Munich – On March 14-15 Hermann Historica GmbH is launching its 2019 auction year with a bang: three outstanding special catalogues are coming under the hammer. Alongside artifacts of royal and imperial provenance, a vast estate from the renowned von Leonrod family and a selection of noteworthy collectors' items from five centuries of gunmaking are being offered for sale.
Fine antique and modern firearms
A signed flintlock double turnover rifle from the Salzburg workshop of Cornelius Klett, whose works are sought after by prestigious collectors, is gaining interest among collectors. Produced circa 1660, the turnover is surprisingly light, weighing just 2.48 kg, features fine engraving with decorative tendrils on the locks and is now open to bids from 25,000 euros. Of earlier date, a wheellock puffer made by Zacharias Herold of Dresden for the Saxon Electorate Palace Life Guard presents a completely different aesthetic. Dated 1587, the premium quality officer's issue is highly unusual as a mere twelve puffers of the same type are known to exist. The weapon is chiseled and partially gilt, the wooden full stock is covered in engraved and blackened bone inlays, while the silver appliqués are embellished with etched tendrils. This piece is expected to fetch at least 18,000 euros. Also attracting its fair share of attention is a solid metal flintlock shotgun by Johann Glett of Passau, a descendent of the gunmaking dynasty of Glett or Klett, originally from Suhl. Made in 1680/90, the weapon has a scene with hunters and hounds engraved on the lock, is signed in several places and the iron trigger guard is chiseled with acanthus ornaments. Its new owner will have to part with a minimum of 17,000 euros.
Moreover, the modern arms section holds a variety of prodigiously appealing rarities in store, such as the prototype of a marked Nickl Mauser pistol that includes a non-proof mark certificate. Developed by Joseph Nickl at Mauser, the weapon never went into production at the company. However, the construction was sold to the Czechoslovak government in 1921, where it was made as model 1922 for the Czechoslovak army. Once again, listed at 16,000 euros, the price reflects the rarity of this inimitable piece. Also seldom found on the market is a calibre 7.63 mm firearm, a Schwarzlose Model 1898, the original, blue-black finish polished to a shine and the magazine stamped with matching numbers. The technically advanced pistol, here with a reserve of 8,000 euros, was progressively forced out of the market in Germany by its rival, the Mauser C96. Lastly, a much sought-after calibre 7.65 mm Borchardt C93 from 1896 with matching shoulder stock, one of a numbered series of only 1,100 that were manufactured by Loewe of Germany, may be acquired for 12,000 euros.
Objects of royal and imperial provenance
Carefully chosen officer's gifts, some extremely valuable, were a testament to the deep bonds that developed among the regiments and their superiors. A particularly imposing gift of honor in jeweler's quality was presented to Prince Heinrich of Prussia (1862 – 1929) by the officers and officials of the 1st Geschwader to mark his departure as commander. Having held this position from 1900 to 1903, the brother of the German Kaiser was given a ceremonial send-off with a fabulous model of his flagship, SMS Kaiser Friedrich III, which was made of solid silver at a scale of 1:100. Every last detail of the vessel was faithfully reproduced in this precious metal model by the silversmith M. Fadderjahn of Berlin. A worthy keepsake for the Kaiser's brother, the stunning work measures a remarkable 125 by 20 centimeters, stands 54.5 centimeters tall and boasts incredible attention to detail. All elements are replicas of the original, from the guns with their operating controls to the anchors on dainty woven chains, the ship's boats with their inboard rudders or the ensign flying on the mast to signal the presence of Prince Henry as admiral of the imperial navy, right through to the bust of the eponymous Kaiser Friedrich III in gilt silver, as the figurehead on the bow. With an asking price of 200,000 euros, the vessel is the uncontested pièce de résistance of the 78th auction and the highlight of the catalogue, "Selected collectors' items of royal and imperial provenance", comprising 25 objects.
