Lot 11

A Ptolemaic gold ring with the portrait of Berenice II, 3rd century B.C.

From castles and palaces - selected art and works of art from antiquity to the 20th century | A87p | Live auction | 245 Lots


A solid gold ring, the hoop D-shaped in cross-section with a large oval bezel. The latter with the intricately modelled portrait of a female member of the Ptolemaic dynasty in raised relief in profile facing to the left. In immaculate condition. The queen – most likely Berenice II (267/266 - 221 B.C.) – wears a diadem in her elaborately coiffed hair. It is tied in a bun at the back of her head and covered with a cloth. The intact portrait ring of superior quality. Length of the bezel 2.2 cm. Inside diameter 1.9 cm (German ring size 59). Weight 14.21 g.
Two very similar portrait rings are known from the collection of the British Museum (F. H. Marshall, Catalogue of the Finger Rings, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman, in the Departments of Antiquities, British Museum (1907) 200 No. 1267 and 1268). Nonetheless, neither ring can compare with this exceptionally splendid specimen in terms of material or preservation.
Berenice II was wife and co-regent of Ptolemy III Euergetes. She became known above all by the episode about one of her curls. This curl, which she had dedicated in the Temple of Arsinoë, had disappeared from the Sanctuary the following day. The court astronomer Konon of Samos investigated the matter and found the following explanation: The curl had been moved among the stars by the gods, for it could be seen as a new asterism in the night sky. This constellation was then given the name Coma Berenices = Curl of the Berenice, which is still used today.
Literature on Berenice II: B. van Oppen de Ruiter, Berenice II Euergetis: Essays in Early Hellenistic Queenship (2016).
Provenance: From a private collection in South Germany. Acquired in the 1980s in Munich.
Condition: II + Questions about the lot?

General Information

The auction includes 246 lots and starts on Friday, September 25, 2020 at 4 pm (CET). The pre-sale viewing will take place from September 19 - 24, 2020 from 10 am to 6 pm (CET).