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-   -   What can you tell me about this sword? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=25277)

erikmarko 12th September 2019 07:39 PM

What can you tell me about this sword?
 
Hi guys I have a Imperial Russia shashka sword. Can someone tell me how old this is and what do the symbols (moon/stars/sun and numbers) mean on the blade? Would this be actually be a fighting sword or just for show? Here is the link to my earlier post about it....

https://www.antiquers.com/threads/p...-this-is.41516/

Robert 13th September 2019 09:54 AM

Hello and welcome to the forum. I am sure that someone more versed in this style of sword will be along shortly that can answer your questions. I would mention though that when asking for help and information it would be more appropriate if you were to post photos of the item in question directly to this thread instead of posting a link to a thread in another forum.

Best,
Robert

Ren Ren 13th September 2019 01:15 PM

Hi, Erik!

According to the submitted photos with a confidence of 98%, I can say that this is a high-quality fake. Made probably in Georgia.
At present, a lot of good fakes are being made in Russia and Georgia. Masters have original things before their eyes, therefore it is difficult to distinguish.
On the hilt of your shashka there is a monogram of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II. If it were original, this would mean that the item belonged to the emperor personally or was personally presented to someone as a sign of special merit. But such items have been preserved very, very few and their fate is known.

mahratt 13th September 2019 01:22 PM

I think, Ren Ren, says absolutely right.

Today I will have a Russian collector visiting me who collects Caucasian and Russian weapons and I will show him photographs. He will say absolutely for sure.

corrado26 13th September 2019 01:46 PM

I think this is one of hundreds of extremely well made fakes coming up from Russia in the last years what was reason enough for me to stop every deal with Russian or Polish dealers or collectors. :mad:
corrado26

erikmarko 13th September 2019 07:11 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Hmm very interesting, if it's fake it sure looks old. Check out the pictures of the blade. It's in pretty rough shape with lots of rust/pitting. Can that be reproduced? Does this change your opinion?

Thanks

erikmarko 13th September 2019 07:18 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Here is a close up of the hilt...

Battara 13th September 2019 09:02 PM

erikmarko,

It would be good to post those pictures and not rely on a link, please.

ariel 13th September 2019 10:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ren Ren

According to the submitted photos with a confidence of 98%, I can say that this is a high-quality fake. Made probably in Georgia.
At present, a lot of good fakes are being made in Russia and Georgia. Masters have original things before their eyes, therefore it is difficult to distinguish.


Unfortunately, this is true. Russia has become a world leader in at least one field: forgery of antiques. Their quality ranges from atrocious to superb.

This is the reason why Russian collectors are so paranoid: the likelihood of an expensive antique sword offered from anywhere in the world appears to them being 99%.

I can understand them: as an old Russian proverb says, being burnt by hot milk, one starts blowing air on a cow.

Well, even paranoiacs have real enemies:-((((

erikmarko 13th September 2019 10:28 PM

Oh so just because it is very unlikely that it would be real, it's considered fake? Or can you guys actually see signs of fake symbols/mass production or man made patina/pitting/corrosion? Can someone point out these signs to me?

Ren Ren 13th September 2019 11:54 PM

Being a leader is very difficult. In the lower - atrocious - segment of the market, it makes no sense to compete with China, India and Pakistan. In the high segment, Russia is being squeezed by Poland, Ukraine and Georgia ;)

corrado26 14th September 2019 09:50 AM

Simply a look at the ridiculous bad quality of the engravings of the blade that never would have been accepted in old times shows impressivly that this sword is a fake only made for deceiving collectors.
corrado26

Ren Ren 14th September 2019 11:28 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikmarko
Here is a close up of the hilt...

Good work. But it was made yesterday.
The blade may have been taken old, but greatly "supplemented and improved." It is advisable to make a general photo of the subject.

mahratt 14th September 2019 11:46 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikmarko
Oh so just because it is very unlikely that it would be real, it's considered fake? Or can you guys actually see signs of fake symbols/mass production or man made patina/pitting/corrosion? Can someone point out these signs to me?


