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Medieval jewelry auction Dec. 12 contains Viking artifacts

Medieval jewelry, including Viking items, comprise a Jasper52 online auction to be conducted Wednesday, Dec. 12. These striking pieces date back to the 8th-15th centuries when the Vikings roamed both sea and land. Warriors’ rings, sorcerers’ amulets and pendants hold symbolic meaning in their shapes, often embodying the great strength of Vikings who bore them.

Viking warrior’s ring, circa 866-1067, size 10, gilt bronze professionally refurbished with the gold surface restored. Estimate: $200-$250. Jasper52 image

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Viking jewelry in Aug. 1 auction comes ready to wear

Rings, amulets and pendants dating back to the 8th through the 15th centuries – many of them made and worn by Vikings – will be sold in a Jasper52 auction on Wednesday, Aug. 1. The symbolic meaning in their shapes often embodies the great strength of Viking warriors who bore them. Also offered will be jewelry items worn by ancient Romans as well as early Christians.

Early Christian pilgrim’s ring, 7th-10th century, size 9, professionally refurbished with the gold overlay restored for contemporary wear. Estimate: $250-$300. Jasper 52 image

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Viking jewelry refurbished, ready to wear in May 23 auction

Viking jewelry—warrior’s rings, sorcerer’s amulets and heart pendants—are mixed with ancient Roman and medieval Christian jewelry in a Jasper52 online auction on Wednesday, May 23. Many of the items date back to the eighth century through 10th century when Vikings roamed both sea and land.

Viking lunar/astrological gilt bronze pendant, circa 900-1000, 1¼ in. high. Estimate: $360-$480. Jasper52 image

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Bold Viking jewelry in Feb. 28 auction ready to wear

Viking warriors roamed northern Europe from the eighth to late 11th centuries. While gaining much notoriety as raiders, they were also farmers, traders and explorers, and the craftsmanship seen in their jewelry demonstrates considerable artistic skill. Jasper52 will present an online auction of nearly 100 lots of authentic Viking and medieval jewelry – all professionally refurbished and ready to wear – on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Viking lunar eclipse pendant, A.D. 850-1050, gilt bronze, 7/8 in. wide. Estimate: $825-$1,100. Jasper52 image

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Viking, Roman jewelry paired in Jasper52 auction Jan. 31

Ancient Roman and medieval jewelry, including iconic Viking items, comprise a Jasper52 online auction to be held Jan. 31. These striking pieces of jewelry are enriched with history as well as beauty.

Viking women’s coil bracelet 9th-10th century, 2 ¾ in inside diameter, gilt bronze, Estimate $600-$800. Jasper52 image

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Thor’s Hammer: Mighty Symbol in Viking Jewelry

Thor is, without a doubt, one of Marvel’s main men, both in comic books and on the big screen, as is evident in movie-going audiences flocking to theaters to see the hammer-wielding character in action. According to boxofficemojo.com, gross ticket sales from the three Thor films combined top nearly $2 billion. Leading the way is the 2017 release of Thor: Ragnarok, bringing in more than $844 million.

Promotional poster for the film Thor: Ragnarok, produced by Marvel Studios, and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film, released in October of 2017, is the sequel to the 2011 film Thor and Thor: The Dark World, released in 2013. This scaled-down low-resolution image of the poster qualifies for fair use under the copyright law of the United States.  

The popularity of these films, as well as Marvel’s Avengers, and History Channel’s Vikings series, certainly plays a part in the growing interest in Norse history and lore. Yet, Thor’s revered status as a symbol of strength, protection and provision dates back centuries. That fact is evident in the presence and popularity of the Thor’s Hammer amulet in Viking jewelry.

To help us understand Thor and his ever-present hammer a bit better, we turned to fine art specialist Sydelle Rubin-Dienstfrey, PhD Art History, who is manager of the research and writing department at Artemis Gallery.

“The Thor’s Hammer is perhaps the best-known symbol of Norse mythology,” Rubin-Dienstfrey said. “Thor was the powerful god tasked with guarding Asgard, home of the Aesir tribe of deities. Thor tirelessly defended the Aesir from the giants, and the hammer was his trusty weapon. Interestingly, the name Thor literally means ‘Thunder,’ and Thor seemed to personify the spirit of a storm whose thunder was experienced as the resounding boom of his hammer as it decimated his adversaries.”

This solid silver Viking Thor’s Hammer pendant, dating to between 800 and 1100 AD, weighing 11 grams, has been cast as one piece with a long handle that ends in a loop for suspension. The surface of the pendant has been stamped with a unique decoration of the period – a triangle with three small raised pellets inside the triangle. The pendant sold for $1,100 in Artemis Gallery’s Dec. 2017 auction. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers and Artemis Gallery

While this image of Thor is what comes to mind when you hear his name, it is one element of a more complex role within the world of the mythology, Rubin-Dienstfrey explained.

