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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 91, Lot: 1712. Estimate $750.
Sold for $1200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

2nd Intermediate Period. Circa 1650-1550 BC. Green glazed steatite scarab (17x12mm). Base engraved with the title and name of the Treasurer Har. Cf. Martin 918, 984-1088a; Basel 525. Intact, pierced for mounting. Rare and attractive.

From the Dr. John N. Winnie Collection, purchased from Sotheby’s.

INTRO FOR COLLECTION: The Dr. John Winnie Collection of Scarabs CNG is proud to present the following selections from the Dr. John N. Winnie Collection of Scarabs, the remainder of which will be offered in electronic auction 287. The collection, assembled over some two decades, offers a highly impressive variety of inscriptions and types.

The scarab was a very popular amulet in ancient Egypt, its shape derived from the Scarabaeus Sacer, which was revered in Egypt as an embodiment of the creator god and a symbol of rebirth. Due to their regenerative power, they are often found in tombs, although their use was not limited to the funerary world. They were also used as lucky charms and worn, frequently as a ring mount, as protective amulets. This protective function is sometimes underscored by formulas invoking protection from the gods or for good luck (see lots1728-1729).

Some rare scarabs bear the name and titles of officials (see lots 1712-1714) and were used as seals. These almost exclusively date to the Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period and are important as they open a window to the very complex Egyptian administration, often being the only source for the names and titles of the officials of the period.

A wide range of materials was used in the manufacture of scarabs and amulets, including faience, carnelian, amethyst, lapis lazuli, jasper, rock crystal, ivory, wood, gold, and glass. Steatite, however, was the preferred material, due to its facility to carve (the soft steatite was afterward hardened through heating) and glaze. Many of the materials are represented below.

The following offering is particularly notable for the scaraboids carved in the shape of various animals – a duck, hedgehog, hippopotamus, baboon, frog, and fish – and the impressive quantity of them here offered should not give cause to doubt their rarity. Carving the back of the amulet into an animal added another level of protection, invoking the deity the animal was associated with and supplementing the protective force provided by the base inscription.

All of the lots below are from the Dr. John Winnie Collection with the exception of the following: 1749, 1750, 1751, and 1763.