Mysterious ancient helmet battles to €77,000

A number of exceptional historic militaria artefacts have sold in Hermann Historica's auction of Antiquities from the Axex Guttmann Collection and Other Properties.

The German auction house's spring sales between April 7-16 are offering a broad variety of fine antiques, arms and armour, hunting gear, militaria, and arts and crafts.

Among the star lots at the April 12 sale was this halcidian helmet, an Ibero-Celtic variant, from the 5th century BC.

The Bronze hemispherically-shaped skull has riveted reinforcing bands along the perimeter, with mask-shaped and reinforced eye cut-outs.

It sold in an excellent state of preservation - without the typical deep corrosion caused by a salty environment because the helmet had not been unearthed.


The halcidian helmet, an Ibero-Celtic variant, from the 5th century BC

The historic artefact shot well beyond its pre-sale estimate of €10,000 to command a final hammer price of €77,000.

However, while its value has been proven on the auction block, mystery still surrounds the helmet's origins.

It belongs a group of 17 helmets, which were discovered in a cliff deposit presumably in the Spanish province of Soria (Castille-Leon). To this day, the helmet's type and date are not precisely known.

The Axel Guttmann Collection apparently acquired the helmet in Zurich, circa 1987-88.

According to Hermann Historica, it has previously sold six other helmets from the group.

Prices and dates were as follows: €25,000 and €19,000 (both April 2008); €30,000 and 35,000 (both April 2009); €38,000 and €43,000 (October 2009).


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