Published: July 3, 2006
With more than 8,500 selected pieces, Hermann Historica OHG’s 50th anniversary auction was one of its largest since its founding.
The top lot was a Russian breast star 1st class for the Order of St Catherine from around 1860-70 that was listed in the “Medals and Decorations” section of the sale. Since the auction of Russian orders from the possession of a noble house at Hermann Historica in October 2000, no further example had appeared on the market. This rare piece provoked a real bidding duel and was finally sold for $119,047, double its initial bid of $64,700.
In the field of antique arms, collectors found several examples of pieces that seldom appear on the market. One of the oldest objects offered at was a rare Chalcidian helmet from the Fifth/Fourth Centuries BCE that was offered at $9,700 and realized $11,387. A well-preserved two-handed sword from the battle of Castillon, which took place in 1453, aroused intense interest in bidders from all over the world. This historically significant object was offered at $19,411, and found a new owner at $55,645.
A Sixteenth Century black and white Nuremberg suit of armor from 1580, brought $27,174 from an Italian museum as an addition to its collection.
A massive narwhal tusk, 9 feet long, offered at $9,706, reached $25,884. A Flemish traveling desk from the first half of the Seventeenth Century was offered at $9,700 and was sold at $19,410 and a pair of disk candlesticks from the Sixteenth Century hammered down at $4,140.
There were 650 lots representing the Oriental and Asiaticcultural area. A Nineteenth Century gold-mounted shamshir fromOman/Saudi Arabia doubled its opening bid to fetch $8,540. Agold-inlaid Persian shamshir from around 1800 was sold for $9,057and a rare Ottoman Miquelet flintlock from the period of theTurkish wars at the end of the Seventeenth Century was bid up from$4,500 to $11,516.
Russian standouts included a heavy, double presentation frame by the famous court jeweler Sergei Fedorovich Verkhovtsev from 1867 that sold for $19,411. Memorial pieces for historical personages, such as the papal seals of Pius X and Pius XII, which went for $9,316 and $10,092 respectively, and a presentation bracelet of Kaiser Wilhelm II at $12,951 met with equal interest.
Military-historical standouts include a complete silver plated helmet for the life guards of the Imperial Austrian House of Habsburg, which found a new owner for $20,056; a model 1832 helmet belonging to Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, which was sold at $12,422; and among the edged weapons, a ceremonial Saxon Hirschfänger which, offered at $6,470, was worth $18,762 to a collector and a ceremonial Baden infantry officer’s sword that garnered $12,034.
The firm arranged for a special auction, The Dr SöllnerCollection “In Honour of Baden.” The collection comprised more than400 pieces, including rare examples of military self-portraits fromthe Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries that nearly all sold.
A rare Baden helmet for a royal aide-de-camp reached $8,152. An equally rare piece, a helmet of the Bruchsal City Militia Cavalry, went for $4,658 and the uniform ensemble for a Rittmeister (Captain) of the 1st Baden Life Guard Dragoons sold for $2,329. Objects in the collection from places other than Baden also drew interest and a Prussian helmet for an officer in the Life Guard Cuirassier Regiment No. 1, offered at $646 fetched $5,175.
About 1,200 firearms came up for bid on the second day of the auction. Offered under the heading of “Firearms of Five Centuries,” they covered a period from an Augsburg wheel lock pistol of 1580, which sold at $27,170, and a Trabanten wheel lock rifle for the Dresden Guard dated at 1589 for $16,174, to a rare Giradoni system, magazine air pistol from 1830, for $8,151. Rarities among more modern firearms including a third model Colt Dragoon Revolver with an 8-inch barrel and a Krieghoff Pistol 08 from 1937, both sold at $8,151, also fared well.
All prices initially reported in euros have been converted to dollars. For information, www.hermann-historica.com. The firm’s next auction will be in October.
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