3,500 years ago in Central Greece, the Mycenaean civilization had helmets that wrapped around the top of the head and were extended by cheek guards, made by assemblies of boar's tusks. The Bronze Age will mark a great step forward in the strength and effectiveness of these accessories.
The Greek helmets in bronze are generally formed by the hammering of a single plate of metal. The archaic types are named Corinthian and Illyrian. They were very heavy and enveloping, causing a dangerous discomfort for sight and hearing.
In the classical period around 2450 years ago, the helmet became open and light. Henceforth the helmets of the military leaders carry incisions, crests and plumes which make it possible to distinguish the rank of the bearer. Of course archaeological findings provide a very incomplete idea of the original patina and of the ephemeral ornaments added for parades and jousts.
A terribly minimalist Corinthian helmet was sold for $ 37.5K including premium by Christie's on June 6, 2013. In the same sale, a very geometric Illyrian helmet incised with some ornaments was sold for $ 435K including premium over a lower estimate of $ 70K.
On April 28 in New York, Christie's sells a Chalcidian-type helmet of the classical period, lot 7 estimated $ 350K. The elegance of its overall shape and of its carvings on forehead and on cheek guards resolutely positions this piece in the transition between the artifact necessary for war and the art object usable for the parade.
The Phrygian-type garrison helmet found by a metal detector in the border area between Roman Britannia and Caledonia is exclusively a parade piece since it was equipped with a realistic mask. It was sold for £ 2,28M including premium by Christie's on October 7, 2010.
SOLD for $ 1.04M including premium