Hello, erikmarko

Yesterday my friend came to me - a collector of Caucasian and Russian weapons. He looked at the photo and said that he was 90% sure (you can be 100% sure only when the item is in your hands) that this is an old shashka for the late 19th Ė early 20th century. He believes that the shashka belonged to an officer of the Russian Empire, so the Emperorís monogram on the hilt is normal. A blade with an engraving of low quality, according to my friend, was simply made not in a large well-known weapon manufacturing center (such as Kubachi), but somewhere in the periphery.
For me, a good argument that your shashka is genuine was the words of my friend that he was ready to buy it from you :)

David R 14th September 2019 12:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
Hello, erikmarko

Yesterday my friend came to me - a collector of Caucasian and Russian weapons. He looked at the photo and said that he was 90% sure (you can be 100% sure only when the item is in your hands) that this is an old shashka for the late 19th Ė early 20th century. He believes that the shashka belonged to an officer of the Russian Empire, so the Emperorís monogram on the hilt is normal. A blade with an engraving of low quality, according to my friend, was simply made not in a large well-known weapon manufacturing center (such as Kubachi), but somewhere in the periphery.
For me, a good argument that your shashka is genuine was the words of my friend that he was ready to buy it from you :)


A good point about the need to see it in hand to be certain. To me the clincher is the quality of the silver-work, repousse and niello rather than poor filigree.... Do my eyes deceive me, or is that a pattern welded blade?

mahratt 14th September 2019 12:47 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
A good point about the need to see it in hand to be certain. To me the clincher is the quality of the silver-work, repousse and niello rather than poor filigree.... Do my eyes deceive me, or is that a pattern welded blade?


I looked at the photo again more carefully. I think this is an imitation of a pattern welded blade. By the way, this, in my opinion, once again may indicate that this is an authentic shashka.

Ren Ren 14th September 2019 02:17 PM

Miracles sometimes happen and this cannot be denied.
In this case, I must admit that in the hands of Eric was a truly rare shashka in excellent condition.

Ren Ren 14th September 2019 02:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mahratt
I think this is an imitation of a pattern welded blade.

I agree, this is an imitation of a welded pattern.

erikmarko 14th September 2019 07:12 PM

Wow, so the Russian collector of weapons says that it's most likely authentic shashka. Now can you guys tell me if this weapon would have been used in fights or just for show. Can someone tell me what the meaning of the moon/sun/stars and the clouds I suppose running along the blade is? And what does the number 149 mean?

Thanks

sfenoid13 14th September 2019 08:50 PM

This is a reproduction(saying it is ďfakeĒ makes no sense). It is a replica basically. The different parts and patina on the sword do not match. The patina is not natural and those putting sand rust can be reproduced. Since the handle is not a horn or another natural material itís easy to tell itís newly made. It is higher quality reproduction but nonetheless newly made. If you have been around in this business for , letís say 5 years, you could easily tell this I. The first minute of looking at it. My 2 cents ;)

erikmarko 15th September 2019 12:10 AM

Sfenoid, I don't think you got the memo. The Russian collection that deals in this sort of weapons has a different opinion. You seem to be 100% convinced that it's a "reproduction" which in itself is a red flag. Btw wouldn't a "reproduction" try to copy a brand new/original look of something? If this thing was distressed to look old and original I would consider it "fake".

Ian 15th September 2019 02:04 AM

So hard to tell real from reproduction
 
An interesting discussion here on what is old and what is reproduction, with some strong arguments each way. What it tells me is that I should be very wary of shashka that are said to be old and of high quality. These are not swords I have researched or own, but the recent surge of reproductions has diminished my appetite for acquiring any.

I'm not coming down on either side of the discussion, but what interests me is how experienced collectors can be strongly divergent in their views. Caveat emptor indeed!

mariusgmioc 15th September 2019 06:26 AM

I am by no means very knowledgeable about Caucasian weapons but the blade shows very clear signs of pitting and the engravings are pretty worn out. It is like the sword was rusty and then cleaned, with remaining patches of pitting where the rust got deeper.
To me this points into the direction of a genuine blade.

As with regards to the hilt, it appears to be quality work that displays deep black patination with some wear of the protruding decorative elements.
So, the hilt looks to be equally original and authentic.

