MUNICH – This year’s Autumn Auction at Hermann Historica oHG will take place from Nov. 3-8 and promises the usual wide range of high quality precious objects from all eras and originating from all over the world. More than 5,000 lots from all specialist areas represented by the auction house are to come under the hammer – antiquities, arms and armour, works of art, hunting antiques, orders and collectibles from all fields of history and military history.
Fine antique and modern firearms
Once again, the antique firearms section is a collector’s dream come true. The pi?ces de resistance in the Autumn Auction boast a sensational rarity and quality that are otherwise difficult to obtain on the market. These include a pair of deluxe flintlock pistols from the armoury of Tsarina Elisabeth Petrovna (1709 – 1762), which were manufactured circa 1760 in Petersburg. Magnificently crafted, with engraved and chiselled decoration of a cupid amidst trophy bundles on a gold ground, her crowned cipher and the Russian double-headed eagle struck at the breeches, the pistols are being offered for auction from 60,000 euros.From the workshop of Jacob Conrad Grossmann in Giessen, a deluxe flintlock rifle/shotgun combination from circa 1805 of noble German provenance, namely the court of Elector Wilhelm I of Hesse-Kassel (1743 – 1821) has a limit of 11,000 euros. Here again, the gun is lavishly adorned with silver inlays and carvings. Next, a very early masterpiece, an imposing double-barrelled wheellock puffer dated 1598, probably from Saxony, bears testimony to the fine art of gunmaking. Entirely covered in bone inlays, the whole weapon is embellished with hunting motifs and mythical creatures. Bids are invited from 35,000 euros for this decorative and highly interesting piece.
Moreover, exceptionally rare examples of modern arms are also available again this autumn, with one much sought-after Borchardt C93 standing out in particular. The rare self-loading pistol, one of a series of only 3,000 that were manufactured by Loewe, comes complete with its matching walnut shoulder stock and carrying case. Produced in Germany, the calibre 7.65 mm firearm is up for sale from 12,000 euros. The Gustloff Volkssturmgewehr (“VG 1 – 5”) selfloader is considered a great rarity. In 8 x 33 calibre, the weapon is in excellent overall condition and has a reserve of 8,500 euros.
Arms and armour
The antique arms and armour section promises interested buyers a variety of exceptional collectors’ items, for example an outstanding selection of rare and perfectly preserved 16th century shields. In truly wonderful condition is a leather-covered, wooden circular parade shield, made in Venice for the trabant guard serving under Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, Prince Bishop of Salzburg from 1587 – 1612. The central cartouche is intricately painted with a coat of arms in elegant hues, surrounded by opulent arabesques and floral decoration: the shield is listed at 25,000 euros. Much weightier by comparison is a heavy iron parade shield from Dresden with a quadrangular spike screwed in the centre; the circular shield is embellished with a continuous border of decorative bands in gilt brass with embossed, chased floral decoration and 16 sculpted lion’s heads. Weighing an impressive 7.56 kg, the bullet-proof shield is expected to fetch a minimum of 12,000 euros. Also up for auction, and with the same limit, is a South German or Austrian hand shield, dated 1522, of documented provenance in the inventory of the Arms Collection at Sighartstein Castle, near Salzburg. The slightly curved shield of spruce wood has a coarse linen cover on the entire outer surface over a layer of animal sinews fixed with glue; a cross with a sun burst is elaborately painted in colour on the front, while the back still bears the original, riveted shield grip.
Protecting human combatants was evidently not the armourer’s only priority during the Middle Ages, as demonstrated by a late-Gothic chamfron from Germany, circa 1500/1510. Forged in several pieces with finely roped and turned flanges, an eye-catching ridged rosette and an integrated iron socket for a plume, the chamfron has a reserve of 15,000 euros. Equally worthy of note are a beautifully made, etched cuirass bearing the Medici coat of arms, Pisa 1590, which is listed at 10,000 euros, and a German cuirassier’s close helmet, circa 1620, impressively bullet proof and almost completely intact, which is open to bids from 4,500 euros.
