Approximately 7,300 lots from all specialist areas represented by the auction house – antiquities, arms and armor, works of art, hunting antiques, orders and collectibles from all fields of history and military history – were auctioned at the 71st Auction of Hermann Historica oHG from 27 October to 7 November in Munich.
Fine antique and modern firearms
The fine antique and modern firearms section performed well. The highlight of the show included a deluxe pair of cased target pistols, dating from 1840/50, made by the gun maker, Carl Daniel Tanner of Hanover. The inlays were engraved with gold-inlaid decorative tendrils on the locks and furniture. The final sale price was 52,000 euros. Produced circa 1650, a Teschen wheellock rifle (tschinke) went for 24,000 euros. A flintlock pistol with gold-inlaid decorative tendrils, made in 1750 by Joseph Cano, the master gunsmith at the court of Madrid and a flintlock rifle adorned with hunting scenes from the workshop of the renowned Johann Deplan in Prague, circa 1740, both found a new owner for 13,000 euros.
An unusual Luftwaffe pistol 08 Kü, Mauser, code “41 – byf” in largely untouched condition, with two matching numbered magazines and a hardshell changed hands for 26,000 euros. A tank rifle M 1918, Mauser in 13 calibre x 92 HR with a fork support and various imperial acceptance marks – an outstanding weapon and likewise in mint condition – sold for 19,500 euros. Sold for14,000 euros, a Russian Mosin-Nagant M 1891/30 sniper rifle, with PE scope sight in 7.62 calibre x 54R. An original Fallschirmjägergewehr (paratrooper rifle) 42, 1st model (DEKO) with replaced parts, fetched 10,000 euros.
The highlights of the antiquities section revolved around ancient Egyptian sculptors. The final price was 25,000 euros for the torso of a granite statue, dating from the second millennium B.C. The body and gaze turning to face the beholder, the arms held firmly by its sides, the 23.5 centimeter tall statue boasted the characteristic contemporary beard braided beneath the chin and wig perched on the head, draped in two lengths over its shoulders. The head of a pharaoh from the same era sold for 8,500 euros. Hewn from hard, sienna-brown rock, it also wore the plaited chin beard, together with a headdress featuring the rearing Uraeus serpent, the symbolic Egyptian cobra.
The demand for masterpieces created by the skillful hands of antique armourers and blacksmiths remained high. A Chalcidian bronze helmet dating from the fourth century B.C. sold for 18,000 euros. Moreover, the lots with their documented provenance in the famous Axel Guttmann Collection of Berlin were well received by private and institutional collectors alike. A Pseudo-Corinthian bronze helmet, forged in Apulia during the fifth to the fourth century B.C. sold for 14,000 euros. A Nordic Bronze Age sword, dating from the ninth century B.C., went for 8,000 euros.
Works of art
According to tradition, the arms and armor catalog opened with works of art, a field of collecting interest that, once again in this autumn auction, held a number of precious wunderkammer objects in store. One example, dating from the first half of the 14th century, was a double receptacle made of silver, consisting of two interlocking drinking bowls that formed a closed handle when fitted together. Decorated with engraved plaques and a beaded frieze, similar examples of this very early Gothic double cup, also known as a doppelscheuer, can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, for example, sold for 19,000 euros. An engraved and lavishly gilded miniature casket by Michel Mann, stamped with the master’s signature went for 10,000 euros.
Arms and Armor
A Gothic sword from the Battle of Castillon (1453) sold for 35,000 euros.
A halberd made for the trabant guard serving under Paris Count of Lodron, Prince Bishop of Salzburg (1619 – 1653). Both sides of the leaf presented the coat of arms of the highly regarded Prince Bishop, whose judicious politics preserved the Archbishopric Salzburg from the devastation of the Thirty Years’ War, surrounded by interlaced strap-work, floral tendrils and warriors’ heads. The decorative weapon from the armory of the “Pater Patriae” fetched 13,000 euros. Forged in the workshop of Wolfgang Stantler II of Passau in the late 16th century, a two-hand sword in the form of a flamberge, which was particularly common in Switzerland and South Germany, was acquired for its opening bid of 7,500 euros.
Medieval armor worn by combatants and their steeds was not designed merely for their safety and comfort but also served as adornment. The exceptional elegance of a late Gothic sallet, forged in one piece circa 1490, made especially for jousting in the lists, the tournament helmet sold for 18,000 euros. A pair of deluxe stirrups and rowel spurs, made of wrought iron with chiseled openwork and embellished with silver inlays and silver double-headed eagles in high relief, bids soon jumped went for 17,000 euros.
Asia, Orient and Africa
The quality and diversity of the lots from Africa, the Ottoman Empire, India, Japan and China remained as compelling as ever. A shashka dated 1913 was sold to a collector for 22,000 euros. A late17th century Indian khanjar set with Burmese rubies, its jade grip adorned with lotus and iris blossoms chiseled in relief went for 9,500 euros. A Balkan Turkish miquelet carbine, its wooden stock adorned with engravings of scales, inlaid with gold and silver wire and featuring a fully sculptured dragon carved into the butt, each tooth appliquéd separately sold for 14,000 euros. A three-legged Chinese incense burner in bronze fetched 16,000 euros.
