Once again excellent results were achieved in all categories at Hermann Historica
arms and armour, arts and crafts objects, hunting collectibles, orders, military objects and antiquities in the autumn sale. A total of approximately 3,500 selected collectors´ items were offered for bidding from 24 to 29 October.
A sensational 110,000 euros was realised for an Ottoman dagger with richly decorated blade from the 16th century and an elaborate greenish-black nephrite grip which was attributed to the 18th century. The gold-inlaid khanjar with ornamental tendrils was acknowledged as an extremely rare object. It had been modestly introduced at 4,000 euros, the numerous requests regarding lot number 2176, however, proved in advance that the assessment of the auction house was conservative. In the end a European collector won the bidding battle between museums, collectors and antiquities dealers from all over the world.
The increased interest in oriental collectors´ items is not a new phenomenon, said Robert Weis, Head of Department Antique Arms and Armour at Hermann Historica, for several years the prices for rare and precious objects have taken hold at a very high level.
A tendency that was confirmed when further lots from the Ottoman cultural region were called up. The interest was similarly strong in a beautifully decorated ceremonial sabre in the Ottoman-European style, a present from the Turkish Sultan Mahmud II (1785 1839) to King Otto I of Greece (1815 1867). Preciously and elaborately crafted with fire-gilding, silver inlays and an ivory grip, the estimate for this unique and historically important weapon was set at 30,000 euros. It was not until reaching the significant sum of 43,000 euros that this weapon changed hands. In this case a museum had to acknowledge defeat against an international collector.
Edged weapons set with corals and turquoises had been remarkably sought after in the last auctions as well. An Ottoman kilij from the mid-19th century with the entire surface of the copper hilt set with turquoise cabochons and carved drop-shaped corals was introduced at 12,000 euros. The winning bid however was a pleasant 22,000 euros.
Arms and armour
A real collectors´ item was to be found among the edged weapons in the category of Antique Arms and Armour. Calling up the extraordinarily beautiful Central European medieval sword from the 13th century, even the auctioneer was carried away with enthusiasm. Finely balanced, with a Christian inscription and an extremely rare pommel type, this outstanding example of medieval craftsmanship was bid up from 5,000 to 30,000 euros within minutes.
Another very beautiful object in this chapter was a burgonet from Innsbruck, circa 1525. Decorated with finely etched floral ornaments and retaining the original linen lining, this helmet impressed with its excellent state of preservation. The audience agreed with this, thus this beautiful object was sold at its estimated price of 10,000 euros.
Collection of edged weapons
On 26 October an impressive collection of edged weapons including swords, rapiers and daggers was offered for bidding in an abundance and quality which could only derive from a royal armoury. The exclusive collection of a total of 58 extremely finely chiselled iron works from the possessions of a Spanish noble family was almost completely sold. To the real surprise of all a South European left-hand dagger was, with an estimate of 6,000,
worth 17,500 euros to its new owner. Equally pleasing were the results for a German rapier with gilt hilt from around 1580 that could be acquired at its starting price of 16,000 euros, as well as a uniquely finely chiselled Spanish cup-hilt rapier from 1650. For this rapier with fine floral openwork and engraved iron cup 12,500 euros starting price 8,000 euros had to be paid.
High-quality antique helmets in best condition were sought after as usual during this autumn sale. An outright rarity that came up for auction was the Roman legionary's helmet of the Montefortino/Buggenum type with cheek-pieces from the 1st century AD. Introduced at 28,000 euros the hammer only fell at a price of 38,000 euros for this object that impresses by its completeness and excellent condition. For its starting price of 10,000 euros the rare, precious and significant Roman gold ring of an officer of the Legio XI from the 2nd/3rd century AD found a new owner. On top of the heavy band it is set with a cameo made from yellowish layer agate surrounded by filigree beads that is decorated with the cut inscription 'LEG XI CL PF'. Emperor Claudius conferred the honorific title 'Claudia Pia Fidelis' dutiful and faithful to this legion. For 8,500 euros starting price 6,000 euros another piece of jewellery from the antique military was sold. The rare silver belt fittings of a Roman officer with decorative crosses prove that the fittings belonged to an early Christian in a high military position.
Orders and militaria
It was hardly even offered for bidding at a starting price of 18,000 euros when the Spanish Santiago jewellery decorated with diamonds and enamel from the 17th century was bidden up to 44,000 euros. The Order of Santiago, this exemplar with aristocratic provenance, is the large Christian order of knights of the Iberian kingdoms. Formally institutionalised in 1170, it served to protect the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
Among the offered Russian objects during this auction a St. George standard from the 1st Sumsky hussar regiment from 1851 aroused notable interest. Made from linen and silk, with finest silver passement embroidery of the crowned Russian double-headed eagle above the date 1651 1851, this extremely rare standard was sold at more than the tenfold of its starting price of 3,000 euros that is for 36,000 euros.
Equally successfully sold was a richly illustrated photo album of a fighter pilot officer who served at the Western front in the First World War. The album was introduced at 3,500 euros. For this matchless historical documentation of a German fighter pilot´s career during the First World War the hammer fell when reaching the sensational amount of 40,000 euros.
The interest in memorabilia from the Bavarian royal family was as high as expected in this jubilee year. Especially objects from the personal possessions of King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845 1886) were highly south after. A splendid Jeanne d'Arc seal, a present from the d'Orléans family, was sold at auction for 21,000 euros, starting price 14,000 euros. The silver, partly gilt seal with malachite and enamel shows the cut mirror monogram L under the royal Bavarian crown with laurel wreath. For 20,000 euros each a personal seal ring with mystical secret signs made from gold, enamel and soapstone and a bronze casting of his right hand, which had been made in addition to a death mask, were sold. While the ring had been offered at a starting price of 14,000 euros, the casting of the hand was bidden up starting from 2,600 euros.
Fine antique and modern firearms
The variety of valuable firearms offered in this 63rd auction was once again very extensive. A wheellock Puffer for enlisted men of the Saxon Electoral Guard, dated 1564, was much appreciated. The firearm engraved with the coat of arms of the sovereign was sold at the starting price of 9,500 euros. A finely decorated wheellock rifle from Suhl, 1st half of the 17th century, with a stock lavishly carved with hunting scenes, soldiers, trophies and tendrils, changed hands for 8,000 euros. 6,800 euros had to be paid for a pair of flintlock pistols crafted around 1660, from the workshop of the Strasbourg gunsmith Daniel Krauss. The collection of weapons of Prince Salm-Reifferscheidt from Dyck Castle is the proven provenance for these extraordinarily elegant and early flintlock pistols.