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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2020 > Medieval German Great Helm

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LOT 0476

GBP (£) 6,000 - 8,000
EUR (€) 7,010 - 9,340
USD ($) 7,730 - 10,310

Sold for: £9,375
(Inc. bp*)

Medieval German Great Helm

Mid 14th century AD

A German great helm of later type with the lower part missing, but still visible in its original shape; comprising five plates rivetted together: one plate forming the top, rivetted by fifteen iron studs; two forming the front part, the top occipital plate also rivetted by fifteen iron studs, nine of which are the same rivetted to the top; the lower facial plate still fastened with eight studs, two of them attaching a T-shaped nose-guard raising on the upper plate; the back upper plate fastened by twenty-four rivets, the lower nine ones also rivetting the lower plate; eight holes (two in the upper frontal plate, six in the upper back plate) are visible and were intended for the fixing of the internal padding system; the top of the helmet is convex; the visual system is divided into two parts, and on both left and right parts with remaining holes forming the ventilation system. 1.7 kg, 27cm (10 1/2"). Fair condition. Extremely rare.

From an important private family collection of arms and armour; acquired on the European art market in the 1980s, and thence by descent; accompanied by an academic report by military specialist Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
See Boeheim W.,Handbuch der Waffenkunde. Das Waffenwesen in seiner historischen Entwickelung vom Beginn des Mittelalters bis zum Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts, Leipzig, 1890; Pierzak J. Średniowieczne hełmy garnczkowe na ziemiach polskich na tle zachodnioeuropejskim, Bytom, 2005; Wild W., Unter schrecklichem Knallen barsten die Mauern – Auf die Suche nach archäologischen Spuren von Erdbebenkatastrophen, in Mittelalter, 11, 2006, pp.145-164; Lüken S., Topfhelm, in Aufbruch in die Gotik. Der Magdeburger Dom und die späte Stauferzeit. Band II. Katalog, ed. Puhle, M. Lammert, N., Magdeburg-Mainz, 2009, p.376; Lüken S., Topfhelm, inBurg und Herrschaft, ed. Atzbach R., Lüken S., Ottomeyer H., Berlin-Dresden, 2010, p.74; Žákovský P., Hošek J., Cisár V., A unique finding of a great helm from the Dalečín castle in Moravia, in Acta Militaria Mediaevalia, VIII, 2011, pp.91-125; the structure of the helm shows similarity with the helmets of Dargen (Žákovský, Hošek, Cisár, 2011, fig.9a) found at the Dargen Castle near Deerberg and kept today in the collections of the Berlin Zeughaus, dating back to the second half of the 13th century (Lüken, 2009, 376, cat. no.VI.13; 2010, 74, cat. no.3.11); with the helmet of Madeln Castle (Žákovský, Hošek,Cisár, 2011, fig.9a) found during the research in 1940, nowadays stored in the collections of the Liestal Museum, dated to the end of the 13th century, with a possible overlap into the turn of the following century, although the helm was probably buried during the devastating earthquake in 1356 AD during which Madeln Castle was destroyed (Wild, 2006, pp.146-147); and other helmets like the ones of Küssnach Castle, Bolzano and Tannenberg (Žákovský, Hošek, Cisár, 2011, figs.9c-9d-9e), dated, respectively at the second quarter of the 14th century, early 14th century and 1350 AD. This item also has parallels with the recently published five plate helmet from Dalečín castle dated to 1340 AD (Žákovský, Hošek, Cisár, 2011, p.114).
This helm belongs to the category of the Great Helms made of five separate plates rivetted together. The chronological indicator for the Great Helms with five plates, suggested by Žákovský, Hošek, Cisár (2011, p.100), is the shape of the top occipital plate. This plate, flat in older helmets dated to 13th and early 14th century, is convex to hemispherical in the helmets made between 1320 and 1330 AD, followed by a conspicuous rib following the longitudinal axis of the plate. This is the case of the Dalečín helmet and also of our specimen. The modification of the top occipital plate from flat to convex or hemispherical was better suited to deflecting potential blows of the opponent away, or perhaps responded to the fact that, since the beginning of the 14th century, lighter helmets were worn under the Great Helms to provide the wearer with more comfort, a generally better view and more peripheral vision.