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Metal Antiquities

Copper was shaped by hammering from early prehistoric times. The Timna Valley in Israel contains evidence of copper mining in 7000 - 5000 B.C. Copper pins, arrowheads, and small personal accouterments date from this time, and it was not long until these gave way to chisels, axes, needles, and larger tools. Ötzi the Iceman found in the Alps in 1991, dated to about 3300 B.C., was found with a copper axe.

Bronze, a harder alloy of copper and tin, was developed in Egypt during the 3rd Dynasty, c. 2650 B.C. It was commonly used from 2200 B.C. In the Bronze Age, metal vessels and statues of deities were introduced. Beautiful bronze animals, pins, and finials from Luristan and Amlash date to the 8th century B.C. Bronze kouros and animals are among the archaic bronzes made in Greece. From the 6th - 4th century B.C., Etruscan bronze figures included warriors, gods, and goddesses. In Egypte, the vast pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses were cast by the "lost wax" process. Greek and Roman vessels and bronze figures range from artistic masterpieces to utilitarian ware. Smaller bronze artifacts are also collectible - clothing ornaments, arrowheads, swords, daggers, buckles, fibulas, hair ornaments, and amulets.

Lead was used only sparingly, but was used in Greco-Roman times for weights, seal impressions, and sling bullets.

Iron was used from the 12th century B.C., primarily for weapons and tools. Due to rust, other than arrowheads and spear points, few ancient iron artifacts survive in attractive collectible condition.

Hellenistic - Roman Egypt, Bronze Dwarf Acrobat, c. 1st Century B.C. - 1st Century A.D.

|Figures| |&| |Statues|, |Hellenistic| |-| |Roman| |Egypt,| |Bronze| |Dwarf| |Acrobat,| |c.| |1st| |Century| |B.C.| |-| |1st| |Century| |A.D.|NEW
AA99522. Bronze figurine of a bald and naked grotesque athletic dwarf in a rotating movement, exaggerated genitals misplaced at the back side, 7.5 cm tall (10.5 with included custom stand), green patina, legs broken, devices once possibly held in both hands now missing, c. 1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D.; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 260 (18 Dec 2018), lot 118; ex D.W. collection, purchased in Munich c. 1980; very rare; $2000.00 (€1880.00)

Roman, Bronze Krater Handle Ornamented with Lions, c. 1st - 3rd Century A.D.

|Metal| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Krater| |Handle| |Ornamented| |with| |Lions,| |c.| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.|
Click here to see the line drawing of Catalogue des bronzes antiques de la Bibliothèque National no. 1446, a nearly identical handle in the Bibliothèque nationale de France published in 1895.
AM23903. Roman bronze krater handle; cf. BnF Bronzes 1446, Superb, about as made with the addition of an an attractive green patina, c. 1st - 3rd Century A.D.; 12 cm (4 7/8") tall, on the upper part, which would have been attached atop the rim of the vessel: a lion's head faces inward, its back arching above, between two lions lying in opposite directions, on the lower part: acanthus and scrolls between two snakes with heads upward, ex Griffin Gallery of Ancient Art (Boca Raton FL); $1800.00 (€1692.00)

Phoenician, Bronze Trapezoid Cube Weight (Ayin - 21.595g), c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Phoenician,| |Bronze| |Trapezoid| |Cube| |Weight| |(Ayin| |-| |21.595g),| |c.| |7th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.|
This weight is the usual shape for the type, an inverted truncated pyramid - a cube with the bottom slightly smaller than the top. The type dates from perhaps as early as the the 9th century B.C. to the end of the Persian period. They were undoubtedly used to weigh silver bullion for transactions. Kletter lists nine weights with circle marks, ranging from 2.55g to 80.67g. Some, like ours, were incised with straight lines or punches. Most were found at Akko.
AS111486. Phoenician, bronze trapezoid cube weight; cf. Hendin Weights 245 (21.63), Kletter 2000 25 (21.17g), Hecht A 47 (20.03g), Choice, 21.595g (3 shekels?), 14.3x16.6x12.9mm, c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.; inverted truncated pyramid (a cube with the bottom slightly smaller than the top), incised circle (Phoenician ayin) on top created with a 8 short straight line cuts, ex Shick Coins (Max Shick, Israel, 2012); $640.00 (€601.60)

Persian Empire, Samaria, Bronze 1 Shekel Weight, c. 375 - 332 B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Samaria,| |Bronze| |1| |Shekel| |Weight,| |c.| |375| |-| |332| |B.C.|
According to David Hendin's, Guide to Biblical Coins, weight standard and silver content differences in the Persian Period existed as follows:
Type                      Weight    AR %    AR g
Edomite Sheqel    15.96g   96.4%  15.38g
Judaean Sheqel    11.33g   97.0%  10.99g
Samarian Sheqel  14.52g  91.8%  13.32g
Philistian Sheqel  14.32g  94.3%  13.50g
AS111501. Judah, bronze 1 shekel sphere weight, Hendin Weights -; Tushingham -; Kletter 1998; sphere with two flat surfaces, Choice, 14.427g, 15.7mm diameter, c. 375 - 332 B.C.; ex Archaeological Center (Robert Deutsch, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2012); rare; $640.00 (€601.60)

Roman, Bronze Figural Chest Hasp (Herm), 1st - 4th Century A.D.

