100th Auction at HERMANN HISTORICA from 7 to 16 May 2024

Hermann Historica, the historical auction house near Munich, is soon opening its doors for its prestigious Anniversary Auction. 100th Auction – 100 sell-out triumphs – the slogan says it all. And given the profusion of rare objects, the selection of fabulous collector's items and the quality of the individual artworks, the tagline hits the nail on the head.

As in the last live auction, this major auction is also taking place over two weeks. However, this time, the military history collectibles and the second part of the acclaimed Dave Delich collection are heading the parade of lots. The chapters of art and antiques, firearms, arms and armour will be coming under the hammer a week later, from 14 to 16 May. Buyers can place their bids in person in the saleroom, especially set up for the purpose, on the telephone or via one of the up to five bidding platforms. 

Military collectibles and orders until 1918

Three days have been set aside for the orders and military history catalogue. The sale kicks off on Tuesday, 7 May with phenomenal decorations and remarkable military antiques in the form of swords, uniforms and porcelain, all pre-1918. Starting at 10 a.m., collectors can look forward to a roll call of almost 550 lots. 


Standing head and shoulders above the rest is a magnificent Grand Cross set with Swords on the Ring and Diamonds of the Bulgarian Order of St. Alexander (lot number 4006). Complete with its presentation case, this set is the only surviving award of its kind in the world. The eight-rayed breast star is encrusted with old-cut diamonds, set à jour. The reverse is gilt and the pin stamped with the manufacturer "C. F. ZIMMERMANN HOFJUWELIER PFORZHEIM". Enamelled in white and translucent red, the medallion is particularly appealing with exquisite old-cut diamonds and sumptuous diamond roses. Moreover, the crossed pair of swords is resplendent in gold. The superb order is 91.5 mm wide and weighs 74.4 g. Absolutely incomparable, the decoration may command its price, with a limit of 15,000 euros. 

Bids from 4,500 euros are now invited for a unique, high-ranking item of headgear that once belonged to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Descended from the Pahlavi dynasty, the ruler was the last Shah of Iran. Admirers will have the chance to acquire the visor cap in fine, khaki-coloured cloth that was worn by the Shah at state occasions in the 1950s and 1960s. The elegant design and distinctive insignia of the cap were reserved exclusively for the monarch. As lot number 4146, this piece of history will take pride of place in a new collection.



He was one of the most important, most successful and best known American writers: Ernest Hemingway. Hermann Historica is delighted to present a letter written by him, dated 1954 and signed in his own hand (lot number 4232). The letter is composed of almost one and a half pages of typewritten text with Hemingway's occasional corrections in ink. After Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, he was interviewed by Time reporter Robert Manning, who went on to become publisher of "The Atlantic". In his letter, the author thanks Manning for the interview and comments on the NBC radio programme "Meet Ernest Hemingway", broadcast on 19 December 1954, which is still available in full today. With a stream of amusing anecdotes and horror stories, his positively conversational tone reveals another side of the writer. Together with an antiquarian edition of the magazine "The Atlantic" of August 1965, in which the interview was first published, this piece of literary history is expected to fetch 4,000 euros.

Next up, lot 4326 is a weapon of historical significance. In its 100th Anniversary Auction, Hermann Historica is proud to offer for sale the sword of Oberst Sigismund von der Heyde. Measuring a formidable 99.6 cm, the sword was passed down over generations of his family. It comes with a letter from Gneisenau to a Major von der Heyde, dated 16 January 1824, which reads as follows (tr.) "From Hauptmann von der Heyde, who fell at the Battle of Brienne, I have been honoured with the sword that was wielded with such glory by Oberst von der Heyde. I am currently in possession of it but wish it to be returned to the family on my death". Two letters dated 5 November 1831 document the bequest of the sword to the von der Heyde family. This showstopping weapon may now be acquired for 4,000 euros. 


Art, antiques and ancient artefacts

From 10 a.m. on 14 May, more than 750 lots from antiquity to the modern era will be coming under the hammer, ranging from magnificent musical instruments down to dainty porcelain statues.  




Lovers of ancient helmets are sure to strike gold, given the wide assortment in the 100th Anniversary Auction. Worthy of special mention is a superb Illyrian helmet, dating from the second half of the 6th to the 5th century B.C. (lot number 32). Forged in one piece, the bronze helmet is completely preserved. This attests to craftsmanship of the highest degree. Offers from 8,000 euros are now welcome.

Meanwhile, lot number 227 reveals a spectacular oil painting by Justus Sustermans (1597 - 1681). The artwork by the well-known representative of the Flemish baroque is a likeness of Caterina di Ferdinando de' Medici, Duchess of Mantua and daughter of Ferdinando I, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Self-assured and stylish in her opulent brocade gown and pearl jewellery, the Duchess gazes back at the viewer with a dignified, bland expression. As court painter to the Medici, Justus Sustermans became one of the most respected artists of his time. He achieved particular fame for his Medici portraits, although his oeuvre also features many equally important contemporaries. The new owner will have to part with at least 5,000 euros for this masterpiece.



