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Home > Auctions > 1st September 2020 > Norman Spangenhelm Helmet

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LOT 0404

GBP (£) 5,000 - 7,000
EUR (€) 5,560 - 7,780
USD ($) 6,590 - 9,220

Opening Bid
£4,500 (EUR 5,001; USD 5,930) (+bp*)

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Norman Spangenhelm Helmet

8th-11th century AD

A Norman or Viking period two-plate iron helmet, skilfully made to accommodate the curvature of the human head and with a point at the apex; contoured so that the top and bottom plates overlap, 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 lower rim furnished with an additional series of rivets, probably to accommodate a lining; two attachment loops at the base of either side, where the cheek-plates were originally attached; the plate-junction at the apex with loop, allowing a plume or horsehair streamer to be inserted, or a conical covering plate to be attached; mounted on a custom-made display stand. 2.29 kg total, 41.5cm including stand, helmet: 836 grams, 20.5cm high (8"). Fine condition. A rare two plate example.

Condition report [Click to show]

Property of a UK gentleman; formerly in an old private collection formed in the 1980s. Authenticated by I. Eaves, arms and armour consultant; and accompanied by a positive five page report of metallurgic analytical results, written by Metallurgist Dr. Brian Gilmour of the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford; this lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.163719-10098.
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 Frahen 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 commencing in the Black Sea region since the 7th century. 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.