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This octagonal brass box, decorated with 17 micro-mosaics featuring subjects from classical antiquity, created by Augusto Castellani, is estimated at SFr12,000-18,000 at Koller on March 26.

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In an article in 1870, Alfonso di Sartirana enthused about this 8 x 8in (20 x 20cm) box. Castellani himself was obviously also very proud of his work because in 1872 he used an identical piece to house a prestigious creation: a suite of jewellery, presented to Princess Vicky of Prussia by Prince Umberto I and Margherita of Savoy on the occasion of the birth of her daughter, Margaret of Prussia.

The micro-mosaics, which were executed by the master craftsman Luigi Podio, incorporated animals, masks and in a central cartouche on the lid: the Gorgon’s head, a motif Castellani used on several of his creations.

On March 26, Koller in Zurich is hoping to find a new owner for the box – the estimate is SFr12,000-18,000.

kollerauktionen.ch