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17th-century Lower German suit of field armor, €16,875

Antique arms and armor powered a magical May series at Hermann Historica

17th-century Lower German suit of field armor, €16,875
17th-century Lower German suit of field armor, €16,875

MUNICH, Germany – Hermann Historica‘s week of auctions, held between May 6-12, delivered clear and unquestionable success. The 3,500 lots were particularly well received by the numerous buyers, making this May auction series a resounding triumph.

Works of Art and Antiques, Ancient and Asian Art, May 6

A total of 740 lots came under the hammer on this eventful day, eliciting torrents of bids to match the rain outside. From the word go, there was a flurry of excitement. An ancient Egyptian receptacle dating from just before the first dynasty, and in immaculate condition, was estimated at €1,000-€2,000 but finally sold for €9,750.

Greek Corinthian helmet of the third development stage, €47,500
Greek Corinthian helmet of the third development stage, €47,500

The next tour-de-force in the antiquities section was a helmet of the third development stage that was more than 2,000 years old. The severe lines and clearly structured form of the Corinthian headgear – the epitome of Greek helmets – lent it a particularly formidable appearance that drew all eyes. This splendid example from the last third of the 6th or the early 5th century B.C. ultimately achieved €47,500.

Late 17th-century Italian coral statue of the Virgin Mary, €11,875
Late 17th-century Italian coral statue of the Virgin Mary, €11,875

A bronze statue from China stood out among the Asian art selection. A 19th-century figurine of the Taoist deity Shou Xing now ennobles a new collection after realizing €9,750. The companion piece to the deity was a coral statue of the Virgin Mary from Trapani in Italy, its naturalistic expression and the folds of the robes wrought in detail. The elaborate carving changed hands for €11,875.

Antique Arms and Armor from all over the world, May 9

Bidders in this sale were somewhat restrained at first, but soon threw caution to the wind, leading to some pleasing results during the course of the 356 lots. One such was a parade burgonet in the style of Negroli, whose magnificent parade armor components are now almost exclusively found in museum collections. This piece from Milan, which had attracted a great deal of attention during the run-up to the sale, brought €34,375.

Milanese parade burgonet in the style of Negroni, €34,375
Milanese parade burgonet in the style of Negroni, €34,375

A 17th-century Lower German suit of field armor turned out to be another highlight. With its open burgonet, cuisses and ridged gauntlets, the fine armor was sure to be snapped up, and indeed, it commanded €16,875. Among the edged weapons, a particularly rare Viking sword from Scandinavia was worthy of special mention. The inlaid blade inscription “+ULFBERTH+” and silver-inlaid swastika ornaments helped drive the final price to €22,500.

Fine Antique and Modern Firearms, May 10

Totaling 1,000 lots and lasting almost 13 hours – nobody expected such an onslaught of bids in this sale. Eager to place their bids, crowds of collectors filed into the saleroom on the day. However, the telephone bidders, and particularly buyers online, were markedly competitive.

Gold-inlaid percussion double rifle made by Anton V. Lebeda for Kaiser Franz Josef of Austria, €48,750
Gold-inlaid percussion double rifle made by Anton V. Lebeda for Kaiser Franz Josef of Austria, €48,750

The most expensive prize of the day was one of the civil firearms: a gold-inlaid percussion double rifle by Prague gunmaker Anton V. Lebeda. The magnificent weapon was made especially for Austria’s Kaiser Franz Josef I in 1850, and it found a new home thanks to a princely bid of €48,750.

Heckler & Koch PSP, €23,750
Heckler & Koch PSP, €23,750

The modern firearms section also sparked plenty of fierce bidding wars, and the Heckler & Koch models were especially sought after. Intense interest led to a more than eight-fold price increase for lot 2318, a Heckler & Koch PSP. The unusual collectible firearm from the pre-production series closed at €23,750. Even more astounding, a Heckler & Koch P7 PT8 in virtually mint condition chalked up the sensational sum of €21,250.

Orders and Military Collectibles until 1918, May 11

Far more than 600 lots were offered in this Thursday sale. In many cases, spirited bidding kept the audience on tenterhooks, and the private collection of Bulgaria’s highest orders prompted audible gasps throughout the room. Apart from a few lots, all orders instituted under Bulgaria’s most important rulers were sold, achieving enormous price increases.

Military order ‘For Bravery,’ Cross 3 rd Class, 1 st Model, €25,000
Military order ‘For Bravery,’ Cross 3rd Class, 1st Model, €25,000

The undisputed high point of the day was the offering of the Bulgarian material. Spanning the reigns of three sovereigns – Prince Alexander I, Tsar Ferdinand I and Tsar Boris III – the insignia met with unprecedented favor in the sale room and on the telephones and bidding platforms. The Military Order “For Bravery,” a Cross 3rd Class, 1st Model (1880-86), prompted an avalanche of bids before it settled at €25,000.

Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius collar with its original presentation case, €26,875

Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius collar with its original presentation case, €26,875

By contrast, the new owner of the Order of St Alexander, 3rd Class, 1st Model, 2nd Type, parted with €18,750 euros, an amount that dwarfs its €4,000-€8,000 estimate. The top price of the collection was won by lot number 3598, the small collar of the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Offered with its original presentation case, the collar earned €26,875.

Orders and Military Collectibles from 1918 onwards, May 12

Hermann Historica concluded the week with a phenomenal 800-lot sale during which bids were still being placed late in the evening; it was 10 pm before the hammer fell for the final time.

Four-rotor Enigma K cipher machine, €115,000
Four-rotor Enigma K cipher machine, €115,000

The untouched Enigma K cipher machine with four rotors was guaranteed to be a huge draw. Along with its original wooden case, the model, which sported the serial number “K 305,” achieved €115,000 euros, more than doubling its low estimate of €50,000.

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The current rate of exchange is €1 = $1.07.

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