A Roman Bronze Key, ca 3rd - 4th century AD

A finely formed bronze key with utilitarian function, often called a "latch lifter." The latch lifter was a primitive key, a very simple bronze, bone or ivory shaft with a flat panel or a couple of teeth on the end. In use, it was to pass through a hole in a door and fit into a latch to lift and move it. The Romans did not invent the latch lifter; it was used by other early peoples. This one is a later example, as the design is similar to keys of modern antiquity. There has been little change to the format since ancient times, as parallels to this type of key can be tracedall the way up until the early 20th century. 

Dimensions: Height 6.9 cm (2.7 inches); Mounted height 7.8 cm (3.07 inches) 

Condition:  Intact and in excellent condition overall.

Provenance:  Private NY collection, acquired from the trade in the early 1970's.


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