Military history and historical objects
A Russian enthusiast paid 90,000 euros for a shashka for officers, dated 1932. Forged in the bladesmith workshops of Zlatoust, the weapon, with a solid silver, enameled miniature of the Soviet Red Banner Order appliquéd on the pommel, inviting bids from 35,000 euros. This decoration for heroic military feats was awarded to some of the most distinguished Soviet commanders. Only very few comparable weapons of honor are certified. However, they share one feature; they were only ever awarded to prominent military representatives, like generals and marshals. Dating from the tsarist period and equally rare was a dagger for officers, the blade adorned with the etched tsarist cipher “NII” and the Russian double-headed eagle, with an enameled Order of St. George on the pommel. It found a new owner for 16,500 euros. A sabre M 1827 for officers of the Russian cavalry, forged in Zlatoust and etched on both sides sold for 10,500 euros. The blade bore a representation of the Treaty of Peace between Russia and Persia on the reverse and the Cyrillic inscription “For Turkmantschai 10th February 1828” on the obverse.
The personal possessions of King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845 – 1886) remained unabated. With its long, ebonised wooden handle, his large personal magnifying glass had survived intact since it was well protected in its black leather, two-piece case, embossed with a crowned cipher “L” in gold sold for 9,000 euros. Memorabilia from Austria’s imperial house have invariably enjoyed enormous popularity. Handwritten envelopes from Empress Elisabeth addressed to the Kaiser during the 1860s and 70s, which were a gift from Archduchess Marie Valerie of Austria to her niece, Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria; the envelopes now changed hands for 2,600 euros. The original signature of Kaiser Franz Joseph I (1830 – 1916), in Hungarian, which is particularly uncommon, graced the patent of nobility issued to the renowned Hungarian journalist, Moriz Gans von Lúdassy (1825 – 1885). In beautiful condition, the colors still vibrant, the parchment sold for 2,500 euros.
Pieces from the Kingdom of Bavaria also attracted much attention, including a helmet M 1852 for enlisted men and non-commissioned officers of the Royal Bavarian Hartschiere Life Guards, which sold for its starting price of 9,000 euros. The imposing helmet – the large parade issue – featured a nickel-silver skull crowned with a statant lion and bore the Bavarian coat of arms surmounted by a crown. A white and blue full-dress uniform of the same Guards, the front panel embroidered with the grand star of the Bavarian House Order of St. Hubert in gold and silver bullion went for 10,000 euros.
Some pieces of aviation history were up for auction. At 25,000 euros, the winning bid for an airship cup, a goblet of honour awarded for successful aerial strikes was10,000 euros. Certified as awarded to Obersteuermann Adam Seibert on 20/21 March 1917 in recognition of the attack on Mudros, the silver-wrought goblet stood on ball feet; in addition to the occasion for the tribute, it featured a representation of the god Thor wielding his hammer, modelled on the sculpture by Fritz Behn (1878 – 1970) of Munich. A merit award for navy pilots, presented to Leutnant der Reserve Erdmann on 10 May 1918 according to the inscription found a buyer for 11,500 euros. Only very seldom were such decorations for valour awarded, the top piece in bronze in this case depicting two eagles writhing in combat.
Orders and Insignia
Decorations from Russia were also auctioned. An elaborate, red enameled, gold Cross 1st Class with Swords of the Order of St. Anna, sold for 40,000 euros. Specialist buyers and collectors had been eagerly awaiting the sale of an Imperial and Royal Order of the White Eagle, dated 1863. In his day, the St Petersburg jeweler Johann Wilhelm Keibel (1788 – 1862) was the sole supplier authorized to produce the solid gold order with the cross of the White Eagle Order of Poland in translucent red and white enamel, mounted on the black enameled Russian double-headed eagle. Probably one of the most beautiful of the 19th century, the outstanding order decoration – this exemplar presumed to be the last one created by the master – went on to fetch 27,000 euros. A mid-18th century Imperial Order of the Saint and Orthodox Grand Prince Alexander Nevsky went for 20,000 euros.
A cross of the highest Prussian order for military achievements, the Pour le Mérite, which may be considered unique, also found a buyer in the land of the double-headed eagle for 33,000 euros. The order cross of the legendary decoration for bravery, a magnificent, museum-quality piece of cultural and historical significance, was offered for sale in the typical production method of 1870/71. A mere 38 orders are known to have been awarded for outstanding achievements in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71; as a result of the strict return obligation, very few examples are still in private ownership.
From now on, the Breast Star to the Order of the Black Eagle, 1842, of historical significance as it was the personal decoration belonging to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819 – 1861), the husband of Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819 – 1901), will take pride of place in a German collection. On 30 January 1842, Prince Albert was admitted to the former knightly order by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and awarded Prussia’s highest decoration. The eight-rayed, faceted silver star depicted the eagle surrounded by the order motto “SUUM CUIQUE” – To each his own – and the double laurel branch engraved in gold on white enamel. Manufactured by the orders jewelers Rundell, Bridge & Rundell of London, who were in business only until 1842, and engraved with his personal insignia sold for 13,500 euros.
*All prices are net prices and are to be understood plus 23 percent surcharge.
About Hermann Historica
Hermann Historica oHG, Munich, is one of the world’s leading auction houses in the special areas: antique arms and armours, hunting collectibles, antiquities, orders as well as objects from history and military history. Founded as early as almost 50 years ago by Count Erich Klenau von Klenova, Baron von Janowitz in Nuremberg as an auction house for coins, from the very beginning also orders and decorations as well as objects of military history were put up to auction. In the early seventies the range of the auctions was broadened by the category of “antique arms and armour”. The wide range was soon accepted by international collectors and museums. In 1982 the present owners renamed the auction house Hermann Historica oHG. www.hermann-historica.com
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