|Other| |Weapons| |&| |Tools|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Figural| |Chest| |Hasp| |(Herm),| |1st| |-| |4th| |Century| |A.D.|
To learn about Roman padlocks, Roman chest locks, Roman door locks, and similar Roman chest hasps, see Donald| Jackson's Roman| Gallery| of Locks| Keys| & |Seals in NumisWiki.
AS111507. Bronze small chest hasp; cf. Jackson Roman Locks type 1, 5118, Collectible, missing hing loop at back of the top and lock bolt or bolt slot slot at the back of the base, 5.47 cm (2 1/8") long, crude figure in the form of a herm, incised hair and facial features, five punched annulets (Celtic circles) on chest, male genitalia at the midsection; ex The Time Machine (Mark E. Reid); $200.00 (€188.00)

Mediterranean Region, Lead Shell Weight, 1/5 Libra (66.2g), c. 4th Century B.C. - 2nd Century A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Mediterranean| |Region,| |Lead| |Shell| |Weight,| |1/5| |Libra| |(66.2g),| |c.| |4th| |Century| |B.C.| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.||weight|
Hendin lists several such shell-shaped weights. They are found throughout the Mediterranean Region.
AS112250. Lead weight, Hendin Weights 276, Manns-Kloetzli p. 22, 37; Alvarez-Burgos P29; 1/8 Libra lead weight molded from bipod shell, aVF, bumps, cuts, weight 66.206 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, 4th century B.C. - 2nd century A.D.; $160.00 (€150.40)

Roman, Bronze Stud, c. 100 B.C. - 100 A.D.

|Metal| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Stud,| |c.| |100| |B.C.| |-| |100| |A.D.|
Most ancient nails were Iron. Bronze nails were used in ship construction and also with decorative purposes. The photo right is of a lockable strongbox or arca for storing money and other valuables. It was found at Pompeii. dates to the 1st century A.D. and is now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. These boxes were often placed in the atrium, the public area of the house, as a display of wealth and power. This one is decorated with numerous bronze studs.Roman_arca
AS111506. Cone-headed bronze stud with four-sided shaft, Choice, green patina, point blunt and bent, 15.140g, 40.4mm long, head diameter 15.9mm, ex The Time Machine (Mark E. Reid); $120.00 (€112.80)

Byzantine, 2 Bronze Square Coin Weights, c. 300 - 900 A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Byzantine,| |2| |Bronze| |Square| |Coin| |Weights,| |c.| |300| |-| |900| |A.D.|
Based on weight, c. 1 gram each, these are 1 scripula weights. Both are labeled with N, believed to indicate Numisma. The expected weight for a numisma is, however, c. 4 grams. Weights like these are exceedingly common with great variation in their actual weight, but we remain perplexed by the conflict between the very low weight of these specimens and their markings.
AS43875. 2 Bronze Square Coin Weights, cf. Bendall 103 & 104, Collectible, green patina, each c. 1g, ex Ancient Treasures (Plamen Arsoff, Granada Hills, CA, 2011); $110.00 (€103.40)

Chernyakhov Culture (in Ukraine), Four Bronze Rhomboid Head Fibulae, c. 100 - 375 A.D.

|Fibulas| |&| |Clothing|, |Chernyakhov| |Culture| |(in| |Ukraine),| |Four| |Bronze| |Rhomboid| |Head| |Fibulae,| |c.| |100| |-| |375| |A.D.|
These Chernyakhov Culture fibulae were found in Ukraine. They are likely women's fibulae. In Chernyakhov Culture burials, most men do not wear a fibula (they wore trousers), women are most often wearing two fibulae, one on each shoulder.

The Chernyakhov culture flourished between the 2nd and the late 4th century A.D. in a wide area of Eastern Europe, specifically in what is now Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and parts of Belarus. The culture is thought to be the result of a multiethnic cultural mix of the Geto-Dacian (including Romanised Daco-Romans), Sarmatian, and Gothic populations. The Chernyakhov culture ended with the arrival of the Huns. Without the hierarchical Gothic political structure, cultural homogeneity succumbed to the ethnic distinctions between the disparate peoples.
AS96443. Lot of 4 Chernyakhov Culture (in Ukraine) bronze rhomboid head fibulae, Choice, green patinas, each missing the pin (the iron pins are usually lost due to rust), 29.7mm - 39.2mm long, c. 100 - 375 A.D.; $80.00 (€75.20)

Roman, Bronze Vessel Lid, c. 1st Century B.C. - 3rd Century A.D.

|Metal| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Vessel| || |Lid,| |c.| |1st| |Century| |B.C.| |-| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.|
This lid would have been attached to the vessel with a chain, as seen on Ceci's Piccoli bronzi del Museo Nazionale di Napoli (New York, 1858)., tav. 1, 13.
AM20847. Roman bronze vessel lid, 13.5 cm diameter, green patina, earthen deposits, parts of edge ragged, c. 1st Century B.C. - 3rd Century A.D.; $60.00 (€56.40)




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Most references for jewelry, fibulae, weapons, arrowheads, sling bullets, lamps, and weights are not listed above. For improved clarity they are listed on the shop pages dedicated specifically to those types of antiquities.

Catalog current as of Tuesday, December 5, 2023.
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