Outstanding unique collections and not one, but two special catalogues – Hermann Historica auction house has outdone itself yet again!
From 16 to 20 May 2022, Hermann Historica auction house is re-opening its doors at long last. Almost 4,000 highly diverse objects are coming under the hammer in the live auction. What’s more, the historical company is tempting its scores of bidders with the promise of unique collections and even two special catalogues.
This fantastic Spring Auction kicks off on 16 May with almost 1,000 showstoppers from the fields of art, antiquities, Asian and Russian art. Lot number 15 alone offers a preview of the numerous highlights in this auction. Dating from the late 6th to the early 7th century, the Sasanian bowl shows a great king surrounded by his servants and musicians, the scene virtually unprecedented in terms of its complexity and charm. The minimum bid of 250,000 euros will secure this antique pièce de résistance.
Next up, the great many elaborate details lend distinction to lot 41. The monumental grave urn from Apulia is sure to be well received at 25,000 euros. The painted temple scene appears almost lifelike with its vibrant colours. This magnificent example of a grave hydria dates from the 4th century B.C. and stands a whopping 70 cm tall and 50 cm wide.
Another urn originating from the Roman Empire of the 1st century A.D. has exceptionally graceful lines and an unusual sealing mechanism, a symbolic device that enables the dead to take part in the funeral ceremony. Special mention must however be made of the profound philosophical motto in large letters: “How much there is in life of glory, virtue and honour, is shown by how small a heap of ashes death makes of it.” This masterpiece of Roman material and intellectual culture is now listed as lot number 59 for 25,000 euros.
Calligraphy was not the exclusive province of the Romans: it was widely practised in Chinese cultures hundreds of years ago, too. Stylised characters and the artistic writing thereof have been considered supreme there since time immemorial. Not one but two pots for storing brushes (lots 129 and 136) embody this tradition in exemplary fashion with their skilfully executed lettering. The opening price of each is 2,000 euros.
Lot 158 is embellished with a masterly representation of Chinese brush art, albeit not in written but in painted form. A famille rose vase of sizeable proportions boasts an impressive scene with herds of deer dotted across an idyllic mountain landscape. Especially in China, deer were considered highly symbolic. Deer, and thus by extension this colourful masterpiece, are considered propitious for a long, healthy life and prosperity, more than justifying the reserve of 3,000 euros, particularly in times like these.
Lot 410 in the antiquities section merits particular attention. The beautiful, 17th century Augsburg casket is a noteworthy example of superb German marquetry craftsmanship. The lid displays three coats of arms, enamelled in colour and highlighted in gold, surrounded by exquisite ivory ornaments. The interior is lined in the finest paper, decorated with gold foliage. Bids are now invited from 18,000 euros for this museum-quality piece.
One highlight among the silverware is a Gothic communion chalice, probably dating from the 15th century. Listed as lot number 473, the chalice is now expected to fetch 15,000 euros. Meanwhile, buyers will also be interested in lot number 497, a silver goblet by court goldsmith Theodor Heiden of Munich. The shaft and one base of the bowl are magnificently crafted. However, the 18-carat gold bowl gives this goblet the final flourish. The new owner will have to part with a minimum of 13,000 euros.
Moreover, a tiny, silver match case by Carl Fabergé in the new chapter of “Russian art” is bound to create a flurry of excitement. The sumptuous, turquoise enamel alone would make this accessory an eye-catcher; however, the lavishly sparkling diamonds will quicken the pulse of any art connoisseur. The lot with the number 695 now has a reserve of 4,000 euros.
Furthermore, the special collection of 230 icons is a veritable sensation, with a Menaion icon as one of the absolute top lots. The imposing devotional tableau shows all twelve months, each with four illustrations. The margins are decorated with 90 images of the Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus. This year icon, lot number 814, is attractively estimated at 1,500 euros. A monumental icon featuring Saint Theodore of Yaroslavl and his sons David and Constantine is not just intriguing as a result of its rare subject matter, it also stands out thanks to its impressive height of 107 cm. Lot number 869 is now certain to coax an enthusiast into investing 5,300 euros.
On Tuesday, 17 May, just under 300 lots from antique arms and armour are being offered for sale.
Collectors of treasures from the Far East can look forward to lot 1018. At first glance, the Ottoman yataghan appears unostentatious; however, the finely chiselled, wootz-Damascus blade with its gilt foliage inlays, the matching gilt blade mounting with its silver-plated brass grip and floral relief decoration make this phenomenal edged weapon exceptionally imposing. It is expected to change hands for 3,500 euros.
Next up, lot 1033, a magnificent shamshir circa 1840, also comes from the Ottoman Empire. Spectacular corals and turquoise cabochons on hilt and scabbard guarantee this beautifully preserved sword a place among the premium lots. Moderately estimated at just 12,000 euros, this highly coveted model will doubtless spark a bidding war, considering that a similar weapon – in less good condition – sold for 20,000 euros in 2021.
Originating in India, lot 1059 is in immaculate condition and thus worthy of special mention. Three sparkling ruby cabochons and the delicate silver inlays on the moss green jade grip of the khanjar (circa 1800) draw the eye of the beholder. Bids from 5,000 euros are now invited for this thrusting weapon.
The defensive arms on offer will attract widespread attention, not just among curators. Lot number 1116 is an extremely rare nasal helmet dating from the era of the first crusade, such as is seldom available on the market. Both helmet and sturdy nasal bar forged in one piece, the rare headgear is expected to fetch 7,000 euros.
Moreover, lot 1117 is a real highlight. Worn by officers of a cooper’s guild, the German morion was etched and gilded by true master craftsmen circa 1580. An identical helmet can be found in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The new owner will have to part with a minimum of 10,000 euros.
Another helmet is a sight to behold, mainly due to its distinctive lines. Lot 1122 is a close helmet dated 1590 with a guide price of 12,000 euros. Given its excellent, untouched condition, every armoury will want to add this helmet to its collection.
Among the edged weapons, a particularly rare Viking sword from Scandinavia with “INGELRII” inscribed on the blade is certain to cause a stir. Today, only around 20 specimens of this group of swords are known to exist. The lot with the number 1220 also has a reserve of 12,000 euros.
Lastly, lot 1253, a heavy sabre circa 1660/70, is both awe-inspiring and terrifying at the same time thanks to the fierce lion’s heads on the pommel and at the ends of the midrib, in stark contrast to the remaining gentle, ornamental etchings. This fabulous weapon may now be acquired for 4,500 euros.
Why not browse through the Hermann Historica auction catalogues? They include detailed descriptions of all lots, along with numerous high-quality photographs. Please visit www.hermann-historica.com for our free online catalogues and further information.
You are cordially invited to inspect all objects in person at the offices of Hermann Historica in Grasbrunn, near Munich. The pre-sale viewing will take place from Monday, 09 May to Saturday, 14 May, between 11 am and 5 pm each day. As usual, the Hermann Historica experts will be on hand to advise customers. We will observe the current COVID-19 regulations, as published on our website.
(Please note: all prices quoted are net prices and do not include the 25% premium (and VAT)).