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Record bids for orders and memorabilia from the Tsarist Empire at Hermann Historica oHG
Beautiful and equipped with rich symbolism is the Chinese rhinoceros horn libation cup from the 18th century. HP: 24,000 Euros.
MUNICH.- All specialist areas represented by Hermann Historica – antiquities, arms and armour, arts and crafts, hunting collectibles and objects from history and military history – reported excellent results, with some lots multiplying their estimated price several times over. A total of approximately 5,370 collectors' items came under the hammer at the autumn auction 2012.

Objects from history and military history
First-class artefacts from the Tsarist Empire caused a flurry of excitement at the autumn auction. No sooner was one of the main showpieces of this section called than an exchange of bids flared up in the room, online and by telephone, lasting several minutes. Prior to the auction, the flintlock shotgun from Tula, dated 1741, that had belonged to Tsarina Elizabeth Petrovna (1709 – 1762), had been the subject of lengthy discussion among experts. With a starting price of 60,000 euros, the rarity and verifiable provenance of the elaborately engraved and gilded gun with iron chiselling, together with its museum significance, were reflected in the sensational result of 145,000 euros.

The remainder of the first day of the militaria auction was entirely dominated by the Russian double-headed eagle. Lots from Tsarist Russia fetched eight of the ten highest hammer prices. A significant presentation sabre purveyed to the tsarist court in Zlatoust circa 1816/1820 was bid up by a remarkable 50,000 euros. The particularly exquisite edged weapon of the finest quality (a comparable piece has been documented for the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg) changed hands for no less than 65,000 euros. Equally keen was the interest in memorabilia from the personal possessions of Tsar Nicholas II (1868 - 1918). Signed by his own hand and marked "Swinemünde 1907", a portrait photograph of the Romanov tsar sold for the princely sum of 33,000 euros, dwarfing its limit of 2,000 euros. In deference to his father, the last tsar retained a lower rank in public at all times; accordingly, this remarkable photographic historical document shows him in a borrowed uniform. In comparison, the hammer fell at 32,000 euros for his personal lapis lazuli seal with a double-headed eagle on a St Andrew's cross and a monogram on the breast shield (starting price 5,000 euros).

"The prices for top-quality, selected pieces from Russia, particularly when they come onto the market from older collections, have remained gratifyingly high for several years", Thomas Rief, general manager and co-owner of Hermann Historica summed up the successful militaria auction. It came as no surprise, then, that the rare Russian orders also fetched record prices. With an estimate of 7,000 euros, an Orders Cross 2nd Class with the Crown of the Order of St. Anne was sold to a bidder for 63,000 euros. The striking St. Petersburg artwork with its extremely fine enamel painting dates from the year 1856. Bidding started at 8,000 euros for lot number 3054, a Breast Star of the Order of Alexander Nevsky, Russia's second-highest Order of Merit. Still in its original case, this piece was sold for 36,000 euros to a buyer from the same country of origin.

It was, however, not just memorabilia owned by illustrious historical personages and items from military careers of Russian origin that attracted lively interest. Mementos from the personal property of members of Bavarian and Austrian ruling houses were once again in great demand, such as a fully outfitted wardrobe box belonging to the Empress Elisabeth of Austria from Seisenegg Castle. The garments and correspondence, including a lady's ensemble, a parasol, various fine undergarments, gloves, handkerchiefs and a number of letters, introduced at 7,500 euros, fetched a hammer price of 32,000 euros.

Among the military edged weapons, experts were fascinated by an impressive weapon of honour from the late 18th century, in other words, the final days of the French Revolution or the early years of Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to power as First Consul of France. Notwithstanding the estimate of 12,000 euros, the characteristically wrought sabre of honour from Klingenthal achieved a winning bid of 41,000 euros. A field cap from the possessions of the legendary World War I pilot, Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen (1892 - 1918), and dating from that period, was put up for auction. Spirited bidding raised the price of this important piece of German Luftwaffe history, whose provenance is fully documented, from 5,000 to 20,000 euros.

