Roman purple glass amphoriskos headlines London sale

A Roman purple amphoriskos headlined Christie's sale of the Shlomo Moussaieff collection of ancient glass.

The lot made £74,500 ($96,180) in the July 6 auction in London.

purple glass christies
The amphoriskos displays scenes from the myth of Ajax

It dates to circa the 1st century AD and displays scenes from the ancient Greek myth of Ajax. It's remarkably intact and has picked up an attractive patina over the years.

It's also extremely rare, as Christie's explains: "The present lot is one of an exceedingly rare type, of which only seven other examples are known; five of these are opaque white, with the remainder being purple."

Glass had been around for thousands of years before the Romans, but in the 1st century BC there was something of a revolution in the field.

New techniques, such as glassblowing, and the large scale production of raw glass meant that both complexity and availability increased dramatically.

A cobalt blue pyxis, also made in ancient Rome during the 1st century, realised £62,500 ($80,688).

Pyxides were used as containers for materials such as perfume and jewellery by women from wealthy families.

This specimen is of a type that has been found across Europe and as far north as Germany, suggesting it was mass produced.

Shlomo Moussaieff (1925-2015) was an Israeli jeweller and multimillionaire who amassed one of the world's most spectacular collections of Bible-era artefacts.

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about antique auctions.

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