Arms, Armour & Militaria

Arms and armour stretches from ancient times to modern conflicts, with weapons ranging from swords and clubs to firearms, armour including helmets and shields, and militaria such as medals, uniforms, flags and ephemera.

Medals and militaria are often sold at auction as specialised categories, with arms and armour sales also held.


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Regimental badge is a cut above

28 October 2019

A white-metal regimental badge estimated at £50-100 sold for £4800 at Lindsay Burns (20% buyer’s premium) in Perth, Scotland, on September 3. Why? It probably hailed from the time and place of the American War of Independence (1775-83).

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Hands of history for Nelson memorabilia collectors

28 October 2019

The great appeal of an otherwise typical early 19th century longcase offered for sale on September 12 by Malvern auctioneer Philip Serrell was its painted dial.

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Poignant plaque for Women’s RAF

28 October 2019

A Great War bronze memorial plaque – the ‘Death Penny’ – awarded to Violet Porter, Women’s Royal Air Force, is estimated at £4000- 5000 in the Spink Orders, Medals and Decorations auction in London on November 27-28.

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Bicorne bidder from the US

28 October 2019

This felt bicorne hat is of a type worn by all ranks of the British heavy cavalry and most light cavalry officers until replaced in 1812 by crested helmets and shakos.

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Great War mascot fits the Bill

28 October 2019

The Old Bill motorcar mascot was a popular item during and after the Great War.

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Pistol sets a new standard for French army and navy use

28 October 2019

Among the antique European rarities that are included in Milestone’s November 2 autumn firearms sale in Willoughby, Ohio, will be this 1733 French dragoon flintlock pistol of large size with a 12-inch barrel in .70 bore.

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Tribute to a local hero

28 October 2019

It’s a simple message but a powerful one. The words Welcome Home are stamped on the front of a rare first World War tribute medal to J Day (believed to be John Day) issued by the Working Men’s Club for the Yorkshire village of Heckmondwike.

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Fan adulation for naval hero Nelson

28 October 2019

Nelson’s naval heroics earned him many fans – and among the many souvenirs they bought to mark his greatness were fans of the cooling variety.

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RAF helmet soars above estimate

28 October 2019

An RAF Second World War brown leather Type C flying helmet with goggles estimated at £400-500 in the Halls (23% buyer’s premium) Books, Medals & Militaria Auction on August 21 soared to £3400.

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Extra award marks ‘Forlorn Hope’ bravery

28 October 2019

The ‘Forlorn Hope’ was well named: a band of soldiers, often volunteers, chosen to take the lead part in a military operation, such as an assault on a defended position, where the risk of casualties is high. Its usage was especially common in accounts of the Peninsular War (1808-14).

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Shako of sadness emerges at Tunbridge Wells sale

28 October 2019

This shako worn by an officer of the 26th Regiment of Bengal Native (Light) Infantry is a reminder of tragic times in India.

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Broadened horizons in medal collecting

28 October 2019

While some medal collectors stick rigidly to a narrow period or theme, others take a wider view. A broad taste is evident from a large group on offer in Salisbury.

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Bayonets sale that gets to the point

28 October 2019

Tom Mason’s collecting bug began when his father sent him postcards and gifts from places where he was posted during the Second World War. By his early teens he had started his own collection of military memorabilia and began what would become a lifetime obsession with the American Civil War. Pen pals in the US and Canada helped him search for relics.

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Using your head to avoid incoming fire

28 October 2019

Red jackets and white helmets looked lovely on the parade ground but in the modern world of warfare developing at the end of the 19th century they also made fine targets for accurate long-range rifles.

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Unknown portrait of British naval hero Nelson is discovered by auctioneer Charles Miller

21 October 2019

A hitherto unknown portrait of Nelson has been discovered and will be offered at auction on November 5.

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Pick of the week: Dürer medal to honour emperor

14 October 2019

Albrecht Dürer’s medal dedicated to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, is among the most important medals of the Northern Renaissance. As only four are known to commerce, the appearance of one for sale is significant.

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White-glove sale is a matter of life, love and death

14 October 2019

A collection of 18th and 19th century mementoes of love and death – “the likes of which we are unlikely to ever see again” according to specialist Eric Knowles – brought a white-glove success at Hansons (20% buyer’s premium).

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Preview: £2001-£10,000

23 September 2019

Our weekly selection from salerooms.

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The London Antique Arms Fair moves to RAF Museum for next staging

19 September 2019

The London Antique Arms Fair is moving out of central London to Hendon, north London for its 2020 staging.

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Corinthian helmet offered in Edinburgh auction

26 August 2019

Lyon & Turnbull’s African & Oceanic Art & Antiquities auction in Edinburgh on October 16 includes this Apulian-Corinthian helmet from the late 5th-early 4th century BC.

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