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Armor on front line

Armor on front line of Hermann Historica sale Nov. 3

Armor on front line
German suit of three-quarters armor. Estimate: €30,000-€60,000. Hermann Historica image

MUNICH, Germany – Hermann Historica’s Autumn Auction on Nov. 3 will offer a selection of rare and outstanding lots of antique arms and armor from all over the world. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

The diverse lineup of edged weapons on offer in the Autumn Auction resembles a journey through the craftsmanship of the world’s medieval and early modern blacksmiths. The catalog includes lots that will appeal to all collecting interests and themes, beginning with early swords, such as an awe-inspiring, two-hand battle sword (below) with a heavy single-edged blade, made in Germany between 1350 and 1400, through to a 19th century Syrian shamshir that seems almost dainty by contrast.

Armor on front line
Rare German two-handed battle sword with heavy tapered single-edged blade of cuneiform cross-section. Estimate: €12,000-€24,000. Hermann Historica image

Its blade so heavy that even fully armed opponents were without doubt mortally wounded by the force of its blows, the extremely rare battle sword is a remarkable 46½ inches long and boasts a lightly engraved quillons, a sturdy tang with a single perforation and a rectangular riveted button. The perforation on the tang suggests that this sword, which may be acquired for 12,000 euros, is from the Imperial Arsenal of Istanbul, which housed a large number of early looted weapons.

Featuring much more elegant lines and of courtly provenance is a German rapier with a gold-plated hilt. Forged during the first years of the 17th century and fitted with a slender, double-edged blade, the exceptionally magnificent weapon stands out thanks to the checkered décor, acanthus ornaments and heavy fire gilding on its eye-catching hilt. Valued at 15,000 euros, this breathtaking sword is certain to create a flurry of excitement with its appealing design.

Armor on front line
German deluxe rapier with a silver-inlaid high-quality, narrow thrusting blade with a flattened medial ridge. Estimate: €45,000-€90,000. Hermann Historica image

Dating from almost the same era, yet representative of a different region and type of weapon, an Italian left-handed dagger is sure to meet collectors’ approval with its ornate, finely openworked details. Not just the knuckle bow with its depiction of a squatting monkey, flanked by two hunters amid decorative tendrils, but the iron hilt and the pommel are also embellished with elaborate openwork. This fabulous piece is moderately estimated at 4,500 euros. Next up, a Japanese daisho, produced circa 1400 and 1590, is expected to fetch 6,000 euros. Opening at 4,500 euros, an extremely interesting shamshir from the Ottoman Empire, which was reconstructed in Syria during the 19th century by incorporating a 200-year old Persian blade with gold-inlaid calligraphic cartouches, rounds off the parade of lots in this section.

The auction also presents a range of excellent defensive arms, comprising suits and pieces of armor, helmets and shields from all these eras and regions.

Armor on front line
Southern German foot soldier’s half armor, circa 1560. Estimate: €14,000-€28,000. Hermann Historica image

Suits of Japanese armor are unparalleled design objects. Made of leather, and later also of metal, sometimes finished with colored lacquer and invariably highly expressive, they have enjoyed great popularity among discerning collectors for many years. The tosei gusoku that is now looking for a new owner was made in the mid-Edo/Meiji period, with some parts dated 1864. It would lend distinction to even the most design-oriented setting and has a limit of 5,000 euros.

Armor on front line
A Japanese tosei gusoku, some parts mid-Edo/Meiji. Estimate: €5,000-€10,000. Hermann Historica image

Armor was also enhanced with further defenses, such as the use of shields. Not exactly lightweight, weighing in at just under eight kilograms, and constituting an additional physical challenge for the bearer, the etched round shield, stamped with the Nuremberg mark of 1600, nonetheless afforded the combatant substantial protection in battle. Furnished with trophy decoration and grotesque masks, the shield is listed in the catalog at 4,250 euros.

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Armor on front line