GRASBRUNN, Germany – Hermann Historica’s online-only five-day sale running from Dec. 7–11 is the rousing finale of the auction year 2020. More than 3,600 lots will be offered. With 641 lots from all special fields of interest, the auction compares favorably with the live auctions held for many decades in their in-house saleroom. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
Art and antiques
Paintings, particularly Old Masters, have enjoyed tremendous popularity in recent years. Some masterpieces go on to eclipse their estimated price, with the auction in early November being a case in point. Once again, prospective buyers will be spoiled for choice with a broad spectrum of works from Old Masters to prints. Collectors will be interested in the lively tavern scene of revelers berating a wayfarer, with a minstrel and numerous animals in the foreground. Attributed to Salomon Koninck (1609–1656) on the back, the Dutch Old Master painting from the 17th century is expected to fetch 3,500 euros. Bids are invited from 3,000 euros for the painting of a helmet, dated 1883, signed by J. Pay and bearing a label from the Museé de Cluny.
The art list is extensive, from an exceptional 15th-century Gothic Madonna of the Mater dolorosa type from the Lower Rhine, now tendered for 4,500 euros, to a fine Flemish tapestry of an idyllic scene with a pavilion, birds and lavish vegetation, opening at 5,000 euros, through to Asian objets d’art. Equally worthy of note, a colorful Tibetan thangka from the 18th/19th century, depicting two deities, will change hands for at least 2,500 euros; and the exceptionally rare koro, a bulbous glass tripod with a deep blue overlay, embellished with lotus ornaments, has a guide of 2,000 euros, a price that is sure to tempt aspiring collectors.
Antique arms and armor
For many years, the swords, daggers and rapiers in Hermann Historica’s antique arms section have been a source of delight. A German knightly sword from the mid-14th century, the very embodiment of a medieval edged weapon, will go under the hammer. With a double-edged, conically tapering blade and a strikingly large disc pommel, the awe-inspiring sword measures over 1 meter in length and may command a price of 1,400+ euros. Next up, a Spanish cup-hilted rapier dated 1649, with exquisite decorative etching of standing fencers on both sides, is estimated at 1,800 euros. A shitogi-tachi was forged in Japan approximately 200 years later than the Spanish weapon. With gilt fittings and the grip beautifully engraved with chrysanthemums, the eye-catching piece is destined to grace a new collection for at least 2,500 euros.
Changes in battle tactics in the early High Middle Ages meant that knightly armor also had to be adapted accordingly. This led to the development of the almost cylindrical, extremely heavy great helm with its marked archaic appearance. With the characteristic eye slots and breathing holes, the particularly accomplished, 13th century-style collector’s reproduction now being offered for sale is listed in the catalog at 1,000 euros. An etched round shield attests to the design of defensive arms in the late 16th century. Highly ornate with decorative tendrils, cartouches and warrior figures, it may now be acquired for 800 euros.
International orders and collectibles from military history
The fourth auction day presents numerous pieces of recent military equipment. These include a rare full-dress uniform worn by staff officers of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II, complete not just with the visor cap, uniform tunic, belt and trousers, but also with the matching case. The whole set is now offered for auction from 1,500 euros. Enthusiasts may consider investing 1,500 euros for the personal possessions and mementos belonging to the Pour le Mérite bearer and U-boot commander Kapitänleutnant Otto Weddigen, which provide insight into the military and public persona, as well as the very private life, of a highly decorated marine officer. Furthermore, bids from 1,250 euros are welcome for a photograph album with over 200 snapshots of biplanes, group photographs, the mission in Verdun and other scenes of war, which reveal the living conditions and circumstances of members of a German aviation division during World War I.
Once again, orders and decorations from all over the world are coming under the hammer, such as an Imperial Austrian Order of the Iron Crown, 3nd Class with war decoration, for 400 euros, while a breast star and cross awarded to a Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy is estimated at 350 euros and a breast cross of the Teutonic Order in Germany at 400 euros.
Five centuries of antique and modern firearms
Headed by a wheellock rifle with a magnificent staghorn stock and first-rate, original wheellock, the procession of antique firearms includes pieces that collectors may otherwise only dream of. Starting at 3,800 euros, the lock is finely engraved with a hunter at rest in the forest and lends the lavishly inlaid circa-1720 rifle an exceedingly distinguished appearance. By contrast, a pair of flintlock pistols with “spider” front sights, embellished with silver tendril inlays and produced circa 1760 by the gunmaker Joseph Prolich of Bamberg, is certain of a warm reception for 1,400 euros. A percussion target rifle by L.H. Damm, bearing a silver signature and likewise engraved, made in Elberfeld circa 1840, has an asking price of just 1,200 euros.
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