Image: Roman bronze helmet
Matt Dunham  /  AP
A Christie's employee poses for photographs behind a Roman bronze helmet found with the use of a metal detector, at the auction house's offices in London, Monday, Sept. 13, 2010.
updated 9/13/2010 11:11:55 AM ET 2010-09-13T15:11:55

The helmet is topped with a griffin. The face mask features arched eyebrows and an ancient gaze, framed by curls. And it's up for auction.

Considered an extraordinary example of Roman metalwork, the mask was discovered in a field in northwestern England by a treasure-hunter with a metal detector. It's scheduled to be auctioned Oct. 7 by Christie's, with a guide price of between $242,000 to $363,000.

Georgiana Aitken, head of antiquities at Christie's, called the helmet, which dates from the late 1st century, "a hugely important discovery." Christie's said Monday it's one of only three similar examples found in Britain over the last 250 years.

Christie's said it wasn't intended for combat, but for the Roman army's cavalry sports events.

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