Hermann Historica oHG, D-München

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23-10-2016 – 04-11-2016

73th Auction

Unique shashka highlight of the military history auction at Hermann Historica

From 24 October to 5 November, this year’s Autumn Auction at Hermann Historica oHG gives buyers every reason to expect the usual wide range of high quality, precious objects from numerous eras and from every corner of the globe. 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.

A silver covered bronze bull sculpture, 16th-15th century B.C. Starting price: 20,000 euros.


The antiquities section includes a variety of unique and exquisitely worked objects that were crafted by the highly skilled smiths of yesteryear; some artefacts are known to have formed part of prestigious collections for many years. Once again, the array of early bronze helmets promises several veritable rarities, among them a Roman bronze infantry helmet of Weisenau type, which was forged during the end of the first to the early second century A.D. Not only does the helmet boast the characteristic movable cheek pieces, the flared neck guard and the knob to insert the crest, it is sure to delight buyers by virtue of its impressive condition and documented provenance in the renowned Axel Guttmann Collection of Berlin. A splendid specimen of its type – the rare bronze version – the helmet is now being offered to international collectors from 25,000 euros. A late Chalcidian helmet, dating from the fourth century B.C., is expected to fetch a minimum of 15,000 euros. A highly unconventional local variant, with a skull composed of two halves, the marvellous condition of the metal and the fine green patina lend the helmet an imposing elegance. A Hittite sculpture of a bull, cast in bronze and lavishly adorned with sheet silver, dating from the 16th to the 15th century B.C is valued at 20,000 euros, partly on account of its documented provenance over many decades.

The Collection Rudolf Ott -The World of the Samurai: Arm, Armour, Work of Art. Total: 306 Lots.

The armour and weapons of the Samurai

As long ago as the 1950s, Rudolf Ott (1919-2010), the owner of a successful chemist’s in Munich, started laying the foundation for his world-famous collection of Japanese weapons and objets d’art. With enormous zeal and equal expertise, he devoted his efforts to his initial focus of interest, Japanese edged weapons; however, he soon discovered his passion for magnificently crafted helmets and armour. In regular exchange with collectors all over the world, the globetrotter travelled extensively, visiting countless museums and private collections. Sometimes accompanied by renowned experts, he made the most of his travels to gain valuable experience, seizing the opportunity to acquire more inimitable, carefully chosen objects to add to his collection. Even in advanced years, his unerring instinct and remarkable flair never let him down, enabling Mr Ott to build up one of the most comprehensive and superior collections on the subject of Japanese weaponry from the early period right through to the 19th century. Hermann Historica has now been granted the great honour of offering this unique collection of over 300 lots, among them are sensational artefacts, to collectors and museums around the world. 

Parade shield – trabant guard of Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, Venice, 16th c. Starting price: 20,000 euros.

Arms and armour, arts and crafts

According to tradition, the arms and armour catalogue opens with hunting antiques, works of art and rare wunderkammer objects. An outstanding bibliophile masterpiece, the “Kreütter Buch” written by Hieronymus Bock (1498-1554) in 1551, may be acquired from 3,500 euros. Widely regarded as one of the “fathers of botany”, Bock first presented his magnum opus, richly illustrated with 500 woodcuts, in 1539. The antique arms and armour section holds a whole range of exceptional collectors’ items in store. In truly wonderful condition is a leather-covered, wooden circular parade shield, made in Venice for the trabant guard serving under Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, Prince Bishop of Salzburg from 1587-1612. The central cartouche is intricately painted with a coat of arms in elegant hues, partially gilt and silver-plated, surrounded by opulent arabesques and floral decoration; the shield is expected to fetch at least 20,000 euros. Furthermore, this autumn promises an outstanding selection of unusual and perfectly preserved 16th century swords. One particular rarity is a late Gothic two-handed battle sword, which was forged in Switzerland or South Germany circa 1500-1520. Its blade embellished with brass inlays on one side and the Passau wolf mark on the other, the powerful sword boasts a length of some 1.66 metres and is original in all parts. Even the leather cover of the wooden grip dates from the same period as the two-handed sword itself, which has a reserve of 24,000 euros. The 73rd Auction includes true rarities among the crossbows for sale, some even of royal provenance, like a German deluxe pistol crossbow, circa 1760, whose enchantingly graceful, slender design is certain to coax an enthusiast into parting with 9,500 euros. 

An Indian diamond-studded decorative gold belt, 1st half of 20th century. Starting price: 17,000 euros.

