Antique arms and armour from Karsten Klingbeil collection triumphs at $4.9m

Pierre Berge & Associés together with Hermann Historica have completed the first leg of the extraordinary Karstein Klingbeil collection of antique arms and armour.

The sale of what is essentially a museum-quality collection did not disappoint, raking in an impressive €3.8m.

As expected, the stylish Milanese armour dating from circa 1580-90 finished strongly. It is believed to be from the workshop of the renowned master Pompeo della Chiesa, being finely etched and gilded from head to toe.

Karsten Kleinbell Pompeo suit of armour
The Pompeo suit of armour from Karsten Kleinbell's collection

Etched all over with a series of bands filled with complex designs of trophies-of-war involving fantastic beasts, the suit eventually brought €287,500 - towards the upper end of its estimate but not the top lot as had been thought.

In fact one of the other full suits of armour scored higher, a very rare suit of Italian tilting armour from the 16th century. Assembled on elements from disparate tilting armours, including several lesser restorations, it now forms a fine representation of the type.

It is topped off by a closed helmet with one-piece skull incised with pairs of lines flanking the base of a cabled low comb, pierced with five pairs of lace holes on both sides at the rear. Listed at just €150,000-200,000, it actually sold for €337,000, making it the top seller.

Karsten Klingbeil antique suits of armour
Klingbeil's full range of antique armour (tilting suit at front left)
(Click to enlarge)


However, this was not the biggest surprise of the sale by any means. That honour went to fragments of a southern German suit of armour, rather than a whole piece. This was lot 40: elements of armour for the joust, partly reconstructed in the style of circa 1490, some elements almost certainly circa 1490-1500.

It comprises the bevor of characteristically heavy construction extending over the upper-part of the chest, which is drawn-up to cup the lower half of the face and attached to the breast-plate by a pair of bolts.

Bevor from jousting armour
The fragment of jousting armour which sparked furious bidding

Listed at a mere €30,000-40,000, the lot triggered explosive bidding which only stopped at a striking €325,000.

Collectors will now be looking forward enthusiastically to the second leg of the sale, which takes place in June 2012. Watch this space for more details of the sale.


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