Norman - Four-Plate Rivetted Spangenhelm Helmet
Antiquities - Medieval
GBP (£) 7,000 - 9,000
EUR (€) 8,100 - 10,420
USD ($) 8,790 - 11,310
Sold for (Inc. premium): £5,750
Circa 11th century AD. An extremely rare iron helmet fabricated from four triangular iron plates skillfully made to accommodate the curvature of the human head and with a slight point at the apex; contoured so that the front and back plates overlap the side-plates by 1-2cm with iron rivets passing through this overlap to secure them in position; the rivets worked flat into the surface of the helmet, and almost invisible from the outside but detectable on the inner surface; the inverted lower rim furnished with an additional series of rivets, probably to accommodate a lining; two empty rivet-holes at the base of the side-plates, where the cheek-plates were originally attached; the plate-junction at the apex left slightly open, allowing a plume or horsehair streamer to be inserted or a covering plate to be attached. Helmets of this general profile and with some form of conical crest are a long-lived military fashion in the Black Sea region and appear in designs on the bone facing of a Khazar saddle of 7th-8th century date from the Shilovskiy gravefield (Samara region); a similar helmet (of presumed 5th century AD date) is housed in the St. Petersburg Musum (inventory reference PA72), previously in the MVF Berlin until 1945 under inventory ref.IIId 1789i. The rivetted-plate construction is known across Europe from the Migration Period through to the 12th century: it is this form which appears on the heads of English and Norman warriors in the Bayeux tapestry. 210mm high, 175mm diameter; 1.71kg. Professionally cleaned and stabilized and in very fine condition, including a custom made display stand.
Ex an old private collection.
Curtis, H. M., 2,500 Years of European Helmets, North Hollywood, 1978; Denny, N. & Filmer-Sankey, J., The Bayeux Tapestry, London, 1966; Kirpicnikow, A. N., â€œRussische Helme aus dem FrÃ¼hen Mittelalterâ€, Waffen- und KostÃ¼mkunde, 3rd Series, Vol. 15, pt. 2, 1973; Menghin, W. The Merovingian Period - Europe Without Borders, Berlin, 2007, p.326-7 item I.34.4.
A full report from I. Eaves, Arms and Armour Consultant, and an XRF ancient metal test certificate from Oxford X-ray Fluorescence Ltd accompanies the piece.
Friday 19th March 2010 at The Swedenborg Hall 20-21 Bloomsbury WayLondon WC1A 2TH
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Lot No. 606