57th auction of the Hermann Historica oHG, Munich

The renowned auction house will hold its annual spring sale from 20th to 30th April 2009. Offered for bidding are more than 7,300 collectibles. Among the lots are ancient and modern swords, historical muzzle loaders and contemporary hunting rifles, memorabilia from the Russian Tsar’s court and other royal houses as well as items documenting the everyday life of the armed forces of many countries and centuries.

Munich, 10th March 2009 – Hermann Historica, one of the world’s leading auction houses for antiques, crafts, historical arms, hunting gear, and militaria, will launch its spring sale on 20th April. The first two days of the auction centre on firearms of five centuries. A highlight in this section will be a pair of elaborately worked and finely decorated flintlock pistols from the Manufacture de Versailles from around 1800 (lot 510; starting price 30,000 €). The guns were made by Nicolas Noel Boutet (1761-1833), who began to work for the Versailles Arms Manufactory in 1793. Only one year later he had become the head of department for luxury guns. The pair at hand features not only barrels richly inlaid with gold stars and vase shaped decorations on a fine matt background, but also intricate floral engravings, cut flintlocks and three stamp marks which identify the pistols as original works by Nicolas Boutet.

Also up for sale is a pair of officer’s flintlock pistols from 1831 (lot 519; 35,000 €). The weapons are of Russian origin and are adorned with fire-gilt bands on barrel and stock as well as engraved flintlocks. The guns come with the original wooden case and an almost entirely preserved set of accessories. Among the lots is also a wheellock puffer for enlisted men of the Saxon Prince-Elector’s Palace Life Guards (lot 440). The striking, arsenal stored weapon dates back to 1587 and is in outstanding condition. It is decorated with the Saxon Electorate’s coat of arms and has a burled, blackened fruitwood stock with fine bone inlays; the puffer is expected to fetch at least 18,000 €.

Edged Weapons
This year’s spring auction also features a stunning selection of swords which bear witness to the excellent craftsmanship of ancient swordsmiths. Taking centre-stage is a Viking sword from the 9th/10th century with vestiges of fine silver and copper wire inlays on the pommel and quillons (lot 3646; 15,000 €). Another fine work is a Nasrid sword from Southern Spain from the second half of the 15th century, which is introduced at a starting price of 25,000 € (lot 2733). One side of the blade is decorated with the coat of arms of the Nasrid dynasty of the Kingdom of Granada (1232-1492).
From the same period comes an Italian cinquedea from the Emilia (lot 3658).
It features an ivory grip and a typical broad blade with lavish decorations; the starting bid here will be 20,000 €.

Another historically significant weapon is a magnificent sabre of honour from the mid 19th century (lot 4565). It was awarded by the Commander-in-Chief of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, to Robert George Craigie, Commander of the HMS Desperate. The British ship came to the aid of the stranded Austrian schooner Saida and towed it to the port of Piraeus. The blade of the extraordinary sabre is etched on both sides with scenes depicting the incident which took place on 30th March 1858. One side of the blade is decorated with the banner “To Mr. Commander R.G. Craigie, Commander of the His Majesty’s Screw Corvette Desperate, in grateful appreciation for the assistance provided to the Austrian Schooner Saida”, the other side is inscribed “Franz Joseph, First Emperor of Austria” (both inscriptions transl.). The pierced hilt is made of partially polished, gilded silver and bears the Viennese wheel mark for the year 1858. The other parts of the sword are also decorated with a vast variety of elaborate details. The bidding for this unique sabre, which is sold with the original scabbard, presentation case and certificate, will begin at 48,000 €.

Other fine works are the lots 4887 and 4490: a splendid honour sabre given by the Spanish government to Archibald Douglas Fletcher, British Commander of the HMS Spiteful, in June 1866 (15,000 €) and an equally noteworthy presentation sabre with two scabbards formerly owned by the English brewer, philanthropist, and Member of Parliament Charles Buxton (1823-1871), which has a starting price of 17,500 €.

On 22nd April, antiques from the Axel Guttmann Collection are offered for bidding. The items for sale give evidence of the impressive diversity of ancient military headgear. A Hellenistic Pilos type helmet with a broad, offset rim and high skull features rich decorations, naturalistically shaped wings and a crest holder riveted to the crown (lot 327). This unusual piece is expected to fetch at least 12,000 €. Another spectacular lot is a pseudo-Corinthian helmet engraved with animals and mythical creatures from the late 6th/early the 5th century (lot 37). The close helmet is characterised by strongly contoured eyebrows and small eye cutouts; the starting price here will be 15,000 €. Among the highlights of this section are also a Chalcidian helmet and a two-piece muscle armour dating back to the 5th/4th century BC, which are expected to bring at least 8,500 € (lot 313).

