathor (lot 52; estimate: $12,000-18,000).

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Lot 64. An Egyptian Sandstone Relief of a River God, Ptolemaic Period, 304-30 B.C. Height 15 3/4 inches (40 cm). Estimate: $15,000-25,000. Courtesy Hindman.

Provenance: Private Collection (D.V.), Basel.
Jean-David Cahn Auction, Basel, Auktion 4, 19 October 2002, Lot 526.
Royal Athena Galleries, New York, January 2004 (Art of the Ancient World, Vol. XV, no. 137, pg. 52).

Property from a Midwest Private Collection.

Note: Depicted here is the Nile God Hapi wearing a crown incorporating papyrus and lotus. In ancient Egypt, Hapi personified the annual inundation of the Nile River. The arrival of fertile soil by-way-of the flood was imperative for growing crops to sustain the economy and livelihood of the ancient Egyptians. For that reason, Hapi was associated with fertility and illustrated as having both male and female bodily attributes, as can be seen on this relief.

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Lot 59. An Egyptian Limestone Relief Depicting Butchers, Old Kingdom, 5th-6th Dynasty, 2465-2150 B.C. Width 26 inches (66 cm). Estimate: $10,000-15,000. Courtesy Hindman.

Property from the Collection of Dr. David Girgenti, Rockford, Illinois.

Provenance: Harold and Mary Moore, New Jersey; thence by descent to Dr. Harold F. Moore (1947-2015), New York. 
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 1983. 

Note: To the uninitiated, Egyptian art may seem both hieratic and static. However, an orderly and gradual evolution is discernable in the artistic achievements of this culture. The most copied style of ancient Egyptian art comes from the Old Kingdom. Much the way Europe looked to the art of ancient Greece as the embodiment of the ideal, so too did later dynasties look to the 'Age of the Pyramid Builders' for inspiration and convention.

This limestone relief from the Old Kingdom was once colorfully painted and adorned the walls of a nobleman's tomb. The two hieroglyphic captions at the top can be understood individually as: "tying up a young oryx (antelope)" and "butchering meat" or together as "bind the antelope for a choice cut". The butchery scene is clearly carved according to fixed conventions. Each figure is in the typical "frontality" style with their heads forward facing and all set in an exact median line. Slightly unusual is the figure of the man in the center, who holds the antelope's leg, in true profile. The slight difference in tradition could be explained by the hand of a provincial artist working during the early part of the 6th Dynasty. This period saw the weakening of central government in favor of provincial lords which would eventually break up the kingdom and leave Egypt to anarchy.

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Lot 51. An Egyptian Bronze Isis and Horus, Late Period, 25th-26th Dynasty, 664-343 B.C. Height 8 1/16 inches (20.5 cm). Estimate: $12,000 - 18,000. Courtesy Hindman.

Provenance: Art Market, Virginia, 1970s. [by repute]
Mr. Richard Menendez, San Francisco, acquired in the 1990s.

Note: Solid cast and well modelled, this bronze statue portrays a seated Isis nursing the child-god Horus. Her face is serene with a gentle smile and almond shaped eyes inlaid with silver. She offers her left breast with one arm while supporting Horus with the other. This tender pose became most common during the Late Period when Isis was primarily known as the mother of Horus and worshipped for protection of children from dangerous animals and evil spirits.

For a similar bronze, see M. Hill, ed., Gifts for the Gods: Images from Egyptian Temples, New York, 2007, pp.149-151.

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Lot 52. An Egyptian Greywacke Bust of Isis-Hathor, Late Period, 26th Dynasty, 664-525 B.C. Height 4 11/32 inches (11 cm) Estimate: $12,000-18,000Courtesy Hindman.

Provenance: Private Collection, Belgium.
Bigler Fine Arts (Dr. Robert Bigler), Rüschlikon and Zurich.
Private Collection (D. Vollen), Basel; acquired from the above 6 November 2007.
Art Loss Register no. S00111297.

Note: The posterior pillar is elegantly engraved with a vertical hieroglyphic inscription, reading: “Speech of the great Isis, the mother of God, who gives life to (the) head of the domains and great on diadems/crowns […]." Dr. Bigler attributed the bust to a workshop in the ancient Egyptian city of Sais, located in the Western Nile Delta, based on the style and wording of the inscription.

A robust offering of Roman marble statues and portrait heads will be highlighted by a sculpture of Pan Holding a Panpipe, circa 30 B.C.-10 A.D. (lot 111; estimate: 25,000-35,000) and a marble torso of a military officer, circa 2nd century A.D (lot 112; estimate: $20,000-30,000).

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Lot 111. A Roman Marble Statue of Pan Holding Pipes, Circa 30 B.C.-10 A.D. Height 32 1/2 inches (82.6 cm)Estimate: 25,000-35,000Courtesy Hindman.

Provenance: Private Collection, France.
Private Collection, Belgium, acquired in the 1950s.
Charles Ede, London, 2007 (Greek and Roman Sculpture in Stone, no. 12, Inv. no. 7665).
Sotheby's, New York, Egyptian, Classical & Western Asiatic Antiquities, 5 June 2013, Lot 38.
Art Loss Register nos. S00008131, S00035928, S00062131 & S00075655.
[accompanied with copy of a French Ministry of Culture export certificate, no. 033084]

Exhibited: Basel Ancient Art Fair (BAAF), 2-7 November 2007.

Note: For comparative examples based on the Greek original of the 4th Century B.C., see L. Budde and R. Nicholls, A Catalogue of the Greek and Roman Sculpture in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Cambridge, 1967, p. 26-27, pl. II, no. 49 and H. Stuart Jones, A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculptures. The Sculptures of the Museo Capitolino, Oxford, 1912, p. 69f, pl. 13, no. 18.

 

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Lot 112. A Roman Marble Torso of a Military Officer, Circa 2nd Century A.D. Height 28 inches (71.2 cm). Estimate: $20,000-30,000Courtesy Hindman.

Property from a New York Collection. 

ProvenanceGorny & Mosch, Munich, Auktion 137, 15 December 2004, Lot 144.
Fortuna Fine Art, Ltd., New York, 2009 (After Twenty Years, p. 12, no. 15).
Acquired by the present owner from the above, prior to 12 May 2011.

Note: This figure is seen wearing a pair of trousers, a long tunic, and a leather cuirass. Pinned to his right shoulder is a cloak draped across the front of his body. This unique combination of garments is seen in depictions of high-ranking soldiers on the historical reliefs from the Trajanic and Antonine periods.