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.


A matter of safety and security

26 June 2002

Butterfields, the San Francisco auctioneers, who made the national press in March following the controversy over a Malcolm X archive, were front page material again in June following the sale of the only surviving parts from the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima.

The Finer fashions

14 June 2002

JOINING the illustrious roster of exhibitors at this month’s Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair, which runs at Mayfair’s Grosvenor House Hotel from June 12 to 18, is the distinguished arms and armour dealer Peter Finer.

‘Now, Maitland, now’s your time!’

23 May 2002

THE seven medals and insignia right are a stirring memento of one of the greatest moments in British military history. They are the service medals and awards, including the G.C.B and K.C.B of the Order of the Bath, Netherlandish Military Order of William and Russian Order of St Vladimir, presented to General Sir Peregrine Maitland.

Six medals have estimate of £50,000-70,000

23 May 2002

The defence and relief of Mafeking (1899) in the Boer War has a particular resonance in British history, and three Victoria Crosses were awarded for valour during the action. As a result, medals from this action generate more than usual interest.

Diary of despair

03 April 2002

The brutality and horror of everyday life in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp can be seen in a collection of pen, ink and watercolour sketches to be offered on April 16 at Bonhams, New Bond Street’s sale of topographical pictures.

And recalling the Great War, heroism on a plate

25 February 2002

Would that every soldier was awarded a piece of porcelain, as well as a medal, for acts of outstanding bravery. What a civilised army that would make.

Ex-Butterfields chiefs launch new arms and armour auction house

12 February 2002

USA: A NEW auction house specialising in what it dubs ‘Landmark’ sales of arms and armour has risen in San Francisco from the ashes of the former top management team of Butterfield’s.

Pair of saddle pistols fetched $1.8m

29 January 2002

USA : It was no surprise that the star lot in a star-studded Americana sale at Christie’s New York on January 18 and 19 was the Lafayette-Washington pair of saddle pistols which fetched $1.8m (£1,285,715) and established a new world auction record for a firearm.

Helmet combines academic and monetary values

23 January 2002

ARMS & ARMOUR: Academic importance doesn’t always equate with financial interest, but in the case of the item pictured here, a 16th century close helmet, which went under the hammer at Sotheby’s Olympia (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) on December 7, there was a happy concurrence between the two.

Johnson medals set new world record

16 January 2002

A new world record was set at Spink’s sale of Medals, Orders and Decorations (ODM) on December 10. The group of medals won by Air Vice-Marshal (as he became) “Johnnie” Johnson were sold for £241,500 (including premium).

Eisenberg fair goes it alone

07 November 2001

USA: As expected, US show organiser Sanford Smith has been forced to follow other New York fairs and cancel his two high-profile mid-November shows at the city’s two armory buildings.

Enigma theft dealer faces prison term

02 October 2001

UK: THE dealer charged in connection with the theft of the German Enigma cypher machine from Bletchley Park has been told he could go to jail after admitting receiving stolen goods.

All guns blazing on summer day

17 September 2001

SPECIALIST collectors and dealers don’t seem to have a closed season, certainly not in the arms and armour world and they turned up in strength at Weller & Dufty in Birmingham on 25 July.

Anything but child’s play

05 September 2001

USA: WHEN Henry Koerner’s (1915-1991) oil on board Playing Pretend (21 x 2ft 1in) was offered on home soil at Dargate’s July 10-14 sale in Pittsburgh it made a substantial price, especially as the subject matter, impish children stuck in contorted poses, was commonly visited by the artist and is his most highly rated work.

English fire power – Lucknow style

20 August 2001

UK: One of the highlights of Christie’s South Kensington’s antique arms and armour sale on July 19 was this interesting Indian-made group, comprising pistols and a sporting gun from the Lucknow Arsenal.

The Prince of Winchesters

03 August 2001

One would expect to see a Winchester 1873 ‘repeater’ holding up a bank in Santa Fe, not aimed at a tiger in the Indian Raj, but strangely enough it appears that Edward, Prince of Wales had more in common with outlaws like Angelo and Jesse James than previously realised.

£8000 offer settles duel by Birmingham bidders

11 July 2001

THE 1140 lots of arms and armour held offered by Birmingham specialists Weller & Dufty (15% buyer’s premium) on June 13 encompassed most forms of dealing out death and sparked enthusiasm from a range of collectors and dealers. But the pick of the day was this fine cased pair of 18-bore flintlock duelling/officers’ pistols.

Royal exchange relic blazes away

04 July 2001

Now that we cannot take what is left of our public services for granted, it is worth remembering that municipal fire brigades have only existed nationwide since 1938. When private brigades were the norm, the residents of towns and cities had to rely on firemen employed by private insurance companies, resulting in the bizarre sight of Commercial Union/Sun Life/Phoenix firemen idling in front of a blazing building insured by a rival company.

Enigma trial: plot thickens with move plea

15 June 2001

UK: THE trial of Dennis Yates, the Nottingham-based radio specialist accused of blackmail and receiving stolen goods after an Enigma code machine was stolen from Bletchley Park Museum, may be delayed by a defence plea to move the venue.

Battling over haunting mementos of Sarajevo

08 June 2001

Austria: This broken pane of glass formed a haunting reminder of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, which precipitated World War I.

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