Philip the Arab basalt head rises 164% against estimate

A Roman basalt head of the emperor Philip the Arab sold for $317,000 at Christie's Antiquities sale in New York on December 13 - up 164.1% on a $120,000 estimate.

Philip reigned from AD 244-249 and is regarded as one of the more lenient rulers of the Roman Empire during a particularly turbulent period, which was marked by constant assassinations and challenges to the throne.

Philip the Arab basalt head
Basalt is found in large quantities in the area around Philip's birthplace

He was later murdered by his successor, the emperor Decius.

The bust is carved in basalt and displays superb detailing, crowned with a laurel wreath adorned with berries. A similar bust in marble was discovered in the excavation in the baths of his home town of Shahba, near Damascus, in 1974.

A large Corinthian black-figured olpe achieved $245,000.

Corinthain vase olpe
The olpe was eventually replaced by an Athenian type with a wider mouth

The olpe was a vase shape widely produced during the 7th and 6th centuries BC in the Greek city-state of Corinth.

The example sold at Christie's is exceptionally large, standing at just over 20 inches tall, and features depictions of animals, including lions, goats, panthers and birds.

An Egyptian painted wood funerary ensemble dating to the third intermediate period of the 21st dynasty (1070-945 BC) made $221,000.

The coffins were produced for the high priests and families of the order of Amun, who ruled Thebes during this period.

Few examples survive due to the widespread practice of looting gravesites for wood to use in house building or to drive locomotives.

Sign up to our free newsletter for the latest on antiquities and other collectibles.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock