Christie’s called the Crosby Garrett helmet — so named for the village where it was found, about 45 miles south of the Scottish border — an “extraordinary example of Roman metalwork at its zenith” and said it dates to the late 1st to 2nd century A.D.
“The Crosby Garrett helmet sets itself apart by virtue of its beauty, workmanship, and completeness, particularly the face mask, which was found virtually intact,” Christie’s says. “In addition, the remarkable Phrygian-style peak surmounted by its elaborate bronze griffin crest appears unprecedented.”
The helmet is made of two sections: the tall pointed helmet and the face mask. The latter has openwork eyes, which would have allowed the wearer to see during the cavalry sports events — known as hippika gymnasia — when it would have been used.
The face has incised eyelashes on the upper and lower lids, herringbone eyebrows, and pierced nostrils, all framed by three rows of corkscrew curls.
At the peak of the cap is a small griffin, seated with its wings outstretched, revealing the incised feather detail. Its right paw is raised and rests on the rim of a small amphora.
Colorful streamers may have been attached to the helmet when it was worn, Christie’s says.