30/01/2019 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

78th Auction of Hermann Historica


In a two-day auction on 14 and 15 March, Hermann Historica GmbH is launching its auctions for 2019 with a bang: three outstanding special catalogues are coming under the hammer.

Alongside the most sumptuous artefacts of royal and imperial provenance, a vast estate from the renowned von Leonrod family and a selection of noteworthy collectors’ items from five centuries of gunmaking are being offered for sale.

Carefully chosen officer’s gifts, some extremely valuable, were a testament to the deep bonds that developed among the regiments and their superiors. A particularly magnificent gift of honour was presented to Prince Heinrich of Prussia (1862-1929) by the officers and officials of the 1st Geschwader to mark his departure as commander. Having held this position from 1900 to 1903, the brother of the German Kaiser was given a ceremonial send-off with a fabulous model of his flagship, SMS Kaiser Friedrich III, which was made of solid silver at a scale of 1:100. Every last detail of the vessel was faithfully reproduced in this precious metal model by the silversmith M Fadderjahn of Berlin. With an asking price of €200,000, the vessel is the uncontested pièce de résistance of the 78th auction and the highlight of the catalogue: Selected collectors' items of royal and imperial provenance, comprising 25 exquisite objects. 

The catalogue is a veritable treasure trove of fabulous mementos from European and non-European ruling houses, all made with superb craftsmanship. Among them is an extremely elaborate deluxe rifle, inlaid in silver and mother-of-pearl, the wooden stock carved in half relief, that originally belonged to Kaiser Ferdinand III of Austria (1608-1657). Produced c. 1650, in a Viennese workshop, it is now valued at €50,000. Buyers will also be interested in a deluxe percussion double rifle by the celebrated Prague gunmaker, Anton Vinzent Lebeda (1797-1857), which was the final piece of a large commission to be delivered to none other than Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austria (1830-1916). Bids from €48,000 euros are welcome for the chiselled and gold-inlaid rifle.  

An illustrious estate – Freiherr von Leonrod

Throughout history, magnificent orders, documents and decorations have been awarded by regents and commanders to express their profound appreciation of services rendered or victories attained, but also to mark extreme suffering. It is a rare stroke of luck that these records, documenting the history of one family, have been preserved in their estate for decades, or centuries even. That they are now being sold as a group at one auction is an event of such singularity that it may hardly be credited. 

Hermann Historica is to offer a large estate from the significant von Leonrod dynasty, whose fortunes are inextricably linked with the history of Bavaria. Whole generations of eminently honourable careers in the military, the civil service and the clergy can be traced in this unrivalled collection of documents, decorations and orders, as well as personal photographs, uniforms and helmets from the family archive. Bids are now invited for a plethora of rarities from a special catalogue with approximately 180 lots, of which around 100 objects, including 15 Grand Crosses, are the personal possessions of the Lord Chamberlain to the last Bavarian King, Wilhelm Freiherr von Leonrod (1865-1943). 

The significance, dedicated service and achievements of the von Leonrod family in state and society are also recorded in unique fashion. The group includes a number of exceptionally rare awards that would assuredly grace any museum collection, such as the Grand Cross set with Diamonds and Swords on Ring in gold of the Bulgarian Order of St. Alexander from the reign of Tsar Ferdinand I (1861-1948), which was awarded to Ludwig’s father, Wilhelm Freiherr von Leonrod. At this point in time, no comparable group of orders is known to exist in terms of exquisite workmanship and content. Although estimated at €10,000, this price is certain to be exceeded. Wrought in outstanding jeweller’s quality, the Grand Cross set of the Bavarian Merit Order of St. Michael in its presentation case and the Grand Cross set of the Order of the Württemberg Crown are sure of a warm reception. Both decorations were also awarded to Wilhelm Freiherr von Leonrod and have a catalogue price of €8,500 each.

Fine antique and modern firearms

The formidable gems in this section will delight connoisseurs of antique firearms. A signed flintlock double turnover rifle from the Salzburg workshop of Cornelius Klett, is creating a flurry of excitement. Produced c. 1660, the turnover is surprisingly light, weighing just 2.48 kg, features fine engraving with decorative tendrils on the locks and is now open to bids from €25,000 euros. Of earlier date, a wheellock puffer made by Zacharias Herold of Dresden for the Saxon Electorate Palace Life Guard presents a completely different aesthetic. Dated 1587, the premium quality officer's issue is highly unusual as a mere 12 puffers of the same type are known to exist. The weapon is lavishly chiselled and partially gilt, the wooden full stock is covered in engraved and blackened bone inlays. This piece is expected to fetch at least €18,000. Also attracting its fair share of attention is a solid metal flintlock shotgun by Johann Glett of Passau, a descendent of the gunmaking dynasty of Glett or Klett, originally from Suhl. Made in 1680/90, the weapon has a scene with hunters and hounds engraved on the lock, is signed in several places and the iron trigger guard is chiselled with acanthus ornaments. Its new owner will have to part with a minimum of €17,000.

Please note: all prices quoted are net prices and do not include the 25% premium.


IT'S HERE! A Guide to Collecting German Militaria is the new bookazine from the publisher of The Armourer and is now on sale. This 132 page, perfect bound magazine is your guide to collecting Imperial and Third Reich militaria, from medals and cuff titles, to uniforms, weapons, personal gear and civic awards. We cover rare awards, how to spot fakes and include current prices. It’s already sold out on our website so either head for your local branch of WH Smith, as the main stockist, or buy a digital version.

Don't forget, 100 Years of the RAF, a commemorative bookazine celebrating 100 years since the formation of the RAF, is now on sale. Order your copy by clicking on 100 RAF.

Catch up on militaria news, order a back issue of The Armourer, or pick up the latest issue, in either print or digital format. Like what you see? Why not take out a subscription, save money and have it delivered to your door.



30/01/2019 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Firepower for the Panzer Divisions

A new book by Thomas Anderson describes the artillery support for advancing tanks and infantry. ...

Cromwell and his Women

New book release shows the untold story of the women in Cromwell’s family. ...

Classic shotguns at Gavin Gardiner

Gavin Gardiner’s first sale of 2019 will take place in the heart of the gunmaking district of London ...

Germans at Ratisbon’s

The 28th Contemporary History Auction at Ratisbon’s kicks off on 2 March and runs until 10 March. ...

Other News

Medals at Warwick & Warwick

Medals and militaria at the next auction on 20 Feb. ...

New venue for Holts

Holts, auctioneers of fine modern and antique guns, has announced a new venue in central London plus new ...

IWM D-Day 75 commemorations

IWM will retell the extraordinary land, air and sea story through its World War II collection and its three ...

Fighting the War on Terror

New book goes inside the global counter-terrorism units in countries around the world. ...