Date: 20 July 2004
Selling to a telephone bidder at Bonhams' sale of Highly Important Antiquities, the Constable-Maxwell Cage-Cup fetched £2,646,650 ($4,903,182).It was once used as a lamp and was carved from a solid piece of glass.
Following the sale, Joanna van der Lande, head of antiquities at Bonhams, said, "The Cage-Cup is exceptionally fragile, cut from a single block of glass. It would have been clear but has become iridescent due to a reaction between the earth it was buried in and the glass. Its probable use was as an oil lamp suspended by a collar around the rim. It's really a very highly prized piece."
Bonhams continued the auction with another world-record price being achieved for a gold figure pendant. In a very strong sale with many bidders contesting the items, a final bid of £534,650 ($990,535) was achieved, setting a new world record price for a pre-Columbian object sold at auction. The last time this object was sold it fetched $563,500 in New York.
Van der Lande added, "It is highly unusual for pre-Columbian items to be sold in London, and when records in this area are broken it is usually in New York. So something truly exciting and significant happened in this antiquity sale."