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LOT 516

Sold for (Inc. bp): £34,500

(62 mm tall; 68.30 grams.).

Circa 1st century AD. A unique and unparalleled pendant jewel, the backplate surmounted by a pediment inscribed TI CAESAR and with a broad laurel wreath suspension loop affixed at the top; the front section cast as a bust of the emperor, wearing a laurel wreath and with Julio-Claudian hairstyle; the lower section inset with a triangular red cornelian stone within a cell and thus likely to have originated in a provincial workshop as this method of setting is not usually associated with Rome; the titular form Ti Caesar appears frequently on the coins of Tiberius (14-37 AD) while the bust is particularly evocative of that depicted on the Alexandrian coin issues and the facial features are 'pharaonic' in style, especially the mouth; an Alexandrian origin is possible, perhaps as a donative offering piece.

Found by metal detector near Alton, Hampshire, 10th December 1999, in the context of the Alton Hoards of Celtic gold stater coins and other imported Roman gold jewellery (now on display in the British Museum), all discovered by Mr P. Beasley and Mr P. Murphy. This jewel was reported to the British Museum and returned to the finders (disclaimed, as the BM were uncertain of the dating, under the Treasure Act). An X-Ray Fluorescence Test Certificate is also offered with this item, together with an extract of the Treasure Annual Report entry, other documentation and copies of press cuttings. This item is also accompanied by a sworn affidavit by the finder setting out the details of the findspot.

DCMS Treasure Annual Report for 1998-1999; published December 2000, Roman Artefacts Section, p. 24, Item 43.

The Hampshire region was occupied by the Atrebates and Regni tribes in the Celtic period and the leader Cogidubnos later adopted the Roman prenames Tiberius Claudius, after being granted Roman citizenship and the tilte Legatus (normally reserved for those Romans of Senatorial rank). There are examples known of Roman jewels with inset flat tabled triangular stones (we have images on file and available).