Antiquities
Once again, in this auction, the rich variety of objects on offer in the antiquities catalogue from all ancient eras and regions was truly impressive. Even during the run-up, well-preserved early helmets had attracted a great deal of interest, among them a spectacular Illyrian helmet from the sixth century BC. Made of bronze and with a border of lentil-shaped decorative rivets, it was introduced at 8,000 euros, yet the helmet sold for the substantial sum of 19,000 euros. Dating from the third century AD, a rare blade of a Roman Gladius Pompeianus fetched 11,500 euros, almost six times its estimate. Originating from the same period, the heavy gold ring of an officer in the Roman Legio XI was up for sale at 10,000 euros. With a cameo of blue layer agate on the top, bearing the inscription "LEG XI CLAU" amid two stars, the winning bid for this valuable piece of jewellery was 12,500 euros. Furthermore, a beautiful and high-quality bulbous jug with sculptural handles and a fine patina fetched a hammer price of 10,000 euros.

Arms and armour, arts and crafts
Once again, the auction saw very pleasant results in the hunting collectibles and arts and crafts section. As in previous years, the demand among international collectors for Kunstkammer objects and historical hunting trophies in particular was as high as ever, which became obvious when a 20th century golden miniature casket, an outstanding exemplar of jeweller's artistry, was put up for auction.: A connoisseur was prepared to part with 15,600 euros for the exact copy of a tiny 17th century iron casket, made of 18 carat yellow and white gold and set with 14 diamonds. Of much earlier date, less sumptuously crafted but of museum quality, was a Romanesque tripodal pricket candle holder from the eleventh/twelfth century. The two-tiered figural candle holder, made of tin in relief and crowned with a drip pan, was sold for 12,000 euros. Among the particularly decorative objects on offer was a German silver-mounted rhinoceros horn cup, 1900 – 1930. With its intricate and continuous high relief carvings of maidens bathing, the honey-coloured, slightly transparent horn now adorns the collection of its new owner, who bid 18,000 euros for it. Furthermore, natural horn achieved again high five-figure hammer prices, such as 82,000 euros for a magnificent historical rhinoceros trophy (starting price 35,000).

Once more, outstanding collectors' items of formidable provenance were among the arms and armour offered for bidding. These included a rare bijou of perfectly crafted armourer's artistry, in the form of a significant miniature armour from the workshop of E. Granger, known to have worked in Paris during the first half of the 19th century. The knight and his steed are meticulously fashioned in the style of circa 1530/40; of the finest quality, each piece of armour was modelled on the original and is fully articulated as well as functional, including the sliding lames. Naturally, the price reflected a great rarity such as this; the winning bid for this unique piece, estimated at 8,000 euros, was 25,000 euros. As in previous auctions, the demand for high-quality edged weapons which are characteristic of their time period was consistently high in all sections. Noteworthy here is a German knightly sword from the eleventh century, whose double-edged blade is embellished with gold inlays on both sides of the upper third. With its eye-catching semi-circular pommel of tapering profile, the sword had long occupied pride of place in an older Munich collection; introduced at 4,500 euros, it fetched a hammer price of 12,500 euros. There were also favourable results for an Austrian as well as a German two-hand sword, which each sold for 10,500 euros. While the Austrian sword, forged circa 1580, was put up for auction for 6,000 euros, the South-German flamberge of slightly later date had been estimated at 6,500 euros.

Orient and Asia
The market for exceptional and high-quality objects from China, the Ottoman Empire, India and Japan continues to grow steadily. This autumn, once again, the varied, impressive range of objects met with appreciation from around the world; thus, the large number of sumptuously worked arms and the sensational chamfrons in the auction did not escape the attention of the international Orient collectors. The East Anatolian or West Iranian wrought iron chamfrons can be attributed to the early 17th century. Decorated with cartouches and the signet of the Saint Irene arsenal in Constantinople, they had been moderately estimated at 12,000 and 9,000 euros but realised the remarkable sums of 35,000 and 25,000 euros, respectively.

Particularly striking was a superb rhinoceros horn cup from the Middle Kingdom, adorned with rich symbolism and dating from the 18th century. The extremely appealing lotus bouquet cup had been completely carved in the shape of a wreath of lotus blossoms and leaves as well as millet and arrowhead. The carving symbolises the values of purity, generosity and abundance in times of hardship. The unique, caramel to amber-coloured object sold for 24,000 euros. Part of a private collection for many years, another rare Chinese lot of very early date fetched a spectacular price that eclipsed its estimate. In no time at all, the price for eleven pieces of so-called knife money from the sixth to the fourth century BC had jumped from 300 euros to 10,000 euros.