Asia, Orient and Africa

The quality and diversity of the lots from Africa, the Ottoman Empire, India, Japan and China remains as compelling as ever. Extremely valuable is a diamond-studded, decorative gold belt dating from the first half of the 20th century. Originated from the Indian subcontinent, the ten parts are hinged for flexibility and the oval buckle features twelve set diamond roses. This wonderful example of goldsmith’s workmanship is expected to fetch at least 17,000 euros. 

Important gold shashka with Order of St. George with Diamonds, Russia, 1914. Starting price: 100,000 euros.

Military history and historical objects

Of German provenance, a formidable honour sabre of Saxony’s Schützen- and Jägerkorps, which was presented to its commander circa 1816, finely etched with a gilt decor of tendrils and trophies on both sides and the Saxon royal coat of arms on a blued background, is particularly impressive. Made by “E. L. Voigt Haupt Zeughaus Schwerdfeger in Dresden” and finished with a lion head pommel, this superb and unparalleled edged weapon is tendered for sale from 13,500 euros. Dating from the modern era of American history, the Gold Life Saving Medal and other awards that were presented to Captain Harry Manning (1897-1974) for rescuing the crew of the “Florida” in 1929 are valued at 7,500 euros. A German immigrant, Manning soon built up a civil maritime career on completing his training and was engaged on the basis of his reputation by the legendary pilot Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) as a navigator during her flight around the world. A number of famous names and unrivalled historical artefacts from their personal property head the procession of Russian military objects. The spectacular highlight of the military history auction is a significant Russian gold shashka M 1881/1910 with appliquéd Order of St. George with Diamonds, awarded for bravery, from the Eduard workshop of St. Petersburg circa 1914. During World War I, the Sabre of St. George with Diamonds was awarded a mere eight times; this fact notwithstanding, the most consummate workmanship, the two-coloured gold fittings set with diamonds, the grip of solid gold and its floral ornaments serve to make the edged weapon truly one of a kind. Possibly belonging to Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolaevich Romanov the Younger (1856-1929), this museum-quality piece sans pareil is now open to bids from 100,000 euros. 

Orders and Insignia

The decorations from the Soviet Union look set to steal the show in the orders section. Among them are exceptionally rare pieces, like the partially enamelled Order of Suvorov Second Class, worked in gold and silver, with the wearer number “1593” engraved on the back. Awarded from 1943, it has a starting price of 6,000 euros. A bid of 7,000 euros could secure a companion piece stamped with the wearer number ”1817”, whereas the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Second Class, likewise worked in gold and silver, bearing the number “1152” and awarded from 1943, is estimated at 5,000 euros. From Germany, the complete orders estate belonging to Krupp Director Carl Menshausen (1847-1909) of Essen is particularly impressive. In addition to the orders themselves, the significant collection includes numerous corresponding award documents. Opening at 3,000 euros is the pièce de résistance: the eight-rayed breast star of the Imperial Chinese Order of the Double Dragon, Star of the Second Class, Grade 3, which may be regarded as museum quality. It was awarded in 1896 by Viceroy Li Hong-Zhang (1823-1901), who was taking the opportunity to intensify China’s contacts with representatives of industry during his diplomatic visit.

A significant German three-shot wheellock pistol, circa 1610. Starting price: 30,000 euros.

Fine antique and modern firearms

Once again, the antique firearms section includes pieces that collectors may only otherwise dream of, some of which boast a sensational rarity, like a significant three-shot wheellock pistol from 1610. Manufactured in Germany, with inlays of engraved and blackened bone in the walnut full stock, the appeal of the pistol lies in the elaborate mechanism of its three locks. Bids are invited from 30,000 euros for this absolute rarity, such as which are seldom found on the market, if at all; moreover, only few examples are known to be in museums worldwide. Equally rare, and no less striking, is a combination weapon of a battle axe with a wheellock firearm, crafted in Nuremberg circa 1580. Likewise featuring a walnut stock lavishly inlaid with engraved and blackened bone, acanthus decoration chiselled on the barrel root and trigger guard, together with an imposing axe head: bidding starts at 28,000 euros for this superb example of the blacksmith’s and gunmaker’s craft. A two-shot, all-metal wheellock pistol from the same period and region is in excellent, untouched original condition. Once again, the price reflects the rarity and condition of this hallmarked firearm, for which offers of at least 25,000 euros are welcome. Moreover, with an opening bid of 15,000 euros, a South German flintlock petronel (a comparable piece is documented in New York’s Metropolitan Museum) is certain to meet with buyers’ approval, as well as a pair of Scottish all-metal pistols by the supremely skilful Thomas Murdoch (1741-1791), Leith and Doune, 1780, available for 12,000 euros. 

All prices are net prices and are to be understood plus 23 percent surcharge.

You can browse through the auction catalogues on the Hermann Historica website.