Antiquities Saleroom auction to offer $40,000 Moche gold sceptre

Antiquities Saleroom's Pre-Columbian art auction, which will be held on February 1 online, is to offer a fantastic selection of high-karat gold items, including an important and rare Moche royal gold sceptre.

Moche Gold Sceptre Atl Atl
A detail of the important sceptre, which would have been used by royals for ceremonial purposes

The sceptre - otherwise known as an atl atl - is expected to sell for $30,000-40,000, and was consigned from one of two Hollywood collections featured in the auction. Created circa 100-400 CE on the north coast of Peru, it would have been used for ceremonial purposes by the royalty among the Moche civilisation.

The Moche are known for the level of detail and expression found in their artefacts, having developed a highly sophisticated culture. The sceptre is one such piece, with an expressive lord carved from bone standing atop a turquoise mosaic platform. It measures 15 inches in height and is presented on a museum quality stand.

Moche Erotic Drinking Vessel
The Moche were among the earliest peoples to incorporate humour and portraiture into their pottery

Also from the Moche is one of the most striking lots of the auction, an erotic drinking vessel that is expected to sell for $12,000-15,000. Depicting a well-defined male with an erect phallus spout, the rim of the vessel has been perforated, forcing its user to drink from the phallus.

Calima gold mask
The Calima culture is also noted for its polychrome ceramics

The top lot of the sale is another high-karat gold piece, this time from the Calima of Colombia, who were known for their hammered gold ware. The spectacular mask was created circa 0-500 CE from approximately 22 karat gold and, like many items in the sale, is brimming with character.

In near-choice condition, marred only by minor tears at the nose and a small crease, the piece will be sold for $40,000-60,000.

"We are accustomed to handling very fine pieces, but the examples in these two collections are genuinely investment grade and would be welcomed with open arms at any major museum in the world," commented co-owner of Antiquities Saleroom, Bob Dodge.

See Paul Fraser Collectibles' free guide to investing in collectibles to learn how you can get both pleasure and profit from this unique asset class.

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