However, what bothers me is the continuity of the edge.
The cutting edge is the thinest, thus the most sensitive to corrosion, part of the blade. So normally, in a blade that was rusty then cleaned, you would find small nicks in the edge where rust has bitten into the edge from both sides.
I do not see any such nicks in the edge of this blade.
Moreover, judging from the photos, the edge appears somehow rounded. This may be because
1. the blade never had a real cutting edge, being a replica all along, or,
2. the edge was dulled during the cleaning process.
In the second case, the loss of the edge would mean a reduction in the width of the blade, but I cannot discern any such kind of reduction.

So, in the end I am quite confused with mixed oppinions about the sword. :shrug:

A strong point would be the quality of the steel of the blade. If the blade is stiff/elastic enough to be used for fighting, it would point again into the direction of an authentic blade.

erikmarko 15th September 2019 07:21 AM

I don't know if that will tell you anything but when I got this sword the entire blade was covered in some kind of gunky substance I suppose to protect it from rusting and it took me couple of days just to get it of the blade. The edge of the blade feels like it was quite sharp at some point.

Ren Ren 15th September 2019 08:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by erikmarko
Can someone tell me what the meaning of the moon/sun/stars and the clouds I suppose running along the blade is? And what does the number 149 mean?

Thanks

These symbols mean that the blade is a rough Caucasian copy of the Hungarian and German blades of the XVII - early XVIII centuries ;) Such blades were highly valued and actively copied by local craftsmen in the late XIX - early XX centuries.

ariel 15th September 2019 01:31 PM

In my guesstimate there is a great contrast between a high quality of the handle and an atrocious blade.
Caucasian masters often imitated classic decorations of the highly valued German blades, and necessarily left some clues indicating the forgery.
But this one beats them all! It is beyond poor, it is childish.

I have a great difficulty to believe that a high-class master of the handle chose such a low-quality blade for a whole ensemble. I am also not sure about another point: even though we cannot see the entire shashka, it seems to me that the axis of the handle does not coincide with the axis of the blade. At least in Indian swords this suggests that the blade was remounted.

Overall, I would rather entertain a notion that it was a recent shotgun marriage of convenience. And would not exclude the possibility that the blade was made recently and aged artificially.

I might be wrong, but the opinion of a Russian expert is also only 90%, which is not reassuring: it is safely within the 2SD range:-)))))


In short, I would not buy it . If the Russian expert wishes to acquire it, my inclination would be to get rid of it.

corrado26 15th September 2019 02:28 PM

The same I said with less words in post #12.
corrado26

ariel 15th September 2019 05:54 PM

Yes, you did.
My point is that we should either have facts regarding authenticity or non-authenticity of an object or refrain of expressing definitive opinions (often based on photographs) and go with our gut feeling, i.e. voting with out wallets.

Sounds simple.

erikmarko 15th September 2019 06:15 PM

But... what do you guys mean by low quality of the blade? How do you know it's a low quality blade? Have you guys seen pictures of other shashka blades on the net? Some of them look just as bad or even worse. It just looks old due to rust/pitting. It's not the same material as hilt so obviously it will age differently. Low quality of engraving is due to being it done some time after manufacturing by unknown obviously less skilled source that's very possible.

erikmarko 15th September 2019 06:39 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
In my guesstimate there is a great contrast between a high quality of the handle and an atrocious blade.
Caucasian masters often imitated classic decorations of the highly valued German blades, and necessarily left some clues indicating the forgery.
But this one beats them all! It is beyond poor, it is childish.

I have a great difficulty to believe that a high-class master of the handle chose such a low-quality blade for a whole ensemble. I am also not sure about another point: even though we cannot see the entire shashka, it seems to me that the axis of the handle does not coincide with the axis of the blade. At least in Indian swords this suggests that the blade was remounted.

Overall, I would rather entertain a notion that it was a recent shotgun marriage of convenience. And would not exclude the possibility that the blade was made recently and aged artificially.

I might be wrong, but the opinion of a Russian expert is also only 90%, which is not reassuring: it is safely within the 2SD range:-)))))


In short, I would not buy it . If the Russian expert wishes to acquire it, my inclination would be to get rid of it.





Hey ARIEL, you are telling me that engraving on my shashka looks childish... So check out this pic... Does this look any better than first grader's drawing or what is on my sword?


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