Once again, in this year's Autumn Auction on 3 November 2020, a selection of extremely rare, outstanding lots are to come under the hammer in the "Antique arms and armour from all over the world" catalogue. Interested buyers are cordially invited to examine the pieces on offer, including 416 lots in this section alone, during the pre-sale viewing from 18 to 21 October and from 28 to 31 October 2020 at the auction house's headquarters in Grasbrunn, near Munich.
The diverse lineup of edged weapons on offer in the Autumn Auction resembles a journey through the craftsmanship of the world's medieval and early modern blacksmiths. The catalogue includes lots that will appeal to all collecting interests and themes, beginning with early swords, such as an awe-inspiring, two-hand battle sword with a heavy single-edged blade, made in Germany between 1350 and 1400, through to a 19th century Syrian shamshir that seems almost dainty by contrast..
Its blade so heavy that even fully armed opponents were without doubt mortally wounded by the force of its blows, the extremely rare battle sword is a remarkable 116.5 cm long and boasts a lightly engraved quillons, a sturdy tang with a single perforation and a rectangular riveted button. The perforation on the tang suggests that this sword, which may be acquired for 12,000 euros, is from the Imperial Arsenal of Istanbul, which housed a large number of early looted weapons. Featuring much more elegant lines and of courtly provenance is a German rapier with a gold-plated hilt. Forged during the first years of the 17th century and fitted with a slender, double-edged blade, the exceptionally magnificent weapon stands out thanks to the chequered décor, acanthus ornaments and heavy fire gilding on its eye-catching hilt. Valued at 15,000 euros, this breathtaking sword is certain to create a flurry of excitement with its appealing design.
Dating from almost the same era, yet representative of a different region and type of weapon, an Italian left-handed dagger is sure to meet collectors' approval with its ornate, finely openworked details. Not just the knuckle bow with its depiction of a squatting monkey, flanked by two hunters amidst decorative tendrils, but the iron hilt and the pommel are also embellished with elaborate openwork. This fabulous piece is moderately estimated at 4,500 euros. Next up, a Japanese daisho, produced circa 1400 and 1590, is expected to fetch 6,000 euros. The blades of the katana and wakizashi in immaculate condition, the tsubas with cherry blossom, partially gilt and adorned with moon beetles, the grips covered in ray skin and black silk wrapping: lot number 4139 reveals a truly distinguished pair of samurai swords. Opening at 4,500 euros, an extremely interesting shamshir from the Ottoman Empire, which was reconstructed in Syria during the 19th century by incorporating a 200-year old Persian blade with gold-inlaid calligraphic cartouches, rounds off the parade of lots in this section.
Moreover, the auction also presents a range of excellent defensive arms, comprising suits and pieces of armour, helmets and shields from all these eras and regions. One exceedingly decorative specimen is the South German half armour for a man-at-arms, created during the late 16th century, and strikingly embellished with a continuous, hammered décor of fine, inset linear ornaments, plus a black and white band of meander, here in the pattern known as the 'running dog'. Bids from 14,000 euros are welcome for the extremely homogeneous half armour, which comes with a neck guard, the upper arm and leg defences both sliding on six lames, the breast and back plates of solid construction. Suits of Japanese armour are unparalleled design objects. Made of leather, and later also of metal, sometimes finished with coloured lacquer and invariably highly expressive, they have enjoyed great popularity among discerning collectors for many years. The tosei gusoku that is now looking for a new owner was made in the mid-Edo/Meiji period, with some parts dated 1864. It would lend distinction to even the most design-oriented setting and has a limit of 5,000 euros. Armour was also enhanced with further defences, such as the use of shields. Not exactly lightweight, weighing in at just under eight kilograms, and constituting an additional physical challenge for the bearer, the etched round shield, stamped with the Nuremberg mark of 1600, nonetheless afforded the combatant substantial protection in battle. Furnished with trophy decoration and grotesque masks, the shield is listed in the catalogue at 4,250 euros.