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Auction of the Collection of Karsten Klingbeil at Hermann Historica oHG in Munich achieves excellent results
Extremely rare Bohemian Gothic hand pavise, Zwickau circa 1470/80. Photo: ©Hermann Historica oHG 2012.

MUNICH.- Bidders from all over the world came here to acquire objects from the unique Collection of Karsten Klingbeil. Offered in several parts, the first auction took place in December 2011 in conjunction with Pierre Bergé & Associés in Brussels. Now another 116 objects from the collection were up for sale within the autumn series of auctions at Hermann Historica’s, which took place at the firm’s premises in Munich from 14 to 23 October 2012. Amongst this selection were five complete armours and a selection of helmets and other detached elements of armour, together with edged weapons, polearms and antique firearms.

The viewing preceding the auction of the collection was held in the dignified setting of the Munich Residenz and in its own right became treated as an addition to the city’s tour sights. Subsequently, with a full auction room and lively participation by telephone- and internet bidders, outstanding results were achieved for these historic objects, which stand as evidence of the craftsmanship of the period armourers and gunmakers. According to the assessment of Robert Weis, the Head of the Old Arms and Armour department at Hermann Historica oHG, “the continuing trend among buyers towards high-quality pieces with renowned provenance was manifest once again”.

This became evident as the top lots of the auction, such as arms and armours from princely armouries were bid up to considerable sums. A North German armour for the field circa 1550 - 60, probably from Brunswick, with a close helmet of elegant form was sold for 150,000 euros. Such a premium homogeneous suit of armour, except for the greaves and glaves completely matching, is extremely rare in such original completeness.

Similarly convincing was a very impressive half-armour. Even in advance of the auction, a South German half-armour from circa 1580 - 90 with close helmet in the Augsburg fashion, attracted the attention of a great number of potential buyers. Incorporating reinforcing plates for the “Italian tilt”, this fine representation of this rare type, with the provenance of the famous Rutherfurd Stuyvesant Collection, found a new owner at the hammer price of 100,000 euros.

The winning bid for a late 15th century Gothic armour for the field in the Innsbruck fashion was also a clear demonstration of market strength. With original sallet and an extremely rare early mail shirt in almost entirely undamaged condition, the armour evidently impressed the expert audience. The remarkably plain design of this armour, without any Gothic fluted ornament, is a characteristic feature of the Innsbruck armourers within the second half of the 15th century, which is why the armour is attributed to the Innsbruck workshops. Beautifully shaped and decorative as well as being functionally interesting, this armour was bid from 50,000 to 73,000 euros. Only extremely rarely and under best conditions do the textile parts of armours survive the centuries. It was therefore not entirely surprising that that the equipment of a man-at-arms with brigandine, kettle helmet and greaves made of original parts from the 15th and 16th century brought about a bidding war. Introduced at 20,000 euros, this armour of a man-at-arms, perfectly arranged on a purpose-built mannequin, did not change hands before reaching the sum of 60,000 euros.

Equally delicate was a rare Gothic hand-pavise made from wood and canvas, from the town arsenal of Zwickau, circa 1470 - 80. The rectangular shield, rendered in colour on the outer face, depicts St. George slaying the dragon, the subjects enclosed by a pious inscription on a scrolling frame. Once again, condition and rarity were reflected in the winning bid; 32,000 euros had to be paid for the shield.

The interest of the international bidders in the room was equally evident within the categories of rare helmets and elements of armour. So, with lot 45, an Italian bascinet with a visor from the early 15th century, a so-called “Hundsgugel”, was offered for bidding. The helmet comprised a one-piece forged skull fitted with a typically pointed visor and is an extremely rare type, only few examples of which have been preserved worldwide. Sold for its estimate of 40,000 euros, it now adorns another collection. Two Italian Gothic vambraces, circa 1430 – 40 – hardly ever appearing on the market – achieved double their starting price. Tradition has it that these vambraces, now sold for 30,000 euros, had been found in the eaves of a cottage in Spain in the 19th century.

Once again, true rarities were among the most elaborately crafted edged weapons and firearms from the Collection of Karsten Klingbeil. Of notable, partially princely provenance, the weapons which were offered for sale were impressive in all respects. Among them a rapier carried by the Trabanten-Leibgarde of the Prince Electors of Saxony, dating from the early 17th century, and particularly impressive due to its rarity and fine workmanship. Estimated at 18,000 euros, it was sold for 28,000 euros. An extraordinary German „Great“ sword from circa 1400, with broad double-edged blade and the pommel inset with a silver plaque cast with an heraldic beast, had been introduced at 4,000 euros and achieved a hammer price of 15,000 euros. An extremely rare pair of ivory-stocked flintlock holster pistols was made by Christoph Tressler in Lindau in circa 1670. These sumptuously decorated weapons with barrels made from fire-gilt bronze were enriched with silver mounts and their painted ivory full stocks inlaid with decorated silver bands; pistols such as these truly illustrate the art of the gunmakers of that period and the pair achieved a hammer price of 60,500 euros.

The winning bids of all sold lots can be found online on All prices are net prices and are to be understood plus 23 percent surcharge. Unsold objects can still be purchased.

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