Only 50 of the magnificent helmets of the Mexican palace guard under the unfortunate regency of the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I (1864-1867) were ever made, and the starting price of EURO 20,000 had already indicated that this helmet would fetch a good price. Then on the day of the auction, a bidders' duel took place in the auction hall, over the telephone, and for the first time, live on the Internet, to be settled in favour of an "online" bidder from Mexico for EURO 50,000 (approx. $65,000).
There was also a remarkable battle for possession of the winner's loving cup for the XVth German Marksman Championship in Munich in 1906, donated by the local Josef Sedlmayr zum Franziskanerkeller Brewery. The gilded silver goblet, bearing a silver view of the city of Munich mounted on a lapis lazuli ball on its lid, went from a starting price of EURO 4,500, to the trade for a final bid of EURO 40,000 (approx $52,000).
Russian bidders reached the exceptional price of EURO 25,000 (~$32,500) for a Russian dagger (kinjal) manufactured at Zlatoust around 1900, several times its valuation of EURO 4,000 (~$5,200). A French saber for officers of the Mounted Chasseurs of Napoleon's Young Guard (1812-1815) offered at EURO 12,000 (~$15,600) went for a suspected record price of EURO 21,000 (~$27,300).
Ernst-Ludwig Wagner, co-proprietor of Hermann Historica summed up the recent fall auction as, "Once again, we had a very good auction with excellent results and high bids in every category of collectable pieces offered."
Antique and historical weapons have been a house specialty since the early days of Hermann Historica, and the 53rd auction gave further proof of their flair for this field. From the renowned Guttmann Collection, a sensational early Bronze Age horde discovery in southeast Europe from the third century BC, four ceremonial silver axes, virtually unique for this period, 23 copper hatchets, and a heavy copper axe, was sold at EURO 38,000 (~$49,400). From the same collection as the axes and hatchets, a Corinthian bronze helmet from the late seventh century BC started at EURO 23,000 (~$29,900) and found a new owner at EURO 34,000 (~$44,200).
There was the same level of interest shown for a rare Illyrian bronze helmet from southeast Europe in the fifth century BC that was sold for EURO 21,000 (~$27,300). A Chinese bronze sword with a gold-inlaid grip went for the same final price.
A rare black-white three-quarter armor from Nuernberg around 1540/50, of high quality craftsmanship and in very beautiful condition, went to a private collector for EURO 32,000 (~$41,600). Only a very few wooden shields have survived the centuries, and so they are correspondingly desirable museum pieces and rarely offered for sale. One of these rare shields was offered as lot number 2139, and bids for this crossbowman's pavise from the Swiss Winterthur reached a final price of EURO 22,000 (~$28,600)
As more than 1200 of the 1400 firearms offered were sold, the auction of "Five Centuries of Firearms" was a decided success. Among others, final bids for a Swedish field gun barrel from 1630 hit EURO 15,500 (~$20,150), a southern German wheel lock Stutzen (short rifle) from 1650 topped EURO 23,000 (~$29,900), and a 1900 Luger pistol from the Kingdom of Serbia sold for EURO 18,000 (~$23,400).
One of the high points of the firearms auction was a collection of 132 Webley revolvers and pistols; almost every piece was sold at a good price. For example a Webley Fosbery Model 1903 Target went for EURO 18,500 (~$24,050) and a cased Webley W.S. Target Model 12 for EURO 12,000 (~$15,600).
All together, 2,300 collectable objects were offered for bid at this year's Hermann Historica autumn auction. The final bids received for all lots may already be viewed on the Internet at www.hermann-historica.com. All final bids are net prices and exclude the 23 percent premium.
The coming spring auction by Hermann Historica oHG in Munich will take place in Munich in April 2008. Consignments will be accepted immediately. For more information, log on to the Herman Historica Web site at www.hermann-historica.com.