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Newly Discovered Roman Sarcophagus Goes Under the Hammer

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

In yet another exciting coup for Duke’s Auctioneers, a rare Roman sarcophagus is to be sold at the firm’s Dorchester auction house next week, and is expected to fetch up to £50,000.

It’s becoming a bit of a speciality for Duke’s, who last year sold another Roman coffin for £100,000, after it was discovered in a Dorset garden. It was this sale, and the publicity surrounding it, that persuaded a Northumberland pensioner to get in touch with Duke’s resident specialist Guy Schwinge to talk about a similar artefact he had found in his own garden.

After visiting Northumberland and inspecting the piece (which was being used as a trough for flowers!), Schwinge found that it did indeed date back to the Ancient Roman era, and had probably been brought over from Rome in the early 20th century, but its significance had become lost over time.

The marble sarcophagus is finely decorated with ornately carved figures, and probably would have been made for a wealthy, high status individual in the 1st or 2nd century AD. It is thought to be almost identical to a Roman coffin on display at the Galleria Lapidaria in the Vatican.

Duke’s has gained a significant nationwide reputation for selling items of great historical interest, and this lot will only enhance its reputation further. For more information on the auction visit the Duke’s auctioneers website.

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