Between 20 and 24 May, the Munich-based auction house Hermann Historica is hosting a five-day auction where rare militaria, historical collectibles and antique items come up for sale.

The German auction begins with firearms from five different centuries. Among the 832 exclamations are several particularly exciting items, such as this pair of rifles made by Joseph Reisinger in 1820 in Austrian Wels. The locking plates are richly decorated with engraved details, and the gun's ignition mechanism was considered incredibly new at the time – the lock having been invented only about twenty years earlier. Like the British gunsmiths, the Austrian manufacturers were particularly skilled at firearms that were fired using chemicals, and they developed new ignition systems in the 19th century.

The following two days of the auction are dedicated to ancient weapons, hunting, and arts and crafts, and it consists of 1,110 lots. This late-archaic vase from the ancient Greek area of ​​Attica is adorned with decor in black (eventually, the colour red came to replace much of the black in Greek vase painting). The large vessels’ purpose was often to mix wine.

Another exciting lot is this unique bronze helmet, which was manufactured north of the Black Sea during the 300s BC. The helmet's cheekbone protection is a strong example of the spread of the ancient Greek design language ​​across the world.

This medieval Viking charm has been dated to the 9th century and represents a stylised bird of prey. The charms are made of hollow silver plate with details of granules and filigree thread.

Until the railway was invented, it was not only troublesome but also dangerous to travel – and one had to expect and prepare for the assault of robbers. To avoid this, the coachman attached their money under the trolley in a so-called ‘cowboy’ box, to make it harder to steal.  

In addition, there are plenty of glossy weapons, militaria and arts and crafts originating from overseas countries such as Japan, China and India, and also ancient objects from the Ottoman and Persian realms. Around the year 1800, a pair of precious gold-plated daggers was made. These medieval daggers are often called ‘kards’ in the Persian Empire already in the Middle Ages.

Another glossy weapon that Hermann Historia is auctioning out is this extravagant sword, also called rapir, which was manufactured around 1620 in Germany. The elegant and elaborately designed s-shaped curved crossguard is simply exquisite.

Among the armour and other protection the house is auctioning is an etched and gilded Morion, a special type of helmet that came into circulation in the 16th century. This helmet belonged to a member of Kristian I of Sachsen's own bodyguard during the end of the 16th century. In keeping with the antique fashion of the time, the helmet has details depicting the mythical heroes Mucius Scaevola and Marcus Curtius.

On 23 May, the auction continues with 902 items under the heading ‘Orders & Military Historical Collectibles’ (including Germany until 1918). An interesting piece among the often lavishly designed medals of the auction is this elegant order from Chula Chom Klao, which was instituted on 16 November 1873 by Rama V of Siam, in conjunction with the 90th anniversary of the ruling Chakri dynasty, which is still awarded today.

This miniature portrait was a personal gift from the Russian Tsar Nicholas II in 1898. The portrait is believed to have been given to Frans I of Liechtenstein, it was completed by the important miniature painter Johannes Zehngraf who also worked for Fabergé. The beaded frame is believed to have been made by the same jeweller.

Another personal item is a summer hat decorated with feathers belonging to Elisabeth of Austria. The Empress attached great importance to her exterior and preferred to wear the colours black, white, grey and purple. After her son, Crown Prince Rudolf, committed suicide in 1889, Elisabeth only bore black.

24 May, the last day of the auction, focuses on Germany from 1919 onwards. Of these 787 pieces, this deciphering machine is today the most exciting. The technology developed during the Second World War and after the British mathematician Alan Turing solved the code for the rotor key machine ENIGMA in 1941, the German Wehrmacht needed a new key feature. The result was the key device 41, which was also called the ‘Hitler machine’. By the end of 1944, there were about 500 copies of the machine; most of them were destroyed during the war.  

Explore all lots at Hermann Historica here