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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2020 > Norman Four-Plate Helmet

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LOT 0456

GBP (£) 1,800 - 2,400
EUR (€) 2,150 - 2,870
USD ($) 2,340 - 3,110

Sold for: £3,250
(Inc. bp*)

Norman Four-Plate Helmet

11th-12th century AD

A four-plate iron helmet constructed from curved triangular sections with a slight point at the apex; the bowl contoured so that the front and back plates overlap the side-plates by 1-2cm, with iron rivets passing through this overlap to secure them in position; the rivets worked flat into the surface of the helmet, almost invisible from the outside but detectable on the inner surface; the plate-junction at the apex supplied with a small loop, allowing a plume or horsehair streamer to be inserted; mounted on a custom-made stand. 1.2 kg total, 32.5cm with stand (12 3/4"). Fine condition, some restoration.

From a North West London collection; previously acquired in the 1980s.
See Curtis, H. M., 2,500 Years of European Helmets, North Hollywood, 1978; Denny, N. & Filmer-Sankey, J., The Bayeux Tapestry, London, 1966; Kirpicnikow, A. N., Russische Helme aus dem Frühen Mittelalter Waffen- und Kostamkunde, 3rd Series, Vol. 15, pt. 2, 1973; Menghin, W. The Merovingian Period - Europe Without Borders, Berlin, 2007, p.326-7, item I.34.4.
Helmets of this general profile and with some form of conical crest are a long-lived military fashion in the Black Sea region, and appear in designs on the bone facing of a Khazar saddle of 7th-8th century date from the Shilovskiy gravefield (Samara region); a similar helmet (of presumed 5th century AD date) is housed in the St. Petersburg Museum (inventory reference PA72), previously in the MVF Berlin until 1945 under inventory ref.IIId 1789i. The rivetted-plate construction was employed across Europe from the Migration Period through to the 12th century: it is this form which appears on the heads of English and Norman warriors in the Bayeux tapestry.