The range of edged weapons for sale is no less enticing, including a highly appealing German medieval hand-and-a-half sword from the second half of the 14th century. Of flattened hexagonal section with a brass inlaid Habsburg linden leaf mark, stylised wolf and cross potent in a circle on both sides, the blade will take pride of place in a new collection from 25,000 euros. Furthermore, an original South German two-hand sword from the workshop of the renowned bladesmith Diefstetter, dated circa 1550, is valued at 13,000 euros while an extremely rare, authentic German executioner’s sword and scabbard, forged in the same atelier with all parts original, is on offer for 7,500 euros; an exceptionally fine, silver-mounted deluxe hunting hanger in princely quality, likewise of German manufacture circa 1730, will come under the hammer for 15,000 euros.
Military history and historical objects
The military history and historical objects section is a veritable treasure trove of documents and collectors’ items of momentous historical significance pertaining to the outbreak and course of World War I.These include the official letter issued by the British government on August 4th, 1914 to protest against a potential violation of Belgian neutrality by the German army. The document was delivered into the hands of Gottlieb von Jagow (1863 – 1935), the State Secretary in the Foreign Office in Berlin, by the British Ambassador, Sir Edward Goschen (1847 – 1924). The meticulous, handwritten notes in the margin, so characteristic of German bureaucracy, vividly convey the escalation of events shortly before World War I broke out; the “Aide M?moire” may be acquired for 4,500 euros. Equally fascinating and opening at 1,000 euros is the document of appointment issued by Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859 – 1941) to the experienced field commander, Prince Leopold of Bavaria (1846 – 1930), as Supreme Commander of the Eastern Front and dated August 29th, 1916. Moreover, this auction offers the unique opportunity to acquire memorabilia and a complete collection of decorations bestowed on a Zeppelin commander. Bids are invited from 6,000 euros for the vivid documentation of an entire era from the estate of the highly decorated Kapit?nleutnant and Zeppelin captain Richard Frey. The personal photograph album belonging to the military pilot Ernst Udet (1896 – 1941), winner of numerous orders, accords a profound insight into the life of a World War I fighter pilot. Taken during the early autumn of 1915, the approximately 160 photographs show his comrades, some standing next to their planes, as well as various scenes of war. With its documented provenance, this impressive photographic record will certainly grace a new collection for 6,500 euros.
Lot number 4502 refers to a commendation certificate for a world-famous French pilot in World War II, awarded posthumously to Antoine Marie Vicomte de Saint-Exupry (1900 – 1944). Issued by the French Air Force on March 8th, 1950 and published in the Official Journal, this document is the only military certificate awarded to the author of “The Little Prince”, who had been reported missing in action in 1944. The document comes from the de Saint-Exupry family and is expected to fetch 4,500 euros.
In addition, significant collectors’ items from the courts of Europe’s ruling houses are offered for auction once again. For 8,000 euros apiece, collectors may purchase two uniforms from the personal wardrobe of Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austria, namely a field-grey litewka with matching trousers as Prussian general field marshal and a fur-trimmed attila with matching parade trousers as proprietor of the 16th Hussar Regiment Kaiser Franz Joseph of Austria, King of Hungary (Schleswig-Holstein). Also outstanding are the exclusive edged weapons of German provenance, like the rare and distinguished M 1886 sword for officers of the Queen Augusta Guard Grenadier Regiment No. 4, for 2,200 euros, and unusual helmets, like the exceptional czapka for an officer of the 2nd Uhlans Guard Regiment of Prussia circa 1900, for 4,900 euros.
Certain famous names and unparalleled historical artefacts from their workshops will delight buyers interested in Russian military objects. An imposing, magnificent M 1881/1909 shashka with a gilt and blued blade, which was forged in Zlatoust for officers of the Russian dragoons, is estimated at 15,000 euros. Likewise an extremely rare and finely embroidered Russian sabretache for hussar officers, in red velvet with gold braiding and the cipher “N II” for Tsar Nicholas, which was made around the turn of the twentieth century. Bidding starts from 10,000 euros for a sabre of superior quality from the Evgeny Mollo collection. Both sides of the blade are embellished with exquisite etchings of floral cartouches and military scenes, still retaining remnants of the gilding, the obverse struck with the tsarist cipher “A III” and the year “1882” on the reverse.
All prices are net prices and are to be understood plus 23 percent surcharge.
Viewing: Oct. 27-31 and Nov. 2
Hermann Historica oHG, Linprunstr. 16, D-80335 Munich
All pictures: Copyright Hermann Historica oHG 2014