Greek bronze Corinthian helmet
A Greek bronze Corinthian helmet from the late 6th century BC, estimated at $300,000-500,000. Part of Christie’s Classic Week of sales, it will be offered at the online antiquities auction that closes on June 16.

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The seven sales which offer a range of Old Masters, 19th century art, sculpture, antiquities, books and manuscripts were previously scheduled as live events in April but will now run as timed online sales almost six weeks later. They will open for bidding on June 2 and close in a rolling schedule from June 16-19.

Among the important consignments is a group of over 60 pieces of ancient art from late collectors James and Marilynn Alsdorf. The couple acquired the works over a 30-year period and, standing alongside pieces of contemporary art by the likes of Mark Rothko, René Magritte and Wassily Kandinsky, they previously adorned their Chicago home visiting which was described as akin to going to a museum. The works will now be offered in a single-owner sale that closes on June 16.

The highlights include an Egyptian painted linen mummy shroud with a portrait of a woman (c.1st-2nd century AD), estimated at $200,000-300,000, and a Roman marble of a goddess, estimated at $120,000-180,000.

As well as a stand-alone sale of ancient engraved gems formerly in the G. Sangiorgi collection, Christie’s is also offering a separate 150-lot mixed-owner antiquities sale that includes an impressive Greek bronze Corinthian Helmet from the late 6th century BC. It carries a $300,000-500,000 estimate.

Viewing lots 

While Christie’s has enhanced its online viewing facility to include a relative size and scale viewer for all the lots in each ‘Classic Week’ sale, it has also launched a ‘virtual gallery’ viewing platform for the auctions of European art and Old Master paintings and sculpture.

‘A collector's cabinet’ by Giuseppe Bernardino Bison

‘A collector's cabinet’ by Giuseppe Bernardino Bison, estimated at $50,000-70,000 at Christie’s Old Master paintings and sculpture sale.

Among the lots at the latter sale is a painting of Saint Christopher by Orazio Borgianni, estimated at $80,000-120,000, and Danaë by Johann König, a newly discovered painting on copper estimated at $50,000-70,000.

It also features a view of the Colosseum in Rome by Gaspar van Wittel which comes from the collection of Vanna White, the American TV personality and longstanding hostess of Wheel of Fortune. It is pitched at $40,000-60,000.

A collector’s cabinet, an oil on canvas by Italian painter Giuseppe Bernardino Bison estimated at $50,000-70,000 is also among the lots.

Meanwhile the European art sale will offer 68 lots which include Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s La Rochelle - un coin de la cour de la commanderie. Estimated at $80,000-120,000, the oil on canvas was once owned by the Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot painting

A painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-18750 once owned by Renoir. ‘La Rochelle – un coin de la cour de la commanderie’ is estimated at $80,000-120,000 at Christie’s European art sale.

Printed works

Among the books to headline ‘Classic Week’ is a first edition copy of Charles Darwin’s (1809-1882) Origin of Species (1859), estimated at $100,000-150,000 at the sale of selected works from library of Lorenzo H Zambrano.

On offer at the general printed works and manuscripts sale is a first edition newspaper of The Baltimore Patriot and Evening Advertiser on 21 September 1814. Its significance? It included the first printing of the words for a song called The Defense of Fort McHenry, the original title of what is now known as The Star-Spangled Banner – the US National Anthem.  

The lot carries an estimate of $300,000-500,000, the highest of any individual lot at Christie’s ‘Classic Week’.

‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ issue of the Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser

‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ issue of the Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser on 21 September 1814. This first edition copy of the newspaper is estimated at $300,000-500,000 at Christie’s.

Full list of Christie’s ‘Classic Week’ sales

  • Antiquities: Online from 2-16 June
  • Ancient Art from the James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection: Online from 2-16 June
  • Ancient Engraved Gems formerly in the G. Sangiorgi Collection Part II: Online from 2-16 June
  • Old Master paintings and sculpture: Online from June 2-19
  • European art: Online from June 2-17
  • Selections from the library of Lorenzo H Zambrano: Online from June 2-18
  • Fine travel, Americana, literature and history in print and manuscript: Online from June 2-18