Fine antique and modern firearms
Among the available lots of exclusive antique firearms were collectors' items that only rarely come onto on the market. Pairs of elaborately crafted pistols were especially sought-after in this year's autumn auction. Such was the case with a pair of double-barrelled hammer pistols from the workshop of the gunsmith Ferdinand Reuss in Mehlis, circa 1880/90, offered with the matching case. With their gold-inlaid signatures, beautifully grained root wood stocks and extremely fine vine engraving on the furniture, they made an excellent impression on the collectors and consequently were bid up to 23,000 from 7.500 euros. Also for sale was an exquisite cased pair of flintlock pistols, Prochaska, Chrudim/Bohemia, dated 1824 and complete with extensive accessories. With a starting price of 9,800 euros, these fine specimens were sold for 15,000 euros. In addition, a wheellock rifle manufactured and signed by Gabriel Dorn in Nuremberg dating from 1663, with an estimate of 8,000 euros, realised a hammer price of 13,000 euros.


All prices are net prices and are to be understood plus 23 percent surcharge. Unsold objects can still be purchased.





Last Week News

November 23, 2012

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David Livingstone exhibition opens at National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

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Gun from Australia's Kelly gang sells for $126,000 at Leski Auctions in Melbourne

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The Jewish Museum continues new exhibition series with Collection Tableaux

Letters and documents from The War of 1812 up for auction in Waddingtons.ca's Decorative Arts Auction

The Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane presents a survey exhibition of key works by Lawrence Carroll

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Trash from Everest recycled into sculpture

Rare Carlos Sabrino Cuban painting found at auction

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November 22, 2012

Bibliothèque nationale de France examines the life of the Rothschilds in the 19th century

Argentine experts from the Natural Sciences Museum of La Plata find giant penguin fossils in Antarctica

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"John Bellany: A Passion for Life" retrospective opens at the Scottish National Gallery

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Brooklyn Museum acquires Neoclassical portrait by Colonial Puerto Rican master José Campeche

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Local collectors donate work by acclaimed sculptor David Smith to Columbus Museum of Art

Lincoln document on sale in Philly for $900,000

Rare Beatles autographs given during a late night card game to be sold at Campbells in December

German Santa car leads the parade of highlights at Bertoia's $2.1M Toybox Treasures auction

Jonathan Prince installs major sculpture at new Broad Art Museum

New sequence of Adam Silverman's highly acclaimed pots on view at Edward Cella Art + Architecture

India Art Fair announces its 5th Edition

Government Auction brings out the luxury goods for Black Friday

El Anatsui sculptural tapestry hung in Bloch Lobby at Nelson-Atkins Museum

Ayyam Gallery to expand into London and Jeddah

Captain Speedy goes to Ethiopia: Travel and Photography Sale at Bonhams includes rare images of empire

November 21, 2012

Pompidou pays tribute to one of the most complex and prolific artists of the 20th century

Archaeologial find debunks "Maya collapse" theory, Dzibanché inhabited until 13th century

Major exhibition of large-scale sculptures by Henry Moore opens at Gagosian in New York

Tel Aviv Museum hides art to protect it from rockets, moved nearly 200 works Friday

Sotheby's Latin American Art Sale totals $19.3 million, six artist records set

Stay tuned to Bonhams for the sale of the Richard Balsbaugh Collection of vintage radios

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Qatar Museums Authority's Orientalist Museum opens "The Art of Travel" exhibition

Exquisite works of art from the ancient world, antiquities on offer at Christie's Sale of Antiquities

Saatchi Gallery in London opens its first exhibition of contemporary Russian art

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Charlie Chaplin hat and cane net more than $62,000 at Bonhams this past weekend

Glasgow Boys masterpiece by Sir James Guthrie acquired by the National Galleries of Scotland

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November 20, 2012

Museo del Prado presents one of the largest exhibitions on Anthony Van Dyck held to date

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November 19, 2012

London's Wellcome Collection exhibition views death through artists' eyes

First exhibition in Australia dedicated to the Neo-Impressionists opens at the National Gallery of Victoria

Photograph of the Royal Family at Balmoral goes on display in Diamond Jubilee exhibition

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November 18, 2012

France's Musee d'Orsay opens major show of 19th century paintings at new museum in China

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Ed Ruscha's richly diverse investigations of the book as a subject explored in new exhibition at Gagosian

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MoMA exhibition focuses on the transformation of Japan's capital into a center of the Avant-Garde

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The Circle Gallery presents the latest works of photographer, producer and painter, Dik Nicolai

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