Antique German Armor

Last Updated: February 7, 2024By Tags:

Intro to Antique German Armor

The realm of antique German armor is a captivating gateway to the past, offering a glimpse into the craftsmanship, history, and culture of a bygone era. From medieval knights to Renaissance soldiers, German armor has left an indelible mark on the annals of military history. Whether you are embarking on a captivating journey, exploring the origins, evolution, and significance of antique German armor, or are an experienced collector our team would love to help you find what you’re looking for.

The roots of German armor can be traced back to the medieval period, where feudalism reigned supreme and knights adorned themselves in suits of armor as a symbol of status and effective protection. German armorers were renowned for their meticulous craftsmanship, blending functionality with artistic embellishment. During this era, armor evolved from simple chainmail to intricate plate armor, reflecting advancements in metallurgy and warfare tactics.

The Renaissance period witnessed a renaissance of German armor, with armorers incorporating elements of artistry, engineering, and innovation. Master armorers such as Kolman Helmschmid and Lorenz Helmschmid emerged, producing exquisite suits of armor for nobility and royalty across Europe. The distinctive “Gothic” style of German armor, characterized by its fluted surfaces and decorative etching, became emblematic of the era.

Finding Antique German Armor

Today, antique German armor continues to captivate collectors, historians, and enthusiasts alike. Museums across the globe house exquisite collections of German armor, showcasing its enduring legacy and historical significance. Collectors avidly seek out authentic pieces, valuing not only their aesthetic beauty but also their cultural and historical import.

Sourcing Antique German Armor is not as hard as one might think, many dealers and private collectors have some amazing pieces available; that being said not all items available on the market are genuine or high-quality antiques. Understanding the intricacies of sourcing antique German armor requires a discerning eye and a comprehensive knowledge of historical authenticity. It’s essential to thoroughly research reputable dealers, verify provenance, and assess the craftsmanship and condition of each piece. Additionally, consulting with experts and investing in authentication services can help ensure that you’re acquiring genuine and valuable artifacts. By taking these precautions, collectors can enhance their collections with authentic pieces of German armor that embody the rich history and craftsmanship of the past.

Our German Antique Armor Acquisitions

Throughout the years we have acquired many pieces for our clients, apart from armor we have acquired a large number of swords and other arms. Below are a few of our favorite acquisitions.

16th Century German Maximilian Helmet

This exquisite piece of German armor is a highly coveted closed helmet dating back to the 16th century. Known as a Maximilian helmet, it features the distinctive Nuremberg inspection mark, indicative of its quality and authenticity. Crafted from a single piece, the helmet boasts a fluted skull and a pointed visor with eye slits and breathing holes. Notably, the visor has notches for a movable lever, likely added during restoration or repairs, allowing it to be partially opened. However, due to past trauma, the visor does not fully close, and some rivets have been replaced or restored. The helmet is secured by a pressure lock mechanism, providing ease of use for the wearer.

German Landsknecht Katzbalger Sword circa 1500’s

Acquired in the past, this rare and highly sought-after Swiss/German Landsknecht Katzbalger Sword from the 1500s exemplifies the caliber of items we procure. Its excellent condition features a distinctive hilt with large S-shaped quillons, suggesting it may have been an officer’s sword. The wooden grip with leather binding remains in great shape, complemented by a uniquely designed long pommel. Notably, the sturdy double-edged blade bears an armorers stamp and shows signs of use, yet overall, the sword is in excellent condition. Extremely rare and museum-worthy, this sword stands as a remarkable testament to its original craftsmanship.

Average Cost of German Medieval Antiques

Costs of course vary however for authentic Medieval German Armor you should expect to pay $2,000 and up for small pieces such as knee defenses or a forget with prices rising dramatically for exemplary pieces. Larger pieces like helmets generally start around the $8,000 mark and have been sold for upwards of $35,000 for what could be termed high-quality common helmets; specific makers’ marks for example a rare close-helmet attributed to the seusenhofer workshop sold for $81,000. Full sets of armor in excellent condition are quite rare and generally start at around $25,000 although you can find lower-quality sets at lower prices a good example is a set sold by a California Private Collector through Sotheby’s in 2002  for $125,000 while it may not be classed as exceptional it was of high quality and well worth the investment.

Autheticating German Antique Armor

You should start by thoroughly researching the specific type of German armor you’re trying to authenticate. Gather as much historical documentation, photographs, and information about the manufacturing processes, markings, and characteristics of authentic pieces. Genuine German Armor often contains markings that can help with identification and authentication, while these can be forged it does assist in determining that the item is a genuine article.

An understanding of techniques and materials used during the specific time period of the armor is also critical, an experienced antique acquisition specialist will look at details like welds, rivets, seams etc. As they say, the devil is in the details.

Condition & wear, while some reproductions attempt to intentionally distress items to appear older close inspection can generally reveal that the wear an tear and even patina and rust were achieved over a short period of time as opposed to hundreds of years. Provenance and documentation can further help verify authenticity but it is not uncommon to find exemplary and authentic pieces with limited documentation. Metallurgical testing or radiographic examination may be necessary to authenticate armor, especially if other methods are inconclusive.

Selling your Antique German Armor

The Antiques Vault has acquired antique German Arms & Armor in the past for sale through The Antiques Armoury; we have also represented collectors presenting their items to other dealers and private collectors. We are able to help sellers authenticate and position their antiques correctly to ensure they get fair market value for their items. At times we have also helped sellers determine that an antique may be a reproduction or has been incorrectly classified. While this can be unwelcome news it does help mitigate the risk of facing negative consequences in the future ranging from a loss of credibility to legal troubles.

Receive Updates

Be the first to know when the antiques armoury acquires new items.

you might also like