Standing an imposing 33 cm tall, a lidded bowl made of solid gilt silver certainly catches the eye among the objets d'art. The museum-grade piece, composed of rocailles, was created in 1874 by none other than Karl Fabergé (lot number 642). The successful entrepreneur was not just purveyor to the tsar's court and appraiser of imperial treasures, he was also commissioned by the kings of Scandinavia, England, Greece, Bulgaria, Siam and many others. Between 1882 and 1917, his workshop created well over 150,000 pieces. However, political developments in Russia in 1917/18 brought Fabergé's glittering career to an end. In 1918, he was forced to leave his home country. His remarkable bowl will soon grace a new collection for 30,000 euros.

Five centuries of antique and modern firearms

Just under 1,200 lots are set to change hands from 9 a.m. on 15 May (lots 1001 to 1945) and from 10 a.m. on 16 May (lots 1946 to 2119). The first day is dedicated to modern firearms, while the second is all about antique firearms. 


The semi-automatic rifle by Mauser, lot number 1821, is a genuinely rare find, destined to cause a flurry of excitement. It is the earlier model of the mass-produced G 43. Although approximately 15,000 such rifles were produced between 1941 and 1942, it ultimately failed the field trials. Production was therefore discontinued in 1942. It is now estimated at 9,200 euros.


Lot number 1358 is guaranteed to make collectors' hearts skip a beat. The extremely rare repeating pistol is considered a gem that seldom comes onto the market anywhere in the world. A mere handful are known to exist. Obviously designed by Josef Laumann, this nonpareil is sure to coax an enthusiast into investing 15,000 euros.

For many years, the privilege of hunting was reserved for the nobility. And so every fortress and every castle had an armoury from which hunting guests could borrow a weapon. This certainly also applied to the princes of Schwarzenberg, who were of ancient noble lineage and produced scores of influential politicians at the Viennese court. 


This splendid weapon (lot number 1998) is a distinguished, deluxe flintlock rifle, featuring an attachable hunting hanger and the crest of the princes of Schwarzenberg. It was made by Leopold Becher of Carlsbad, circa 1740. Whether its princely owner would have lent out this masterpiece is highly debatable but the valuable piece will indisputably take the audience by storm at the Anniversary Auction. Connoisseurs can capture their prey for 12,000 euros.



Lot number 2089 is yet another prize item. Opening at 5,000 euros, the fine, bone-inlaid Silesian powder flask dates from 1650. This marvellous flask type was only made for tschinkes, an exceptionally elegant form of wheellock rifle. It combines the greatest workmanship with unsurpassed practicality. The octagonal body is embellished with innumerable inlays of engraved bone.

Antique arms and armour from all over the world

In its Anniversary Auction, Hermann Historica is presenting a sensational array of almost 400 historical highlights in the antique arms and armour section on Thursday, 16 May. Buyers will be spoilt for choice with exquisite artefacts from all over the world. Torrents of bids can be expected for the antique arms and armour worn by the samurai, wrought with outstanding skill, or the many fabulous Ottoman yataghans and knightly swords. 


It is impossible to imagine knights without glorious suits of armour. And their Japanese counterparts, the famous samurai, are no exception. However, the samurai were still wearing their armour in the 19th century. One such set is being offered for sale under lot number 3093. The yokohagi do gusoku from the late Edo period demonstrates in awe-inspiring fashion how traditional the Japanese warrior caste was; it showcases the complexity and superior craftsmanship of these suits of armour. The components are bedecked with ornate leather and metal plates, lacquered in colour and laced together with silk. Armour aficionados can snap up this beautiful set for its catalogue price of 3,500 euros.


A Japanese adage describes his sword as the soul of the samurai, usually referring to the long sword or katana. However, the traditional clothing and weapons of the samurai include a second blade, the short sword (wakizashi). This pair of swords are known as the daisho, which translates as "large and small" (大小 in Japanese). The appeal of the phenomenal, first-rate daisho coming under the hammer on this day lies in its exceptionally superb mounting from the second half of the Tokugawa period, circa 1530. The blades were forged by the illustrious Kanemoto family. As a rule, blades that were similar in shape but of different provenances were put together for a daisho. The majestic pair of swords has a reserve of 15,000 euros (lot number 3103).

The morion was one of the most widespread helmet shapes in Europe during the 16th century. It was worn by common soldiers and commanders alike. Nonetheless, although the basic form was invariably maintained, morions could be very different, varying from the simplest lines to the most extravagant design. Hermann Historica now has a feudal version of a morion for sale (lot number 3202). It is adorned with chased ornaments and lavish, intricate etchings. The fabulous gilding meant that the helmet was both head protection and status symbol at the same time. Forged in Milan circa 1590, this deluxe morion will soon delight a new owner for 9,500 euros.


Finally, you are cordially invited to inspect all objects in person beforehand at the offices of Hermann Historica in Grasbrunn, near Munich. The pre-sale viewing will take place between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. (CET) on 3, 4 and 6 May 2024, in the auction rooms at Am Bretonischen Ring 3 in Grasbrunn/Munich. All lots are illustrated in the high-quality catalogues, which can be found, free of charge, on the auction house's homepage.

Please note: all prices quoted are net prices and do not include the 29,5% premium (and VAT).

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