Our modern culture remains fascinated by Ancient Rome. History has its price, in the case of a recent Sotheby's
Antiquities auction in New York, that price was a total of $17,479,940, a huge win for Sotheby's for a sale of this type. That number, against estimates of $3.2-$4.8 million was the highest total for a sale in this category at Sotheby's since December 2007. The top lot was a marble torso of an emperor dating back to the first half of the first century A.D. which sold for $7,362,500 handily beating the high estimate of $1.2 million. The torso is believed to be of one of the Julio-Claudian emperors, likely Augustus, Tiberius or Claudius and sold to an anoymous telephone bidder.
At the sale nearly 90 percent of the pieces achieved prices at or above estimate. The Austrian family collection that consigned the marble torso also consigned Three Satyrs Fighting a Serpent, a Roman Imperial sculpture
dated to the circa 1st century A.D. that was once part of Lorenzo DeMedici's collection. It sold to an anonymous
private buyer for $3,442,500 which was more than six times the high estimate of $500,000. A marble bust of the Athena Giustiniani, Roman Imperial, circa 2nd Century A.D. sold for $4,114,500 far above the pre-sale estimate of $600/900,000.
[via Art Daily