A very rare gilt copper Ottoman Tombak shield from the late 16th century sold for £210,000 in an auction of Antique Arms, Armour and Militaria in London today (Wednesday, June 29, 2011). The sale was held by Thomas Del Mar Ltd
(in association with Sothebys) at their saleroom at 25 Blythe Road, W14.
The circular Turkish ribbed shield was decorated with stylised tulip flowers. It was estimated to fetch £40,000-60,000 and was bought by a Private Collector. Known as a Kalkan, very few of this type of shield is recorded and therefore it is assumed that they were intended for individuals of high rank. This example is believed to have been taken from the Turks at the Siege of Vienna in 1529 and it was loaned to an exhibition in 1890 from a European Private collection. It is made of Tombak (gilt copper) a prized material among Turkish people.
Elsewhere in the sale, which made a overall total of £925,633 and saw 93% sell, a Fine Russian presentation sword that was given to Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, dated 1847 sold for £60,000 against an estimate of £8,000-12,000. The sword was decorated with gold inlaid Cyrillic inscriptions including Sir Rodericks initials. Murchison was born in Scotland in 1792 and joined the army at the age of 16-years, he took a strong interest in the new science of geology and travelled extensively, becoming the President of the Geological Society in 1831. He received numerous honours in later life including the orders of St Anne and Stanislaus by Tsar Nicholas I, and at least 15 geographical locations around the world are named after him including the Murchison crater on the moon!
Following the sale, Auctioneer and Expert in Charge, Thomas Del Mar commented: The sale was remarkably well attended with a very strong presence in the room, on the telephones and with our new online bidding. There were a significant number of new online bidders many of which underbid key lots. The Ottoman Turkish tombak shield was the major highlight, while Japanese swords also sold very well, as did Russian edged weapons, with the Murchison sword being a particular success. There was keen competition for many of the English and Continental firearms, including George IVs rifle. This was the last sale in a highly successful summer season at Blythe Road, and we look forward to further successes at the end of the year in this and the other specialised fields.