About The European Hunt Collection
A Brief History of the European Hunt Collection
With over 300 documented trophy mounts from the 19th and early 20th centuries, the European Hunt Collection is the largest known collection of Imperial German hunting trophies in private hands outside of Europe today. It is comprised of nine unique sub-collections representing the whole of the German Empire and its African colonies, and includes mounts from the personal collections of Kaiser Wilhelm II and Emperor Franz Josef. The Hohenzollern and Hapsburg dynasties, as well as the Rothschild and Eulenburg households, are just some of the notable names within this one-of-a-kind collection of exquisite hunting mounts.
These pieces were acquired over three decades from private collectors, auctions and individuals.
Current State of the Collection
These trophies have survived traversing the Atlantic, two World Wars, and the ravages of time. In remarkable shape, they remained mostly untouched for the latter part of the 20th century. The mounts within the collection have been well preserved, and many of them retain their original inscriptions detailing the history of the hunt in which the game animal was taken. In others, the original inscriptions were either damaged or written on the back of the now lost plaques. The plaques are all hand carved from linden, and many were damaged or were infested with woodworm. In cases where the original wooden plaques could not be restored or saved, the trophies have been diligently mounted onto replacement plaques that preserve the same, hand carved style of the highest quality originals. These restorations were overseen by the curator himself as he transitioned the collection across the Atlantic to the United States.
The wappen, or helmet front plates, are mostly of First World War vintage, and added after the trophies were originally mounted. Designed to be mounted to the front of the German spiked helmet, or Pickelhaube, the wap- pen denoted the regiment's province or state. Still other trophies have the officer’s gorgets or veteran’s medals associated with them.
Very few trophies have been sold on the open market. Fewer still have ever been outside of Europe. This presen- tation of The European Hunt Collection marks the first time in history that a set of German Empire hunting trophies of this magnitude has been made available in the Americas.