Experts at auction house Bonham’s say that an anonymous European collector recently brought an ancient Roman vase to them for identification that may be the finest example of its type in the world.
The work, made of pieces of cobalt blue and white glass, depicts 30 white figures. It stands 33.5 inches tall and was likely made around 2,000 years ago. Experts declined to attach a value to the work. Chantelle Rountree, head of antiquities at Bonham's, explained, “It is of major international importance. Academically and artistically it is priceless.”
Bonham’s says that though the collector knew it was a fine piece, he had no idea it was so exceptionally rare. Of the 15 other examples of the style known to exist in the world, the finest is considered to be the Portland Vase, which is in the collection of the British Museum. But the Portland Vase stands only nine inches tall and is missing its base.
Though the collector told auction house officials that he had no intention of parting with it any time soon, he did reveal that it could be made available to scholars in the near future. Rountree was enthusiastic about the academic potential the vase holds. “Scholars will be evaluating this find for decades,”she said.