Successful spring sale under the sign of dragons and double-headed eagles
Excellent results were achieved in all segments of Hermann Historica, the auction house specialised in militaria and international historical collectibles. As in previous sales, the trend towards objects of Chinese and Russian origin remained unbroken.
Munich, 23 May 2011 – Many clients and collectors showed great interest in the pre-sale viewing preceding the spring sale, a good sign for the 61st auction of the renowned Munich auction house, but between 28 April and 12 May, the top hammer prices exceeded all previous expectations. Approximately 7,700 objects – antiques, ancient arms and armour, arts and crafts, hunting collectibles as well as medals and militaria – were offered for bidding.
Lot 3066 is a striking example for the fact that vivid interest is not only reflected in casual requests, but also in concrete pre-bids. On the fourth day of the sale, the 24 cm tall and 492 grammes heavy rhinoceros horn beaker from the Kangxi Period (1662-1722) with an initial starting price of 12,000 Euros had to be introduced at 52,000 Euros. The beaker with openwork in several layers is decorated with blossoms, tendrils and lotus leaves, a type of manufacture hardly ever used for this valuable type of horn due to the significant loss of material. Such an extremely rare object commanded a handsome price: accompanied by breathless suspense in the packed saleroom and with phone bids from all over the world, this unique piece from an old Bochum collection was sold to a Chinese client for 150,000 Euros.
A considerable multiplication of the starting price was also achieved for another Chinese, elaborately incised and gilt sword from the 19th century: Within a few minutes, it rose from its humble starting price of 450 Euros to impressive 13,000 Euros. Another highlight was a well preserved bronze warrior´s helmet from the Chou Dynasty, ca. 700 - 300 B.C. The one-piece helmet with brown-green patina was offered at a starting price of 6,000 Euros and sold for 10,500 Euros.
In the section of European objects of military history the interest in lots of Russian origin remained unwavering. It is therefore not surprising that eight of the ten highest acceptances of bids can be found in the subsection "Imperial Russia" of the militaria catalogue. Well worth noting in this context is an impressive pair of bronze busts portraying Tsar Alexander I and his wife Elizaveta Alekseevna. The busts were made around 1810 and represent the Tsar in uniform with a sash and the breast star of the Order of St. Anne, the Tsarina in a lace-trimmed, low-cut gown. Introduced at a starting price of 45,000 Euros, these finely sculpted works with original, associated bases bearing fire gilt and crowned double-headed eagles realised 56,000 Euros. Another precious piece comes from the personal surroundings of the imperial family, a pastel from the estate of the Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna Romanova (1822 - 1892). A finely painted, unsigned child portrait of Queen Marie of Hannover (1818 - 1907) with her sisters Therese (1823 - 1915), Alexandra (Grand Duchess of Russia 1830 - 1911) and Elisabeth (Grand Duchess of Oldenburg, 1826 - 1896). The 45 x 56 cm sized painting with original gilt frame later passed into Royal Bavarian ownership. The touching child portrait was offered at 3,600 Euros and brought 18,000 Euros.
Also noteworthy are two significant works of famous Russian gun makers: a flintlock sporting musket from the workshop of Ivan Krapiventsov is of museum quality. Made in the Russian city of Tula around 1780, it is very elaborately decorated with silver and gold wire inlays. Offered at a starting price of 50,000 Euros, it achieved 53,000 Euros. A slightly less adorned flintlock rifle, also decorated with gold inlays, made by the St. Petersburg gun maker Karl Beckmann around 1800, found a new owner for 25,000 Euros.
The exclusive objects from the antiques catalogue were once again in high demand, among them a well preserved and finely crafted Illyrian type helmet with gold edging dating from the 6th/5th century BC. The helmet does not only feature the hemispherical bronze skull with the characteristic two parallel crest ridges, but also a – rather unusual – border of sheet gold around the face-opening and cheek pieces, thus making the helmet a truly unique piece. Introduced at a starting price of 15,000 Euros, the helmet ultimately realised 18,000 Euros. But the international audience was also looking forward to the sale of another rare item of ancient military history: a military diploma for a cavalryman from 146 A.C. issued during the reign of Antoninus Pius, which achieved 12,500 Euros.
A rare East Celtic iron helmet from the 3rd/2nd century B.C. was offered at 4,500 Euros. The one-piece hammered skull with large cheek pieces was sold after heavy bidding for 10,500 Euros.
Ancient arms and crafts
In the past years, a growing interest in kunstkammer objects and historical hunting trophies has become apparent. It is therefore not surprising that top results were achieved once again in these fields. A handsomely grown narwhal tusk of the stately size of 2,43 metres was sold for 29,000 Euros, nearly six times its starting price of 5,000 Euros. Two rhinoceros horns even sold for 40,000 and 34,000 Euros respectively (starting prices 18,000 and 17,000 Euros).
Among the highlights in the ancient weapons section was a closed helmet dating from 1500/1510, a type of helmet characteristic for Innsbruck and Nuremberg. A heated bidding competition ensued over the striking early visor helmet, its starting price of 18,000 Euros quickly rising to 28,000 Euros. Other beautiful pieces were elaborately crafted edged weapons from the Orient and the Far East. An elegantly crafted Indian dagger from the 17th/18th century caught the attention of many a bidder; offered at the comparatively humble starting price of 1,500 Euros, it commanded the remarkable sum of 25,000 Euros.
Antique and modern firearms
This 61st auction presented a wide variety of ancient firearms of high quality. Two extremely finely worked rifles drew the attention of the audience at the beginning of this segment. While a wheellock rifle from 1720 made in Andreas Gans's famous Augsburg gunmaker's shop (offered at a starting price of 10,000 Euros) fetched impressive 16,000 Euros, a likewise rare and well preserved tschinke from Cieszyn (Teschen) from ca. 1650 could be purchased for 14,000 Euros (starting price 9,500 Euros). An exquisite flintlock set consisting of a rifle and a pair of pistols from Karlsbad, made around 1760, achieved 12,600 Euros. Richly decorated with images of ancient gods and hunting scenes made of fire gilt brass, the set had been introduced at 12,000 Euros.
The modern weapons section featured a considerable number of top pieces, among them a highly sought after cased Borchardt C 93 calibre 7,65 in near mint condition with two matching numbered magazines manufactured by Loewe, Berlin, dating from ca. 1895. This unique weapon realised a hammer price of 19,000 Euros. Another highlight was lot 717, a cased self-loading pistol Mauser Mod. 1912/1914, calibre 9 x 19 mm with reduced power. Offered at a starting price of 15,000 Euros, the gun was sold to a collector for 18,000 Euros.
The hammer prices of all sold lots can be viewed online under www.hermann-historica.com. All mentioned hammer prices are net prices and do not include the obligatory premium of 23 percent. Unsold items can be purchased in the after sale.
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About Hermann Historica
Hermann Historica OHG is one of 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 2011
A carved rhinoceros horn cup, China, Kangxi period (1662 - 1722)
Sword, China, 19. Century
An important pair of bronze busts with the likenesses of the Imperial pair Tsar Alexander I and Tsarina Elisaveta Alexeevna, Russia, circa 1810
An important Russian flintlock sporting musket - Ivan Krapiventsov, Russia around 1780
A close helmet, visor helmet, Austrian (Innsbruck) or Nuremberg circa 1500/1510
Chilanum, India, 17./18. Century
An Illyrian type helmet with gold edging, 6th - 5th century
A military diploma for a cavalryman from the reign of Antoninus Pius, dated 146 AD
A splendid wheellock rifle, Gans in Augsburg, circa 1720
A wheellock rifle (Tschinke), Cieszyn (Teschen), circa 1650