“In addition to serving as a weapon, the Thor’s Hammer played a major role in sacred rituals related to birth, marriage, and death. Some historians also believe that rituals involving people beating hammers were intended to protect communities from evil spirits. So, the Thor’s Hammer was not only a weapon possessing the might and power of a storm but also an instrument of protection against ill will.”

With the Hammer of Thor bearing such meaning, it is easy to understand why the symbol is represented in various forms of Viking artifacts, most specifically as amulets/pendants.

In 2014, a Viking artifact reportedly from the 10th century in the shape of the Hammer of Thor was discovered on the Danish island of Lolland, and it bore an inscription. According to an article posted on www.ancient-origins.net, the text was translated to “this is a hammer,” and it was one of the more than 1,000 similar items discovered throughout northern Europe, referred to as the Mjöllnir amulets, to include such an inscription. The inscribed Mjöllnir amulet currently resides in the National Museum of Denmark.

The only Mjöllnir amulet of more than 1,000 discovered in northern Europe, to bear an inscription. Circa 10th century AD. National Museum of Denmark image

Museums and historical programs provide an ideal opportunity to gain a better understanding of Norse people, their traditions and beliefs. One such example is the traveling museum exhibition “Vikings: Beyond the Legend,” said Rubin-Dienstfrey, who attended the exhibition with her fellow staff members from Artemis Gallery.

“I think that one of the greatest things about it was that the organizers did their best to bust generally accepted myths about the Vikings that Hollywood sometimes perpetuates,” she said. “For instance, there is this misconception that the Vikings were filthy brutes. However, some of the most commonly excavated artifacts of Viking Era include tweezers, combs, razors and ear spoons. This suggests that they were fairly focused on cleanliness and grooming. What’s more, many scholars estimate that only a small percentage of Vikings were warriors. Most were artisans, farmers, and traders.”

This rare bronze Thor’s hammer amulet with stylized raven heads, circa 900 AD, sold for $190 in Jasper52’s Oct. 29, 2017 auction. Jasper52 and LiveAuctioneers image.

The discovery of ancient Viking jewelry in a myriad of designs, created using a variety of metals and materials (bronze, silver, and stone), is another example of a culture that is more than one-dimensional.

“When one examines examples of Norse visual culture, it becomes apparent that their immense artistry defies common stereotypes of Vikings as horned helmet-wearing barbarians who went around raping and pillaging whomever and whatever crossed their paths,” said Rubin-Dienstfrey. “In addition to some stunning Thor’s Hammer pendants, we have had the privilege of handling incredible bracteate [beaten] pendants that display extremely sophisticated filigree and granulation techniques, as well. To create these works of wearable art clearly required advanced techniques and a keen sensibility.”

This coin, reportedly from that of King Regnald I of York and the Bossail Hoard, dates to 919-921 AD and bears an image of Thor’s hammer on the obverse with three pellets positioned above the hammer, a symbol not known to have been included on any other die It sold for £3,000 ($9,479) during a February 2016 auction at TimeLine Auctions Ltd. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers and TimeLine Auctions Ltd.

Although ownership of artifacts does not necessarily require one to possess an understanding of the culture surrounding it, as many will attest, the value in acquiring that knowledge is immeasurable.

“I think that collectors love the Thor’s Hammer because of its many layers of symbolism. The hammer is associated with the Norse god of thunder, lightning, storms and strength – who protected so many – so by extension, the amulet is believed to protect its wearer,” Rubin-Dienstfrey added. “Finally, the fine workmanship and immense artistry exemplified by these beautiful works make them incredibly desirable.”

Gilt bronze raised heart-shape pendant enclosing an abstract face, possibly that of Thor, substantially symmetrical, in the shape of a heart, which stood for bravery, fortitude, loyalty, and integrity. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers and Jasper 52

In case of Thor’s Hammer, there is so much more to it than meets the eye, as is the case with so many relics of centuries ago.

Jasper52 offers double shot of Viking jewelry Dec. 5

Jasper52 will present two online auctions featuring Viking and Medieval jewelry on Dec. 5. The first auction, which starts Tuesday at 7 p.m. Eastern time, consists of jewelry and artifacts that date back to the Middle Ages, when the Vikings roamed both sea and land. The second auction, which follows at 9:30 p.m. presents a huge variety of fine ancient jewelry from the Bronze age to Post-Medieval.

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Diverse antiquities offered in 3 Jasper52 auctions Nov. 4-5

Jasper52 delves into ancient history this weekend with three online-only auctions featuring rarely encountered antiquities. Standouts in the auction catalogs include works of art, jewelry and coins, all sourced from long-standing collections.

Byzantine gold and garnet cross, circa 11th-12th century, 1½in. high. Estimate: $1,400-$2,500.

