Department Director, David Williams, commented, “The Antique Arms and Armour market has been very stable for some years now. Our clients, private collectors, dealers and museums are all pursuing the same goal, pieces that are in good condition, and are of great quality and rarity. These are the market drivers and if they are met top prices are achieved. This year we have seen a number of really outstanding prices achieved.”
Top item sold in the Antique Arms and Armour sales this year was a 15th century Mamluk helmet from Egypt which sold for a staggering £138,450. It sold to a Middle East collector and so in effect went home after 500 years.
“Its rarity and quality helped it greatly but also the fact that Middle Eastern buyers are now very keen to repatriate their heritage, wanting to see key cultural items returned to the Middle East where museum building has been growing apace.”
Top price for a sword at Bonhams this year was £45,500 for a very fine and rare presentation sabre from Edward Solly to Thomas Harris in commemoration of their fellowship at the Battle of Leipzig. It was made by Webb of Piccadilly, London, and is dated 1813.
Top price for an antique gun was £47,250 paid for a fine and very rare Algerian toe-lock gun designed work of Mustafa, dated 1190 A.H. corresponding to 1776 A.D. The gun was encrusted with gold foliage and enriched with red coral beads and imitation emeralds, rubies and sapphires in brass settings.