Ancient Weapons
A very rare object is the first edition of Jakob Schrenck von Notzing’s Ambrasische Helden-Rüstkammer published in Innsbruck between 1601 and 1603 (lot 2032). 102 large-size copper engravings bear the images of famous historical persons clad in the armour of the Ambras Armoury. The reverse sides feature short biographies of the depicted commanders and dignitaries. In his collection housed in Ambras Castle near Innsbruck, Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol (1529-1595) attempted to bring together the suits of armour of all famous sovereigns and commanders of the 15th and16th century. The documentation of the collection is regarded as the first illustrated and printed museum catalogue of the world and is offered at a starting price of 10,000 €. But not only pictures of armour are available in this year’s spring auction. There are also many defensive arms of extraordinary quality available, for example an Italian close helmet from the 16th century featuring a grotesque visor with embossed facial features (lot 3424; 7,800 €). It is a typical helmet modified for the Gioco del Ponte, an annual festival historically documented since the 14th century. A close German helmet from ca. 1570/80 impresses the collector with its high quality and good state of preservation (lot 3425; 9,500 €). The skull is made of two pieces, has a shallow comb and a two-piece visor.

The Orient and Far East
This section includes about 650 lots and comprises a wide variety of weapons and crafts from the Orient and Asia. Among them are unique objects such as a stately Chinese floor vase from the 19th century featuring a three-dimensionally worked lid adorned with a phoenix and a dragon (lot 3054). It is 4 feet 9 inches tall and is introduced at a starting price of 12,000 €. Another striking example of Far Eastern craftsmanship is a Japanese cloisonné tachi decorated with blossoms, leaves, butterflies, and mountings dating from the late Edo period (lot 31279; 8,000 €).

Militaria and Medals
Pomp and splendour of the armed forces have always become especially evident in elaborate headgear. A number of unique pieces are offered for sale in this 57th auction, for example a grenadier cap of the Pavlovsky Regiment from the reign of Tsar Alexander I (lot 4665). The brass fronted mitre cap with the embossed double eagle emblem is introduced at 8,000 €. Equally rare is
a beautiful helmet model 1889/1907 for enlisted men of the Saxon Horse Guard Regiment surmounted by a striking, silver-plated parade lion (lot 5426; 10,000 €). Ever since the humble beginnings of Hermann Historica, medals and awards from all over the world have formed an important segment of the auctions. Among the pieces offered for bidding this spring are an excellently preserved Bavarian Merit Order of Saint Michael (lot 4093; 3,000 €) and the breast star of the Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky from 1840/50 (lot 4062; 7,000 €).

The pre-sale viewing for the 57th auction takes place from 14th to 19th April between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on the premises of Hermann Historica oHG, Munich.
To make an appointment prior to your visit, please call us at (+49) 089-181415.

May be copied without charge – Permission, additional information and photographic materials may be obtained from:

Maria Burdick
Communication and Marketing
Elvirastraße 16
D-80636 München
Tel.: +49 (0) 89 - 18 14 15
Fax: +49 (0) 89 - 18 14 49
Email: m.burdick@burdick.de
About Hermann Historica
Hermann Historica OHG is the leading world auction house in the special areas of : antique arms and armour, hunting, antiquities, medals and orders, as well as historical objects and military history. Founded nearly 50 years ago by Count Erich Klenau von Klenova, Baron von Janowitz in Nuremberg as an auction house for coins, orders, medals, and other military objects were offered right from the beginning. At the beginning of the seventies, offerings were expanded to include antique weapons. On the basis of the comprehensive scope of the objects offered and the carefully researched and high quality production of the special catalogues, those offerings were an immediate and enthusiastic success with international collectors and museums. In 1982, the present owners changed the name of the auction house to Hermann Historica OHG, and carry out at least two auctions yearly for more than 25,000 clients throughout the entire world. The numerous objects which were formerly possessions of great noble families, in particular those from the Austrian and German Imperial houses, have attracted great international interest, especially when choice collections such as the famous hunting treasures from Castle Fuschl at Salzburg, the historical technical museum in Nümbrecht and the "Antique Weapon Collection" of the world renowned Berlin collector, Axel Guttmann, are broken up and offered at auction. www.hermann-historica.com

All Photos: Copyright Hermann Historica oHG 2009


HH57_Lot_510 A pair of flintlock pistols, Boutet, circa 1800


HH57_Lot_519 A cased pair of officer's flintlock pistols, Russia, dated 1831



HH57_Lot_2733 A Nasrid sword, Southern Spain, 2nd half of the 15th century
HH57_Lot_3646 A Viking sword, Northern Europe, 9th/10th century
HH57_Lot_3127 A Cloisonné Tachi, Japan


HH57_Lot_2032 Jakob Schrenck von Notzing - Ambrasische Helden-Rüstkammer, Innsbruck 1601 - 1603
HH57_Lot_3424 A close helmet with grotesque face ("Schembart" visor), Germany or Italy, early 16th century and later
HH57_Lot_3425 A German close helmet, circa 1570/80


HH57_Lot_4565 Emperor Franz Joseph I - a magnificent sabre of honour with an accompanying certificate 1858 awarded to the British commander Robert George Craigie


HH57_Lot_.327 A Hellenistic Pilos type helmet, 4th/3rd century B.C.


HH57_Lot_4307 A shako for officers of the 5th Hussars Regiment,
according to the regulation of 1810



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