A rare gadrooned Roman silver dish - image-1
A rare gadrooned Roman silver dish - image-2
A rare gadrooned Roman silver dish - image-1A rare gadrooned Roman silver dish - image-2

Lot 1 Dα

A rare gadrooned Roman silver dish

Auction 1182 - overview Cologne
15.07.2021, 11:00 - The Exceptional Bernard De Leye Collection
Estimate: 25.000 € - 30.000 €
Result: 28.750 € (incl. premium)

A rare gadrooned Roman silver dish

Embossed, martelé and engraved silver, a ring of soft solder below. Slightly scalloped dish with 32 raised concentric gadrooned motifs surrounding a smooth central surface with a dot in the centre and two raised mouldings. The rim with pronounced mouldings and 32 indentations. H 3.5, D 24.6 cm, weight 469 g.
2nd / 3rd century A.D.

No Roman silver objects with hallmarks are known to exist from the first three centuries AD. No system of rules seems to have been in place before late antiquity. The numerous legal texts dealing with the problems of all kinds raised by silver do not mention any system of control. There are also few archaeological traces that would shed light on the techniques of Roman silver smithing.
The most important silver mines in the Greek and Hellenistic world were located in Laurion (Lavrio) in Attica, while in the Roman period silver was mainly obtained from Spanish mines. Silver was probably also mined in Britain, for the island's wealth in precious and other metals was decisive for the plans to invade. Tacitus describes this in his Agricola: "Fert Britannia aurum et argentum et alia metalla, pretium victoriae". In English coin hoards, however, we find coins from throughout the entire Roman Empire, from Augusta Treverorum to Antioch, which were brought to the island by traders.
Ancient texts, such as those of Pliny or the epigrams of Martial, indicate the extraordinary popularity of certain Toreut pieces. The works were hotly contested: prices reached extraordinary levels, which, in the absence of hallmarks, can be explained by the fact that even then the pieces were considered objects of artistic quality and value in and of themselves. Aside from the market, one could also come into possession of such a magnificent silver bowl through the favour of the emperor. Such "largitiones" were based on the rank and status of the recipient and served as a reward, often combined with additional monetary gifts. The recipient displayed the object as a status symbol.


Former James Bomford collection.


Cf. a similar silver dish in the Römisch-Germanisches Museum Cologne, inv. no. 200418, described by Dr. Friederike Naumann-Steckner as a "product of a Gallo-Roman workshop of the 3rd century" ("Produkt einer gallo-römischen Werkstatt des 3. Jahrhunderts"). Cf. also Trésors d´orfèvrerie gallo-romain, Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, Musée de la civilisation gallo-romaine, Lyon, 1989. Cf. Also the Gallic silver dish with folding handles in the Louvre (inv. no. MNE 1008). Cf. The dish found in Chaourse in Picardie in the British Museum (Mus.No. 1889,1019.11). Cf. The basin from the Kaiseraugst hoard in the Römermuseum Augst, Schweiz (inv. 62.23).


Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, June 1973 - March 1974 (loan no. 160).