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Ancient Jewelry Pieces for the History Buffs

This week’s fine ancient jewelry auction offers a wide range of artifacts, from Bronze Age pins and bracelets to post-Medieval religious pendants. The curated sale also includes a large collection of Viking-era jewelry such as rings, mythological pendants and warriors’ amulets. History buffs and jewelry fanatics will love these spectacular pieces.

Heading the list of more than 125 lots is a bronze Viking pendant that depicts the god Odin on horseback. Obtained from an old British collection, the pendant is expected to sell for $1,000-$1,500.

Rare Viking pendant depicting the god Odin on a horse, circa A.D. 900-1100. Estimate $1,000-$1,500. Jasper52 image

 

A Viking-era silver ring with a pale blue stone is wearable and in fine condition. It has a $300-$400 estimate.

Viking silver ring with pale blue stone, circa A.D. 900-1100. Estimate: $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

The eagle was a powerful symbol of strength and bravery in Viking culture. A bronze Viking era pendant bearing a  double-headed eagle motive is a rare artifact in excellent condition.

Viking era bronze pendant depicting a double headed eagle motif, circa A.D. 900-1100. Estimate: $700-$1,000. Jasper52 image

 

A bronze Celtic bracelet decorated in a snake motif is from the Hallstatt Culture, 800-500 B.C. It is a rare artifact in excellent condition.

Celtic Bronze Age coiled bracelet with snake terminals, Hallstatt culture, circa A.D. 1500. Estimate: $250-$350. Jasper52 image

 

A great example of Medieval jewelry is a fancy pair of Renaissance earrings of gold gilded silver and having elaborately decorated hinged central sections with tassels and gems. Obtained from an old Austrian collection, the earrings are estimated at $500-$700.

Pair of Renaissance gold-gilded earrings, circa 1600. Estimate $500-$700. Jasper52 image

 

Dating to ancient Rome is a pendant depicting Eros, the god of erotic love. The bronze pendant is in excellent condition.

Rare Ancient Roman bronze pendant depicting Eros; integral loop, circa A.D. 100-300. Estimate: $500-$700. Jasper52 image

Take a look at the full collection and find yourself traveling back in time.

A Treasure Chest of Viking Jewelry

It would not be too surprising if when perusing through this curated catalog of Viking and Medieval jewelry you think you’re raiding a treasure chest from the 9th century. The collection is truly an adventure for the ages, so let’s dig in to our favorite picks.

Rings and pendants once worn by Viking warriors are abound in the auction. Leading the charge is a Viking warrior’s ring having heart bezel decorated with an incised floral design. For Vikings the heart stood for bravery, fortitude, loyalty, integrity – all attributes of a warrior. The warrior’s heart ring defines the very essence of his place in society and the spiritual world. The large ring in the auction carries an estimate of $250-$275.

Viking warrior’s heart ring, circa 900-1050, heart bezel with incised floral design, size 10 1/2. Estimate: $250-$275. Jasper52 image

 

Also popular in Viking culture was the coil ring with nearly three full coils with tapering terminals. This large example dates to A.D. 850-1050.

Viking coil ring, circa 850-1050, size 12. Estimate $250-$280. Jasper52 image

 

Another classic form in the sale is an ancient Viking lunar pendant, circa A.D. 850-950. Exhibiting fine patina, the crescent-shape pendant is topped with spheres representing celestial bodies. As expert navigators, the constellations signified mystery and power to Vikings. The moon was personified as Mani, brother to Sol, the Sun, and is abundantly represented in Norse literature. Lunar pendants were won as pectorals as well as suspended from belts, other clothing and horse harnesses.

Ancient Viking lunar pendant, circa 850-950, nearly 1 in. wide. Estimate: $100-$200. Jasper52 image

 

Dolphins were both feared and revered by Romans, and are highly visible in Roman mythology. A gilt bronze dolphin pendant dating to the second century is expected to sell for more than $600.

Roman dolphin pendant, second century, gilt bronze, 2 1/8 in length. Estimate: $600-$675. Jasper52 image

 

A silver bronze Jerusalem Cross pendant worn by a Crusader nearly 1,000 years ago is another star lot in the auction. The nearly 1-inch round pendant depicts five crosses in one, representing the five wounds of Christ. The form is said to have originated with Godfrey of Bouillon, a Frankish knight of the First Crusade.

Crusader’s cross pendant, silvered bronze, 11th-13th centuries, just under an inch in diameter. Estimate: $310-$350. Jasper52 image

 

Another fine medieval French pendant is a stunner. Flanked by foliage, the pendant is formed with a connecting central band detailed with a fine circle motif.

Medieval French pendant, 13th-15th centuries, gilt bronze, 1 1/8 in. diameter. Estimate: $210-$240. Jasper52 image