In their 76th auction, Hermann Historica offers incomparable examples of early military history, historical orders, and memorabilia of European sovereigns’ courts to fascinate the audience.
About 6500 lots from Herman Historica’s different categories - antiquities, old weapons, handicrafts, hunting gear, medals and historic military objects - will be up for auction at this year's spring auction from May 1st to May 11th. The selection of historic treasures from different regions being offered is wide-ranging and of extremely high quality.
Among the antiquities, collectors will find unique, finely crafted objects - some of which have been documented in well-known collections for many years and been made the gifted hands of archaic blacksmiths. One of the outstanding lots is an Illyrian bronze helmet, from early 4th to 5th century BC, with a chased line of dots on the cheek and face opening. Made from a single piece and with a starting price of 12,000 euros, the helmet does not only impress as an immensely-crafted piece but also impresses with its fine preservation.
The Seljuk incense burner in bronze, with a body made of three identical faces, is a wonderful example of Oriental craftsmanship. Facing the viewer from all sides, the faces are strikingly worked out with puffed cheeks, pointy chins, eyes, noses, and mouths. Stylized crosses also point to an area of tension between Christian and Oriental culture. This piece is in excellent condition and can enrich a collection, starting from 18,000 euros.
In the renowned Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, there is a comparison piece to this Gothic interior door, which was made around 1400 in the same city. On the front, the impressive medieval work presents diagonally overlapped iron bands with raised, flower-shaped rivet heads. Metal sheets alternate showing the coat of arms of Nuremberg, while the heraldic eagles and lions fill the lozenge-shaped spaces. This masterpiece welcomes bids from 9,000 euros.
Another magnificent work up for auction is that of the finest watchmaking of recent times. This watch by Ulysse Nardin, model astrolabe Galileo Galilei, has 21 features including month and date display, zodiac signs, displays of various planetary and star orbits, solar and lunar eclipses, and was recorded in the 1989 Guinness Book of Records as the wristwatch with the largest number of additional mechanisms. For this true marvel of technology, auction bids start at 19,000 euros.
Every detail of the decorative German tournament armour of the Augsburg type - from the second half of the 16th century - was meticulously thought out, from it’s functionality to its artful craft. With the best possible protection and maximum mobility, medieval armour should provide its wearer, and this lot that is up for auction is no exception. Flanges were made to deter attacks from the body, whilst the workmanship in the lames allowed the bending of the joints. Completed with the helmet, the composite armour can be bought from 25,000 euros.
Comparisons to the German sword from the first decades of the 17th century can be found in the military museums of Stockholm and Paris. Particularly striking on the blackened ground are fine inlays of decorative silver flower tendrils, cherubim on the knuckle-bow hilt, and the pommel with eight ridges. Today this technique of damascening is barely mastered. This inlay work by skilled metal artists is only found in high-quality objects, which makes this sword, and very special collector’s object value at 14,000 euros.
Attractive in terms of quality and diversity are the lots on offer from China, Japan, India, the Ottoman Empire and Africa. The selection of rare and sublime lots in this chapter leads with a major Chinese bronze ferrule with gold and silver inlays dating from the Warring States period in the 4th and 3rd century BC. The piece is also richly decorated with stylized bird heads. Bids for this piece start at 27,000 euros.
Objects documenting events of their times, are not only collectors’ items, but are significantly and historically valuable, and deserve special attention. Autographed by the great Prussian King Frederick II, the donation certificate for the order cross of the (tr.) "noble secular convent St. Marien zu Minden" of 1778 is a rare and beautiful document. The parchment document has been artfully created with foundation text and hand-coloured illustrations of the Order's insignia. This piece available from 12,500 euros.
Among the treasures on offer, this spring from the personal possessions of European sovereigns is a retractable telescope, engraved with a monogram, royal crown and laurel wreath from the private use of King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845 - 1886). With a quintuple barrel made of brass, the telescope can be extended to a total length of 55 centimetres. Bids start at 7,500 euros for this striking antiquity. A reference piece is kept in Hohenschwangau Castle, from where the king watched the construction progress of Neuschwanstein Castle until his death in 1886.
Singular historical documents taken from big names lead the selection of Russian military objects. Collectors of these will be pleased by the extremely rare edged weapons that include the 1844 pallash with a double-edged blade, and fire-gilded brass hilt with three bars. Made in Solingen by P. W. Knecht, it was handed over by Tsar Nicholas I of Russia (1796 - 1856) to Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt (1780 - 1856). Bids start at 15,000 euros.
Selected medals and badges of honour can once again be presented to the interested specialist audience at the spring auction, with many of lots being unique and of museum quality. Among them are phaleristic sensations, such as the First-Class Order of Saint Anne with diamonds which has undoubtedly been regarded as one of the best Russian order sets on the market for decades. The translucent red enamelled cross on engraved gold background with the finest enamel painting is extremely rare. This rarity and the conservation is reflected in the price, which starts at 30,000 euros.
A firearm collector's dream is completed with the antique firearms section of the sale. Unquestionably of value and elegance to its owner, and his position to honour a pair of incomparable luxury flintlock pistols from the armoury of the Prince of Lobkowitz. Made in 1730 in the Prague workshop of the extremely talented Paul Ignazius Poser, each metal element was finished by the no less famous, Franz Matzendorf with the finest ironwork. 60,000 euros is the asking price for these masterpieces.
The auctions of Hermann Historica will take place on May 1st to 11th in Munich. The exhibition is open to visitors on April 26th, 27th, 30th and on May 7th from 2 to 6 pm CET.