1-11 May 2018 - The 76th Hermann Historica auction presents a breathtaking array of lots, ranging from opulent masterpieces of ancient and mediaeval craftsmanship to orders of enormous historical significance and mementos of European ruling houses.
Based in Munich, Hermann Historica is one of the world's leading auction houses in the special areas: antique arms and armours, hunting collectibles, antiquities, orders as well as objects from history and military history.
Founded as early as almost 50 years ago by Count Erich Klenau von Klenova, Baron von Janowitz in Nuremberg as an auction house for coins, from the very beginning also orders and decorations as well as objects of military history were put up to auction. In the early seventies the range of the auctions was broadened by the category of “antique arms and armour”.
This year's Spring Auction at Hermann Historica GmbH will take place from 1 to 11 May with the usual wide range of high quality precious objects from all eras and originating from all over the world.
Approximately 6,500 lots from all specialist areas represented by the auction house are to come under the hammer – antiquities, arms and armour, works of art, hunting antiques, orders and collectibles from all fields of history and military history.
Once again, the antique firearms will set bidders' pulses racing, with this section holding some extraordinary rarities in store. Among them are several veritable showstoppers, such as a superlative pair of deluxe flintlock pistols from the armoury of the Princes of Lobkowitz, whose quality and aesthetic appearance unquestionably brought glory on their owner and stressed his social status.
Produced circa 1730 at the Prague workshop of the supremely talented Paul Ignazius Poser, the weapons were finished with the most sophisticated chiselling work by the equally renowned Franz Matzendorf.
The locks present extremely delicate, cut battle scenes, while the lock side plates show skirmishes with Turks. Decorative tendrils trail over the hammers and a procession of antique, mythological figures marches across the trigger guards and butt caps.
The escutcheons with the finely engraved arms of the Princes von Lobkowitz and the gunsmith's signature on the barrel clearly indicate both owner and creator of the masterpieces, for which the asking price is 60,000 euros.
A remarkably gifted artist succeeded in composing a true work of art, thanks to his inlays of engraved and blackened bone that enhance the walnut full stock of a hunting wheellock rifle, produced in Bohemia in 1678.
Numerous hunting scenes and different aspects of castles, interrupted and framed with filigree silver decoration, are vividly depicted with enormous attention to detail and inlaid as contrasting elements in the dark wood.
From a hunter on horseback, his weapon drawn, to a pack of hounds pursuing a lion as it attacks a hunter, every scene is beautifully finished and tells its own story.
With bidding starting at 12,000 euros for the firearm, as sumptuous as it is unique, the metal elements are equally painstakingly and skilfully designed.
The parade continues with a South German deluxe grenade gun, displaying a formidable, cup-shaped bronze mortar barrel and a guide price of 18,000 euros.
Produced circa 1610/20, this extremely rare, museum-grade weapon also boasts superior quality and embellishment.
The engraved trophies and floral decoration on the barrel, the rich inlays of engraved and blackened bone in the walnut stock and the sculptured butt, carved in the shape of a dragon's head, emphasize the particularly stunning elegance of this gunmaker's treasure.
As in previous years, the modern arms section guarantees a number of attractions, like a special catalogue with an entire collection of the legendary weapons made by Carl Walther. With around 380 firearms in all, the set includes virtually every model ever produced since 1908 in the factory at Zella-Mehlis, and later in Ulm.
From the classic Walther PP and PPK pistols, the P 38, built after World War II as P 1, the German Army’s first service weapon, at the new factory in Ulm, right through to the 21st century PPS. The collection encompasses a series of prototypes, samples and unique pieces that have only made their mark by being documented in technical literature.
The pièce de résistance is a cal. 7.25 mm Adler self-loading pistol from 1907, for which bidding starts at 8,000 euros. In total, a mere 100 pieces were manufactured after 1906, making it one of the rarest self-loading pistols of all time. As this firearm comes from the family estate of one of the designers and is in near mint condition to boot, it is truly a find beyond compare.
The works produced by the mediaeval and early modern armourers and blacksmiths invariably exhibit the highest standards of functional reliability and aesthetics.
Accordingly, every last detail in the composition of the highly ornate German full armour in Augsburg style, from the second half of the 16th century, has been meticulously devised, accorded a specific function and splendidly worked to boot.
The roped flanges at the gussets and neck opening deflected onslaughts away from the body, while the shoulders, greaves and gauntlets granted the wearer the greatest possible freedom of movement by all sliding on several lames.
Boasting a screw-mounted, hinged lance rest on the side and a particularly sturdy, ridged breast plate, the armour was clearly intended to afford the competitor optimal protection during the tournament.
Topped with an elegant close helmet, forged in one piece and fitted with visors, the magnificent ensemble is now offered for auction from 25,000 euros.
The quality and diversity of the lots from Africa, the Ottoman Empire, India, Japan and China remain as irresistible as ever.
A 17th century carved ivory powder flask from India is sure to delight buyers by virtue of its intricate relief decoration, with naturalistically modelled depictions of birds, fish and various animal heads, such as elephant, tiger and gazelle, the eyes partly inlaid in red lacquer. Offers of at least 12,500 euros are welcome for the brilliantly executed, graceful artefact, exuding tremendous appeal.
This is just an incredibly small sample list out of the full collections that will be showcased at the Hermann Historica Spring Auction that will take place in Munich - 1-11 May 2018.