World's costliest helmet `is a fake'

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The Independent Online
THE WORLD's most expensive helmet, bought by the Royal Armouries for pounds 114,000, is an imitation, experts have said.

The Filippo Negroli helmet, thought to date back to the 1530s, was the most expensive single item of armour in the world when it was sold in July 1997. But experts brought in by the museum in Leeds found that it is likely to be the work of an unknown 16th century artisan. The helmet was thought to be one of only three of his helmets on public display. It is now in storage.

Guy Wilson, Master of the Armouries, said the helmet had been subject to "considerable research" since it was bought. It involved taking the helmet to New York in 1998 for comparison with comparable Negroli pieces. "The international experts that were present for the comparison were of the opinion that it was not the work of Filippo Negroli but that it may be by another Milanese armourer of the 16th century working in imitation of Filippo's style. We are currently in discussion with Sotheby's about the implications of this discovery," he said.

A Sotheby's spokesman, Christopher Proudlove, said: "We stand by our original attribution that this was made by Filippo Negroli. What we are talking about is a difference of opinion, whether Filippo Negroli made this or another of his scholars or people who worked with him."