Ancient Greek flask once owned by Lord Elgin to be auctioned in June

A 2,500-year-old flask that once belonged to the Scot who brought the Parthenon Marbles to the UK is one of a number of privately owned ancient artefacts to be sold at auction in June.

The 6.75-inch (17cm) decorated lekythos, or ancient Greek oil flask, would originally have been used in a bath house or gymnasium when it was crafted in around 450BC, according to auctioneers Timeline Auctions.

The vessel was subsequently acquired by Scottish diplomat and art collector Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, now most famous for his acquisition of the sculptures commonly known as the Elgin Marbles, which are on display in the British Museum and the subject of an ownership dispute with the Greek government.

In a statement, Timeline Auctions said: “This Timeline Auction sale is a snapshot of the wealth of valuable items still in the hands of the general public.

“Now and then some of it makes it to an auction valuer who is blown away by this new discovery now lying in his or her trembling hands.

“It comes as no surprise to find that when a house that is part of a deceased estate is cleared, all manner of things emerge.

“Over the years auctioneers have found gold coins knotted into socks shoved into the very back of sock drawers, and in one case a shrink-wrapped Faberge tea service, placed carefully in the cold-water tank in the attic of a house that was being cleared after the death of the last member of the family that had lived there for decades.”

The 30-inch ‘hero horse vase’ is among the items being auctioned on June 6 (Timeline Auctions/PA)

Monumental kraters were often used as grave markers in cemeteries, and this example, said by Timeline Auctions to be typical of the Apulian red-figure pottery produced between 440-300BC in Greek colonial regions in Southern Italy, has an estimated sale price of £50,000 – £70,000.

This ancient Egyptian mummy mask with an estimated sale price of £12,000 – £17,000 was found at an antiques fair (Timeline Auctions/PA)

Timeline Auctions said: “Just imagine finding an ancient Egyptian mummy mask when you’ve slipped down to the local antiques fair and car boot sale and make a find that is now going to auction for an estimate of £12,000 – £17,000.”

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