Six ancient helmets and 10 suits of armour – all from Italy and Germany – a collection of a European Prince, an important collection of American Firearms plus a copper saucepan rescued from Sebastopol in 1855 are among the array of objects offered in Thomas Del Mar Ltd’s auction of Antique Arms, Armour and Militaria at 25 Blythe Road, London W14 on Wednesday, December 2, 2015.
Thomas Del Mar Ltd – which was founded 10 years ago – holds two sales each year. The forthcoming sale in December comprises over 500 lots from the bronze age to the early 20th century, with pieces from ancient Greece, Persia, Europe’s middle ages and renaissance, tribal African and Australia and the American civil war.
From an Important Private Collection, the helmets include an Italic bronze helmet dating from the 4th – 1st century B.C. which is estimated at £10,000-15,000, while a Greek bronze example from the 5th century B.C. is expected to fetch £8,000-12,000 and another Greek example from the 6th – 5th century B.C. is also estimated at £8,000-12,000.
The 10 suits of armour from Italy and Germany are being sold by order of the Trustees of the John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection to benefit its ongoing study and display at the Worcester Art Museum. Over the past three years, Thomas Del Mar has sold £2.5million of items on behalf of the Woodman Higgins Collection. With estimates up to £20,000 and dating from as early as the 15th century, examples include a composite North Italian cap-a-pie armour with etched decoration dating from the late 16th century which is estimated at £15,000-20,000 and a composite North Italian field armour with later etched decoration dating from mid-to late 16th century which is expected to fetch £12,000-18,000.
One of the more unusual items is a Crimean copper saucepan, taken at Sebastopol – inscribed ‘taken from the ruins of Sebastopol, the day after the fall Septr. 9th 1855 by A Farquharson, cook of the S. S.Imperartix’ (Estimate: £150-200).
An important private collection of American firearms also includes swords that belonged to members of 29th New York State Volunteers Regiment (Astor rifles) and 139th regiment New York Volunteers. A .40 calibre sharps model 1874 ‘old reliable’ Schuetzen rifle, circa 1877, probably made as a test piece or prototype is expected to fetch £6,000-9,000, while a Fine .400 Calibre Borchardt Patent Sharps Model 1878 Rifle, Sold to Hugo Borchardt, Patentee of the System and Superintendent of the Sharps Rifle Company is estimated at £3,000-5,000.
Firearms included the property of Wesley I Paul, former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Armouries such as a fine cased pair of 40 bore percussion rifled duelling pistols by J. Purdey, dating from 1834 is estimated at £15,000-20,000, while a cased pair of 40 bore percussion rifled duelling pistols by John Manton & Son, Dover Street, London, circa 1822 carries an estimate of £10,000-15,000. These are being sold with a transcript of a letter from leading expert David Back stating that these appear to have been made in 1825 and are the earliest recorded pair of pistols by John Manton to use copper caps.
Elsewhere a very rare 32 bore Irish hand rotated seven-shot revolving carbine by W. & J. Rigby, Dublin, circa 1838, which sold for £34.13.0 to S. Crothwaite in 1838 is estimated at £7,000-10,000.
Several important swords include a Ceylonese silver-mounted shortsword presented to the Right Honorable Sir William Henry Gregory, K.C.M.G., 14th Governor of British Ceylon (1872-1877), from Mrs Alwis, circa 1872-90, which carries an estimate of £3,000-5,000 (See bottom of the release for Biography). A Royal Highland dirk inscribed for King Peter II of Yugoslavia (1923-70) – the godson of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother – is expected to fetch £1,000-1,500.
A Brunswick State two-hand processional sword of the guard of Julius, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg in Wolfenbüttel (1528-89), dated 1573 is expected to fetch £7,000-9,000. Duke Julius of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1528-1589) inherited the title following the death of his two older brothers in battle. He was a keen supporter of the Reformation and introduced it into the Duchy of Wolfenbüttel.