Mummies, dinosaurs and precious minerals will feature at Heritage Auction Galleries' Signature Natural History Auction, on January 17, 2010.
One of the auction's key highlights is an authentic Egyptian mummy's head. According to experts, its well-executed mummification suggests that it originates between the New Kingdom and the Ptolemaic period.
The head - which may have once belonged to an important individual - is estimated at $25,000-$35,000.
"This incredible specimen is indeed the actual head from an Egyptian mummy," enthused David Herskowitz, Director of Natural History Auctions at Heritage.
"It's a remarkable specimen, complete with the original wrappings over the top of the head and part of the neck region, with several cervical vertebrae still attached.
"Imprints around the eye sockets suggest that they were once covered, possibly with coins with which to pay for passage to the afterlife.
"It exhibits no distortion and is beautifully prepared, indicating that this may well have been a high status individual."
In the late 1700's, Napoleon's army conquered Egypt and the returning soldiers plundered countless treasures from the pyramids, including the mummified remains of ancient Egyptian dignitaries and the treasures with which they were buried.
During the Victorian era, mummies were eagerly collected by museums and private individuals fascinated by their mystery and prestige.
The present specimen is thought to have been a European acquisition. However, its provenance can only be traced to an antiques dealer from New Jersey, US.
It was then bought by a New York collector in the 1960s, in whose collection it has remained for decades.
Elsewhere at the sale, a well-preserved skull of a protoceratops will head the dinosaur fossil section, estimated at $45,000-55,000. It apparently boasts a fine set of teeth and a good bone texture.
Heritage's auction will have live floor bidding on January 17, 2010, but you can place a bid now over the Internet. For more information, see the Heritage Auction Galleries website.
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Image: Heritage Auction Galleries