Hermann Historica: from handguns to military vehicles, record-breaking auctions

With in-person auctions on May 26-28, June 1 and 2, and online-only auctions on June 21-25, the Bavarian auction house's international clientele secured exceptionally gratifying sales quotas and, in some cases, impressive price increases. Let's take a look at some of the most interesting pieces below.

The pair of wheellock carbines
This pair of wheellock carbines built in Silesia in 1640 sold for 81,250 euros.

Lot 2027 consisted of a superb pair of wheellock carbines, circa 1640, originating from the Silesian town of Cieszyn (Teschen), known since the 16th century for the manufacturing of prestigious and luxurious hunting rifles. The stocks were lavishly inlaid in bone and mother-of-pearl, embellished not merely with ornamental flourishes and tendrils, but also with wild beasts, mythical creatures and the Cieszyn coat of arms. 

No less opulent, the barrel boasted fine chiselled decoration. These unparalleled objects of prestige, whose overall appearance was unmistakably designed to underline their owner's status and wealth, proved so attractive that they only changed hands when bids reached 81,250 euros. 

A pair of flintlock pistols
A pair of flintlock pistols made in Silesia circa 1680, started at 32,000 euros and sold for 40,000 euros

Of slightly later date was an equally formidable pair of flintlock pistols made in Silesia circa 1680, sumptuously inlaid in bone and adorned with flowers, animals, grotesque masks and musicians, finished with fire gilding to accommodate the fashion of the time. This magnificent pair started at 32,000 euros and eventually sold to an enthusiastic collector for 40,000 euros. And still on the subject of firearms manufactured in Silesia, a rare example of a wheellock carbine produced around 1580/90 and with a starting price of 19,000 euros was sold for 23,750 euros, a figure that reflects the rarity and particularity of this firearm.

The Schoenberger-Laumann Mod. 1894-II 
The Schoenberger-Laumann Mod. 1894-II is considered the world's first semi-automatic pistol. This one sold for 27,500 euros.

This year the modern arms section was particularly rich in collectibles, ranging from rare to unique. One example is the Polish VIS Mod. 35 service pistol with serial number 12, offered for sale with a base bid of 5000 euros. Already during the preparation of the auction, this pistol produced in 1935 by Fabryka Broni in Radom, and considered one of the best semi-automatic pistols of the time, had prompted animated discussions in expert circles with its very low serial number. 

The sumptuous Kilij saber with gold inlays
This sumptuous Kilij saber with gold inlays, silver plating and a setting of corals and turquoises sold for 25,000 euros.

A wave of bids fell on the Radom, and in the end the auctioneer's hammer came down when the record figure of 72,500 euros was reached. Another very interesting weapon, the Schönberger-Laumann Mod. 1894-II is considered to be the world's first semi-automatic pistol, a sensational piece of supreme importance in the history of weapons development and built in only six examples. 

Described in detail and illustrated in the book "The Origins of the Automatic Pistol" by Joschi Schuy, this undisputed rarity started with 18,000 euros and sold for 27,500 euros.

The 89th Auction of Hermann Historica GmbH presented a wide range of 3303 collectibles from all the specialist areas represented by the auction house, from antiquities to medieval armor and weapons, works of art and craftsmanship, Asian artworks, artifacts from military history and heirlooms of the ruling houses.

Hermann Historica: from handguns to military vehicles, record-breaking auctions
The Krupp-Protze or Kfz 70, a six-wheel truck built in 1941 and used as a personnel carrier and artillery tractor, sold for 187,500.

The online-only auction at the end of June also achieved top-notch results, such as the 25,000 euros for an impressive Kilij saber with gold inlays, silver plating and a lavish setting of corals and turquoises. Made in Turkey during the 19th century, this saber with a Damascus blade had started from €6000.

The grand finale was the unveiling of two very special collectibles. Manufactured in 1941, the Krupp-Protze or Kfz 70, a six-wheeled truck designed as a personnel carrier and artillery tractor, and an equally spectacular anti-aircraft gun mounted on the bed platform of a Mercedes-Benz L3000 S truck, built in 1939. Estimated at €145,000 and €95,000 respectively, avid collectors jumped at the chance to snap up the two very special "SUVs" for €187,500 and €125,000 respectively.


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