Karsten Klingbeil's antique arms and armour collection braves Belgian auction

It seems like yesterday when the first whispers about the Karsten Klingbeil collection of historic arms and armour reached us. Now the first of the two mammoth sales of his extraordinary hoard is almost upon us.

Tomorrow (December 13), Pierre Berge & Associés will present 241 lots from the collection in Brussels, Belgium led by some amazing suits of antique armour:

The expected top lot, which we've featured previously, is a Milanese example dating from circa 1580-90, believed to be from the workshop of the renowned master Pompeo della Chiesa, finely etched and gilded from head to toe.

Karsten Kleinbell Pompeo suit of armour
The Pompeo della Chiesa suit of armour from the Karsten Kleinbell collection

The entire piece is etched with a series of bands filled with complex designs of trophies-of-war involving fantastic beasts. These alternate with bands of interlaced strapwork ending in foliage and punctuated by ovals framing Classical warriors, figures from Roman mythology, warriors in 16th century dress, and small grotesques.

The entire scheme is arranged on a framework of blued vacant bands, with the armour comprising a closed helmet with one-piece skull rising to a cable comb. It is displayed on a custom-built mannequin, and expected to bring €250,000-300,000.

In amongst the suits of armour designed for men alone is an impressive reconstruction of a fluted full suit of armour for man and horse in the South German 'Maximilian' fashion. The mounted figure dates partly to around 1525, whilst the rest has been assembled during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Horse and rider armour
South German 'Maximilian' horse and rider armour
Expected to bring €80,000-120,000

Other great highlights in the sale include a very rare pair of antique German wheel-lock holster pistols attributed to the Meister der Tierkopfranke (The Master of the Animal-Head Scrolls), circa 1640-50 with octagonal barrels decorated with silvered geometric bands of leaf ornament over the breeches. These are listed at €30,000-40,000.

Then there is a rare Gothic crossbow, German or Swiss, late 15th century, valued at €25,000-€30,000 of the so-called composite type built up from strips of horn covered with layers of sinew and the outer surfaces retaining fragments of the original decorated bark covering.

The supremely rare antique Gothic crossbow
The supremely rare antique Gothic crossbow

A Venetian lacquered and gilt parade shield in the Ottoman style made for the guard of a dedicated art patron, Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg around 1580 and an exotic sabre in the taste of the Saxon Electoral Court are expected to bring over €25,000 each too.

Watch this space for the results of the auction.

Karsten Klingbeil Shield
The Venetian lacquered and gilt parade shield

Historical military memorabilia can be amongst the most fascinating of all collectibles. We're particularly excited to be offering two intriguing autographs:

The first is clipped from a letter by controversial reformer and General Oliver Cromwell and the other a fascinating letter written by Napoleon to the Duc of Feltre, giving an insight into his military concerns at the time. Unlike auction houses, we don't charge buyer's premium on any of our items.


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