Silence fell across the auction room at Sheffield Auction Gallery today as a historic marble bust of the first Roman Emperor Augustus was offered for sale. An initial bid of £3,200 was the start of an intense international bidding war between the internet and telephone bidders, which were, one by one, left by the wayside until only one telephone bidder and a buyer in the room were left to fight it out to a final hammer price of £129,000 (plus 22.2% buyers premium).

This Roman statesmen has produced a new in-house record for this type of item at the Gallery. It became obvious prior to the auction from the level of interest shown that this Lot had enormous potential. “Although we expected a significant increase on the initial pre-sale estimate, we did not anticipate just what an important piece it would prove to be”, commented auction gallery Director Liz Dashper-Johnson.

Brought into the Saleroom from a West Yorkshire house clearance, along with a number of other sculptural items it was one of the star lots of a significant fine art auction.

Entries for the next specialist fine art auction on 29th and 30th November are now invited.