The 18½in (47cm) high gilt mask dates from the Ptolemaic period (304-30BC). It is decorated with two images of Osiris, a winged scarab and a hieroglyphic inscription. The mask is inlaid with lapis lazuli and inset with calcite eyes.
The mask has a pre-1975 provenance to the collector Henri Smeets from the Netherlands (1905-80) whose collection was sold at Sotheby’s London in 1977 (including this mask).
At Hindman on May 26, it realised a hammer price of $140,000 (£113,820), getting on for three times the $50,000-60,000 estimate.
The sale featured all the usual geographical and cultural areas associated with an Antiquities auction: Egyptian, Near Eastern and Classical material.
Top price among the Classical pieces at $80,000 (£65,040), against an estimate of $100,000-150,000, was an 18in (46cm) high Roman portrait head of the Greek philosopher known as Antisthenes (c.446-370BC) dated to c.late 1st-early 2nd century AD.
Portraits of Antisthenes are attributed from a bust found at Hadrian’s Villa, now in the Vatican Museum, which is inscribed with his name. All known portraits have the same facial features that epitomise this intellectual: a full-length beard, thick moustache obscuring the upper lip, and dishevelled curly hair.
The example offered at Hindman had a provenance back to 1968 to the Galleria Geri, Milan. It appeared at auction at Sotheby’s New York in 1981; then a private collection in California; the California Museum of Ancient Art; Royal Athena Galleries New York in 1988; a US collector and a sale at Christie’s New York in December 2012.
The auction also featured a sizeable section of around 30 lots of ancient jewellery from various consigners.
Here the most expensive piece was a 4¾in (21cm) diameter gold bracelet cast with confronting lion head terminals which came from the western Asiatic region and dated from the 8th-6th century BC.
Coming from a private Pennsylvania collector, it had an earlier provenance to Nasli Heeramaneck (1902-71), New York, prior to 1964; the Jay C Leff Collection (1925-2000), Uniontown, Pennsylvania; then by descent. It sold for $22,500 (£18,290), getting on for double the estimate.
This section also included a large number of Roman rings. Notable here was a half-inch wide red jasper ringstone dated to the 1st-2nd century AD set in a gold mount. The stone is finely carved with a nude sculptor kneeling to carve a large vase with a mallet and chisel.
From the collection of a mid-Western scholar, this was with the Ariadne Galleries in New York in the 1980s and was last under the hammer in December 2012 as part of Christie’s New York sale of Ancient Jewellery when it realised $4000 including premium. This time around at Hindman it doubled a $3000-5000 guide to take $10,000 (£7575).