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.


Why postcards wax and Wain

09 March 2005

The recent competition seen for rare First World War silks was repeated at the sale conducted by Specialised Postcard Auctions (10% buyer’s premium) of Cirencester on December 6.

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Nelson, the Crimea and The Few – a top treble

18 January 2005

IN late autumn there were three major sales of Orders, Decorations and Medals. Their combined total was £1,373,461 with 2592 lots offered. This compares with a total for 2004 of just over £6m and 6219 lots offered by the London auction houses. (The 2004 annual tabulation for numismatic sales will appear in a future ATG.)

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To my dear sweetheart, the best and latest killing machine…

18 January 2005

Wallis & Wallis, Lewes. November 23. Buyer’s premium: 15 per centSales of arms and militaria can, with their beautifully chased old flintlocks and exuberantly decorated uniforms, somehow skate over the fact that often what is on offer is, or was, associated with the darker side of humanity.

Downtown Attractions

11 January 2005

NEVER forget there is another armory in Manhattan, the one downtown at Lexington Avenue at 26th Street, and that one hosts some splendid shows throughout the year, starting in 2005 with the appropriately named Antiques at the Armory from January 21 to 23.

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Two Japanese swords that have the edge

11 January 2005

IN CONTRAST to Sotheby’s and Christie’s, who usually offer Japanese arms and armour in Japanese works of art sales, Bonhams (19.5/10% buyers premium) include theirs as a section in militaria auctions.

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Provenance is proof of real killers

04 January 2005

A militaria section at Lawrences’ (15% buyer's premium) October 28-19 sale featured a quality, privately entered, 12-lot cache of weapons which suffered not one casualty and racked up a £30,000 total.

Scots sword trade could face the axe

01 December 2004

BUYING and selling antique swords may soon become illegal in Scotland. As part of proposals to tackle knife crime North of the Border, Scotland’s First Minister, Jack McConnell, announced his intention to ban the sale of swords and introduce a licence for the sale of non-domestic knives.

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The hallmarks of bravery…

24 November 2004

IN September 1878, as it became clear that the Newbury Borough Fire Brigade was suffering from a lack of men and equipment, around 20 determined tradesmen decided to take matters into their own hands and to form a volunteer fire brigade. After some debate by the town’s Watch Committee, the auxiliary brigade won a majority approval.

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Stand to Attention as Bridges are Built

18 November 2004

THE well advertised sale of Railwayana & Military Memorabilia was held in H.J Pugh & Co’s Ledbury salerooms on the 13th October and was another successful auction.

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Preview

09 November 2004

H.J. PUGH & Co. of Ledbury (5% buyer's premium) will be offering a selection of Railwayana, Military Memorabilia and Other Collectables at auction on Saturday 13th November.

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Foreign bids wins top gun

29 September 2004

BILLED as the top gun on the catalogue cover of the September 1 sales at Lewes arms and armour specialists Wallis & Wallis (15% buyer's premium), this c.1649 German or Dutch 34-bore wheel lock pistol lived up to its reputation.

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Wake Up!, I Want You, und Du

09 September 2004

A POSTER sale held by Swanns of New York on August 4 was strong on recruitment and propaganda posters of WWI and WWII. A condition-A copy of “the best known American poster of all time”, the famous Uncle Sam image of 1917 seen top right, was sold at $9000 (£4950). Based on the well-known British poster featuring Lord Kitchener, it was originally produced by illustrator James Montgomery Flagg as a magazine cover and is in fact a self-portrait of the artist.

No-gun slogans and other mottos

08 September 2004

Badges by Philip Atwood, published by the British Museum Press. ISBN 0714150142 £7.99sb AMONG the British Museum’s priceless antiquities is the museum’s collection of some 12,000 badges. A small, hard-to-find exhibition, showing at the museum until January 16, presents just a tiny fraction of this archive.

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Badge of special forces at work

01 September 2004

GIVEN Hitler’s order to execute any commando captured during WWII, it was unusual for British special forces to wear much in the way of identification. That goes some way to explaining the rarity of this cloth badge (or formation sign) seen at a postal auction conducted by Bosley’s (15% buyer’s premium) on July 21.

Victorian games go to museum

10 August 2004

AS one of Keys of Aylsham's (10% buyer's premium) huge, six-a-year, sales aimed squarely at collectors, the strengths of this 1423-lot outing on June 17-18 lay in toys and militaria.

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When flying glass was a big hit

07 July 2004

BEFORE the acceptance of the clay pigeon (patented in 1880) as the most suitable target for skeet shooting, there was glass ball shooting. Thought to originate in Britain in the 1830s, but quickly spreading to the United States, shooting at uniform spherical glass target balls was a recognised Victorian pastime that gathered momentum following the invention in 1877 of a trap capable of casting a missile through the air in a long arc.

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18th century war games

06 July 2004

AN auctioneer contemplating an old boxed set of wooden soldiers complete with faded instructions for war games could be forgiven for steering it towards the toy section, or even a specialist toy sale.

Prototype pistols lead $5.3m firearms sale

17 June 2004

SPECIALIST firearms saleroom, Rock Island Auctions of Moline, Illinois, sold over 2800 lots for a total of $5.3m (£3m) in their April 17-19 event. Among the higher priced weapons were three prototype or experimental pistols by Mauser and Walther.

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…and the loser is: Emperor Maxentius

10 June 2004

THE Numismatica Ars Classica (15% buyer’s premium plus local sales tax) sale in Zurich on May 12 was no less wonderful than most of its predecessors. We have become used to prices which draw gasps from this house.

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Specialties of the house pull in the offbeat enthusiasts

09 June 2004

THE way Bonhams’ (17.5% buyer's premium) empire has adapted to the received wisdom that specialisation is a key to today’s macro auction environment is to have niche markets catered for at different outposts. Among the areas catered for at the Midlands branch at Knowle are such widely known ones as mechanical music and railwayana and, in ascending degree of arcane nature, wireless sets, optical instruments, firemarks, truncheons and tipstaffs.

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