Bronze-age helmet up for grabs


A rare opportunity to purchase a bronze helmet from 1000 BC is coming up at the 45th Art & Antiques Fair Olympia (26 June – 2 July).

This helmet was owned by prolific German arms and armour collector, Axel Guttmann, who displayed his magnificent collection in a museum-like manner in his home, prior to his death in 2001. 

There are 12 bronze age helmets in existence, 10 of which are in museums and one in a private collection. It is expected to sell for tens of thousands of pounds. 

Bronze Age European metal defensive armour is extremely rare.  To date, only twelve complete bell helmets are known, plus fragments of three further helmets.  Of the twelve complete helmets, ten were acquired in the past by museums (one of them lost during the World War II), and only two are in private hands.  This is one of those two and is an incredible find by Alexander Ancient Art, the Dutch antiquities dealer who will be arriving with the piece to Olympia in June. 

Alexander Biesbroek, founder of Alexander Ancient Art said, “Bronze Age European metal defensive armour is extremely rare. The academic, Marianne Modlinger mentions in an article published in 2013 that from the beginning of the Urnfield culture on (ca. 1300 BC), only 120 helmets, 90 shields, over 60 greaves and 30 cuirasses are known so this really is special.  I’m confident this will catch the eye of the avid collector of ancient arms and armour – or an individual looking for a really unique, beautiful eye-catching piece for their home.”

While the exact spot of where this specific helmet was found is unknown it is most likely to be Hungary - and not in the ground but in water. This is indicated by the brown metallic patina and the remains of sand found inside. It is likely that the helmet was produced in the Carpathian Basin in Eastern Europe, although the origin or evolution of this type of helmet is still unclear. 

Independent Vetter for The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia, Peter Clayton said, “The helmet is a splendid item and you just cannot have a better provenance than the prolific Guttmann

This unique helmet will be on sale at the Alexander Ancient Art stand (G5) at The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia from 26 June to 2 July. Located in the elegant National Hall in London Olympia, the Fair is extremely easy to get to and there will be a free shuttle bus during the Fair between London Olympia and Sloane Square. 

Tickets are priced at £15 in advance and £20 on the door and £60 on preview day. The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia takes place at the Olympia National, London, W14 8UX.