The catalogue composes mementos from European and non-European ruling houses. Among them is an elaborate deluxe rifle, inlaid in silver and mother-of-pearl, the wooden stock carved in half relief, that originally belonged to Kaiser Ferdinand III of Austria (1608 – 1657). Produced circa 1650 in the Viennese workshop of the 'master of the animal-head scroll', it is now valued at 50,000 euros. Buyers will certainly also be interested in a no less skillfully designed, deluxe percussion double rifle by the celebrated Prague gunmaker, Anton Vinzent Lebeda (1797 – 1857), which was the final piece of a large commission to be delivered to none other than Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austria (1830 – 1916). Bids from 48,000 euros are welcome for the chiseled and gold-inlaid rifle. The depictions on a distinctive hunting hanger are devoted to falconry, the noblest and arguably most aristocratic of all forms of hunting. Presented by Kaiserin Auguste Victoria (1858 – 1921), the wife of the last German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, to her son, Prince Adalbert of Prussia (1884 – 1948), the hunting weapon is an incomparable piece that will doubtless grace a new collection for a minimum bid of 50,000 euros
An illustrious estate – Freiherr von Leonrod
Throughout history, magnificent orders, documents and decorations have been awarded by regents and commanders to express their profound appreciation of services rendered or victories attained, but also to mark extreme suffering. It is a rare stroke of luck that these records, documenting the history of one family, have been preserved in their estate for decades, or centuries even. That they are now being sold as a group at one auction is an event of such singularity that it may hardly be credited.
Hermann Historica was granted the enormous honor of being permitted to offer a large estate from the significant von Leonrod dynasty, whose fortunes are inextricably linked with the history of Bavaria. Whole generations of eminently honorable careers in the military, the civil service and the clergy can be traced in this unrivaled collection of documents, decorations and orders, as well as personal photographs, uniforms and helmets from the family archive. Bids are now invited for a plethora of rarities from a special catalogue with approximately 180 lots, of which around 100 objects, including 15 Grand Crosses, are the personal possessions of the Lord Chamberlain to the last Bavarian King, Wilhelm Freiherr von Leonrod (1865 – 1943).
The significance, dedicated service and achievements of the noble von Leonrod family in state and society are also recorded in unique fashion, like that of Leopold Freiherr von Leonrod (1829 – 1905), the Bavarian Minister of Justice of many years' standing, who introduced the German Civil Code and the land registry system, including the establishment of land registry offices, throughout the federal state, or Ludwig Freiherr von Leonrod (1906 – 1944), who fought in the resistance against Hitler, in addition to the achievements of female members of the family. The group includes a number of exceptionally rare awards that would assuredly grace any museum collection, such as the Grand Cross set with Diamonds and Swords on Ring in gold of the Bulgarian Order of St. Alexander from the reign of Tsar Ferdinand I (1861 – 1948), which was awarded to Ludwig's father, Wilhelm Freiherr von Leonrod. At this point in time, no comparable group of orders is known to exist in terms of exquisite workmanship and content. Although estimated at 10,000 euros, this price is certain to be exceeded. Wrought in outstanding jeweler's quality, the Grand Cross set of the Bavarian Merit Order of St. Michael in its presentation case and the Grand Cross set of the Order of the Württemberg Crown are sure of a warm reception. Both decorations were also awarded to Wilhelm Freiherr von Leonrod and have a catalogue price of 8,500 euros each.
Please note: all prices quoted are net prices and do not include the 25% premium.
In 2019, Hermann Historica will hold live auctions in the months of March, May, October and December, as well as at least three online auctions.
- Live auction: 14 – 15 March 2019
- Online auction: 8 – 10 April 2019
About Hermann Historica
Hermann Historica GmbH, 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 GmbH, and at least two auctions are conducted annually which address more than 40,000 clients worldwide. Particularly sensational are the numerous objects from the possessions of noble houses, notably those of the German and Austrian imperial family, which continue to attract international attention, the auctions dispersing complete collections such as the sale of the hunting treasures of Castle Fuschl in Salzburg, as well as the much-noticed sale of the unique collection Karsten Klingbeil of ”Arms and Armour” and the “Collection of Antique Greek and Roman Arms” of Axel Guttmann, the liquidation of the Nümbrecht Museum of Historical Technology, the worldwide biggest auctions of "Children’s Dreams on Wheels", the pedal cars of the Centre of Extraordinary Museums in Munich. www.hermann-historica.com.