Interesting item coming to auction … from the Telegraph; some excerpts:
Dug up by former brick layer Pete Beasley in 1999, it was discovered yards from a hoard of other artefacts that are now at the British Museum.
The jewel dates from the first century, measures just 2.5 inches in length and depicts an emperor – probably Tiberius – wearing a laurel wreath.
It is inscribed with the letters Ti CAESAR above the head and has a precious red stone below. There is a loop at the top, suggesting it may have hung from a necklace.
Experts believe it was made in Alexandria in Egypt and brought to the UK with some of the first Roman settlers.
It was found 10 inches down in a field about 20 yards from the rest of the hoard that consisted of over 250 coins, a torque and a ring.
Mr Beasley, 68, from Portsmouth, Hants, found the treasures in Alton, Hampshire, after years of digging in the area.
“It is associated with the so-called Alton Hoard that consisted of 256 coins and various other finds,” he said. “I found it afterwards about 25 yards away. When I dug it up it was covered in some tarry stuff.
“The British Museum kept the rest of the hoard but gave this back as they couldn’t date it accurately because there is nothing to compare it with.
“I have taken it to experts here, in Europe and Egypt and they all think it is Egyptian and dates from the first century, like the rest of the hoard.
“It is inscribed with the letters TI CAESAR and includes a red cornelian stone.
“The titular form Ti Caesar appears frequently on the coins of Tiberius while the bust is particularly evocative of that depicted on the Alexandrian coins
“The facial features are “pharaonic” in style, especially the mouth so an Alexandrian origin is possible and perhaps it was a donative offering piece. It is unparalleled and we are delighted to have it at our sale.”
The jewel goes under the hammer on March 19 at TimeLine auctions in London.
Not quite sure what’s “pharaonic” about this; the fact that the British Museum declined it is also concerning, I would think. Other than ‘cameos’, has anyone ever seen a piece of Roman jewellery which depicted an emperor/general? Could this be a phalera? And if it is, might it not be Claudius depicted?
UPDATE (03/20/10): it fetched a nice price: