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Fernando K 6th January 2014 08:38 PM

SCAMS AND FAKES
 
SCAMS and FAKES

Hello everyone

According to some literature (an article by Stefan Steimann) located in Argentina stand out as counterfeiters Spitzer, a French antiquarian, born in Vienna, whose works are in the Wallace collection at the British Museum and the Waddesdon collection, and a locksmith named Konrad, of Dresden, whose works are in the Dresden Historical Museum and acquired by. U.S. millionaire Hearst

Anyone have knowledge, or of any known copy?

Affectionately. Fernando K

Matchlock 6th January 2014 09:49 PM

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Hi Fernando K,


The fact is well known that Frédéric Spitzer was one of the most prolific and reckless forgers of his time, which was France in the 1860's to 1880's.
He especially altered deliberately highly-decorated firearms of the 16th and 17th c., many of which are - among others - in the Wallace Collection London. All his 'alterations' were done so cruelly that I cannot refrain from calling him a madman.
E.g., he put fake pommels on the stocks of wheellock pistols and barrels from late-18th c. guns in stocks of the late 16th c.!

The pistol posted below is inv.no. A1135 in the Wallace Colln: it is fully authentic and dated 1554 - but the lemon butt was 'associated' from a completely different long wheellock pistol of ca. 1610 (!). Originally that grip would have terminated in either a fishtail or dagger-style shape!!!


Spitzer did this for pure fun, just because he could and nobody stopped him perpetrating such cultural outrage: he ruined genuine weapons without any need - imagine! Weaponry as a scholarship did virtually not yet exist at that time; not a single one of his contemporaries was able tell wrong from right.

And: oh yeah, I photographed some of his evil deeds, on display at the British Museum as well!


The original catalogs of his weapons and art 'collection' number to several (5 or 7) really huge folio volumes (45 cm high), all highly sought after by bibliophiles and immensely expensive (thousands of euro).


Btw, William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper zsar, did the same thing in the US at the time of the Great Depression. He employed an army of forgers to realize his fantasies - and they too went right on to the big museums.
The road goes on forever and the party never ends.

Anton Konrad, whose name you mentioned, is known to have faked a great number of fine swords, mostly after originals in the Dresden Armory. He was a contemporary of Hearst's, and his 'products' too are, among others, in the Royal Armouries Leeds and the Wallace Colln. today. He sold many of his forgeries via the auction house Kahlert, who also regularly ordered pieces). Hans Schedelmann, a reputed arms 'scholar' and - Salzburg (Austria :D :rolleyes: :eek: !) - 'professor' and 'man of integrity' (although he was hardly able to write one single grammatically correct sentence and had never been inside a university building) wrote very benevolent 'expertises' on Konrad's fakes for the auction house Galerie Fischer at Lucerne, Switzerland.
They were all just part of the Konrad system.
After the bubble bursted, Schedelmann of course tried to disassociate of everything - and was successful.
The road goes on forever ...

One of the most prolific forgers of all times has been active for more than 40 years now as a well known arms dealer in Swabia, Germany. Everybody here knows his name but Herr F. still carries on. About 50 per cent of everything he sells are cruel fakes. At the same time he is a publicly appointed and sworn expert!!! What cruel irony.
The road goes on forever ...



Best,
Michael

Fernando K 6th January 2014 10:25 PM

Matchlock Estimate:

One thing is the word, and quite another picture. This helps to understand the work of Spitzer. thank you very much

Affectionately. Fernando K

Matchlock 6th January 2014 10:43 PM

As always, it was a pleasure to be of some assistance, Fernando! ;)

Best,
Michael

Battara 6th January 2014 11:49 PM

I restore things, based on the art, customs, and forms of the period and culture from which them come.

But these forgers are an entirely different matter. Criminal, so criminal. To be kind they should be locked up for their destruction! :mad:

Jim McDougall 6th January 2014 11:52 PM

Michael you are phenomenal!!!! No matter how esoteric you seem to come up with incredible details on these topics, and this data is fascinating. The only 'reproducer' I know about was Ernst Schmitt in Munich.
This kind of information is so essential to not only those collecting these early weapons, but those studying them so as to better understand the proper identification of tem.

Thank you so much! and I cannot avoid saying again how glad I am you are back with us :)

All the very best,
Jim

Battara 6th January 2014 11:58 PM

I agree with Jim. I had no idea there were fakes in the Wallace Collection and others. Helpful for research, thank you.

Matchlock 7th January 2014 12:46 AM

Thank you so much for your kind words, Battara and Jim (in alphabetical order) ;) :cool:


Oh, the stories I could tell from backstage ...

Yes, at least about one third of all items in the Wallace Colln. are part fakes or complete forgeries! The staff started to realize a good deal of these facts since our first contacts back in the 1980's but a lot of work still remains to be done.
That affects almost all museums and private collections and all sorts of art and culture worldwide, though. The really bad thing as far as weapons are concerned is the fact that weaponry is not accepted as a serious scholarship by most museum people and that consequently weapons simply are not subject to research using scientific methods by either museums, courts, auction houses or private collectors - compared to paintings! The whole subject is still a matter of prima facie evidence, personal taste and skillful arguing.
Nothing will change in the near future. So: buyer beware - and better learn quickly! And never stop studying! Never get too self-assured.

There is one single institute in Milano, Italy, that boasts of employing scientific methods and of being able to date every single part of a weapon as exactly as down to one single year. E.g., the stock of a pistol would be 1783 while the barrel and parts of the lock can be dated to 1729 and the fittings are of mingled dates and from various sources and periods.

I cannot believe it. How would you possibly date organic substances like wood? The C-14 method is fine for prehistoric finds of tens of thousands or millions of of years but it has an inherent historical volatility of plus minus 500 years, so it is absolutely useless for firearms that have only existed for 700 years at best. Wrough iron, the renowned Rathgen-Forschungslabor in Berlin told me, can definitely not be dated scientifically!

Comparison wood on the basis of annual rings is much more exact but only exists for South German oak (!). So if it is about a walnut, maple or pearwood stock you are all at sea.
And what if a forger used a historic oak beam, 500 years old, that was part of a medieval house and transformed it into the crude stock of a haquebut, together with an original 500 year-old haquebut barrel?! Well, he would argue, the outer surface may have been overworked by 'somebody else' recently, but the oak tree was definitely logged in 1483. And these scammers do things like this!!!

Profound knowledge and decades of close studies are the only way not to get fooled too easily.
And always keep aware of the fact that such criminals do exist and they are both extremely active and witty!



Best,
Michael

cornelistromp 7th January 2014 07:26 AM

12 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Thank you so much for your kind words, Battara and Jim (in alphabetical order) ;) :cool:


Oh, the stories I could tell from backstage ...

Yes, at least about one third of all items in the Wallace Colln. are part fakes or complete forgeries! The staff started to realize a good deal of these facts since our first contacts back in the 1980's but a lot of work still remains to be done.

Best,
Michael



Michael

I absolutely do not believe that one third???? of the Wallace Collection is 100% False or contains faulty components. This can simply not be true!

I'll see the curator Tobias Capwell in february in London at the parklane A&A I will ask him.

​​Anton Konrad made only bladed weapons, swords and daggers, for which he used old blades and other old components, he skillfully "upgraded" the hilts with old techniques.
Iam unaware of any firearm from his hand.

The fakes arms he made are extemely difficult to distinguish from real, often one sees a difference between color and oxidation of the newer hilt and older blade.
at first it was thought that Konrad made the hilt/grip, too big, but research has shown that this was not the case.
The commission to make the falsifications he recieved from arms dealer Kahlert, Kahlert sold these weapons to private collectors and museums, direct and via auctionhauses as Sothebys London with a faked provenance.
The examples and inspiration Konrad took from the museum in Dresden, where he had been given free access to the arms ,this was arranged by Kahlert.
Occasionally I'll still see work from his hand at dealers , in collections and in museums.
For example, a medieval sword and silver hilted saxon rapier in the solingen klingen museum are displayed as work from his hand.

here are some other examples from the Hans Schedelmann publication.

best,
Jasper

cornelistromp 7th January 2014 07:30 AM

12 Attachment(s)
some more

cornelistromp 7th January 2014 08:25 AM

2 Attachment(s)
two more

Matchlock 7th January 2014 12:19 PM

Hi Jasper,



I normally know what I'm talking about, and I never state facts that cannot be proven.

In as early as 1986, A.V.B. Norman, who also guided me around in the Wallace, published hic critical third volume on the Wallace A&A, European Arms & Armour Supplement, where he first tried to mention all things about their weapons that were not 'kosher' as far as the Wallace staff had learned from critical visitors like me.


Just leaf thru each item in there and look at the comments. Many fakes are uncommented because still unconcscious to them, just like A1135, the double wheellock Wender pistol dated 1554 that I posted here, with the inept lemon butt from a long pistol (ca. 80 cm) of ca. 1610, replacing the original straight grip that either terminated in a 'dagger' style or symmetrical 'fishtail' finial.
Nobody except me seems to have detected this phenomenon yet, and such is the case with many, many of their guns, swords, etc.! A great many of their seemingly 'fine' powder flasks are complete 19th c. fakes.

Next there is this vey curious, highly decorated wheellock blunderbuss (!), the long barrel with a hoizontally flattened muzzle shaped like a 'duck's bill', labeled 'late 16th c.' It is only when you realize that such muzzles had not existed before the 18th c. - and you got all the correct measurements readily in your mind - , that the scales fall from your very eyes and all of a sudden you grasp that this late-16th c. stock has been crudely mounted with the barrel of an Austrian cuirassiers blunderbuss of ca. 1760 (österreichisches Kürassiertromblon M 1759). From the outside, the bone inlay of the stock perfectly follows all the very unusual contours of the barrel. Somebody deliberately made a curiosity in the 19th century, ruining two original guns for his perverse idea!

Just one more example:
A1094, another seemingly highly decorated wheellock gun of the late 16th c.: the dog of the wheellock mechanism is an association of ca. 1680 - which is about 100 years later than the gun was actually made! The lock plate does not belong either and was cut down to fit, all the encrusting on the lock plate is 19th c. - and so on and so forth ... As I said: complete and part fakes!



Best,
m

Fernando K 7th January 2014 12:25 PM

Hello:

in the key (lock) of Gun uploaded by Matchlock I think that distinguish the top of the wheel has been added a sheet of brass, suitably decorated. Also in the spring from the clamp-pyrites strange working with lime and a punch mark sees a circle (this is also in the clip holder pyrite) and engraving (engraving) in the latter is reduced to the only flat surface. The end of the spring clip holder pyrites, ends in two strange arrows

The bone or ivory inlay on the box (stock) added just seem to give more importance, and in line with the handle.

Affectionately. Fernando K

Matchlock 7th January 2014 01:04 PM

Hi Fernando,


All the other instances cited by you are in my opinion alright and stylistically apt for this unusually early mid-16th c. wheellock pistol. You know this is my special fleld of expertise.
The inlay in the stock is not of ivory, as many people still tend to think, but either consists of mammal bone or staghorn.


Best,
Michael

Matchlock 7th January 2014 01:33 PM

3 Attachment(s)
This ca. 1560 double wheellock wender pistol and a ca. 1555 three-shot superimposed-load pistol, both in the Vienna museum collection, show how the grip of their 1554 wender 'companion' A1135 in the Wallace in all probablity originally terminated before today's inept lemon-shaped pommel of ca. 1610 was associated to it: either in a symmetrically flattened 'fishtail' butt finial or in a 'dagger-style' pommel.
The long engraved bone sleve on the grip is not original either, the style of its engraving being mere fantasy.

m

cornelistromp 7th January 2014 01:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi Jasper,



I normally know what I'm talking about, and I never state facts that cannot be proven.

In as early as 1986, A.V.B. Norman, who also guided me around in the Wallace, published hic critical third volume on the Wallace A&A, European Arms & Armour Supplement, where he first tried to mention all things about their weapons that were not 'kosher' as far as the Wallace staff had learned from critical visitors like me.


Just leaf thru each item in there and look at the comments. Many fakes are uncommented because still unconcscious to them, just like A1135, the double wheellock Wender pistol dated 1554 that I posted here, with the inept lemon butt from a long pistol (ca. 80 cm) of ca. 1610, replacing the original straight grip that either terminated in a 'dagger' style or symmetrical 'fishtail' finial.
Nobody except me seems to have detected this phenomenon yet, and such is the case with many, many of their guns, swords, etc.! A great many of their seemingly 'fine' powder flasks are complete 19th c. fakes.

Next there is this vey curious, highly decorated wheellock blunderbuss (!), the long barrel with a hoizontally flattened muzzle shaped like a 'duck's bill', labeled 'late 16th c.' It is only when you realize that such muzzles had not existed before the 18th c. - and you got all the correct measurements readily in your mind - , that the scales fall from your very eyes and all of a sudden you grasp that this late-16th c. stock has been crudely mounted with the barrel of an Austrian cuirassiers blunderbuss of ca. 1760 (österreichisches Kürassiertromblon M 1759). From the outside, the bone inlay of the stock perfectly follows all the very unusual contours of the barrel. Somebody deliberately made a curiosity in the 19th century, ruining two original guns for his perverse idea!

Just one more example:
A1094, another seemingly highly decorated wheellock gun of the late 16th c.: the dog of the wheellock mechanism is an association of ca. 1680 - which is about 100 years later than the gun was actually made! The lock plate does not belong either and was cut down to fit, all the encrusting on the lock plate is 19th c. - and so on and so forth ... As I said: complete and part fakes!



Best,
m




Hi Michael,

yes, I can give you some more examples, but you talked about 33% of the collection, this very high 33% cannot been proven!

Tobias Capwell has revised most of the collection descriptions and published this in 2012 (digital memory stick) together the previous two descriptions, so you can see the difference insight over the last 100 years.
Do you have this publication? it is a beautiful piece of work with a loads of high resolution photo material, you can see the smallest details spots and cracks from all angles, it is an amazing reference work.
I highly recommend anyone to purchase this work.

best,

Matchlock 7th January 2014 01:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
Hi Michael,

yes, I can give you some more examples, but you talked about 33% of the collection, this very high 33% cannot been proven!

Tobias Capwell has revised most of the collection descriptions and published this in 2012 (digital memory stick) together the previous two descriptions, so you can see the difference insight over the last 100 years.
Do you have this publication? it is a beautiful piece of work with a loads of high resolution photo material, you can see the smallest details spots and cracks from all angles, it is an amazing reference work.
I highly recommend anyone to purchase this work.

best,




Hi Jasper,


I do have their latest publication. I was hoping you might have noticed that some images I posted here were taken from it, and I was one of the very first people worldwide to receive them, way before the publication was out. The book is not of the least use to me, with almost no firearms in it, the USB stick helped clarify just some very few things.

And: no! Single images are of a maximum resolution of about 2 MB which is definitely not enough to discern every single detail! In order to enable a third party to judge the real quality of their pieces they ought to have completely dismantled the lock mechanisms and shown their respective parts from various angles (!). After all, all it would mean is take out some screws.

And: yes, I have just proven that I do know a whole lot more on their pieces than they seem to.

I am both too old and sick to travel to London another time but I am open to any discussion on the grounds of the images published.


If you will kindly remember, I was the first to recommend their latest publication on the forum in a thread of its own; I would definitely do that no longer. The price they charge is way too high for the average user who is just interested in a few special details. People who are especially fond of armor and edged weapons may be much luckier with it though.



Best,
m

Fernando K 7th January 2014 02:18 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hello:
Referring to blunderbuss wheel (wheelock), D. R. Baxter, in his "Blunnderbusses", page 11:
Fernando K

Matchlock 7th January 2014 02:24 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Thank you so much, Fernando, you're just great: ;)



Yes, this is the one I was talking about! :eek:

And here is the original Österreichisches Kürassier-Tromblon M 1759, the very model that the barrel was taken from.
Barrel length 65.6 cm, bore at muzzle 44 mm, at tang 26 mm.

I hope that Tobias Capwell has fun taking the measurements of the barrel of the Wallace 'wheellock blunderbuss' ... :D :cool:
Scanned from Peter Krenn, Die Handfeuerwaffen des österreichischen Soldaten, Graz, 1985


I deaccessioned Baxter's Blunderbusses a few years ago from my library just because there was not one single honest and early piece in it.



Best,
Michael

Marcus den toom 7th January 2014 03:19 PM

I noticed that the double barrel pistol (.no. A1135 in the Wallace Collection) as described by Michael, shows that the lock isn't in its original place either.
There is a space between the wood en the lock and the place where the pancover slides does not line up with the wood (running horizontally to the barrel) either.
Is this because of aging, the wood shrinking or is there something else going on?

Fernando K 7th January 2014 03:59 PM

Marcus:

In any case, the difference may be due to a photo effect: the outer surface of the key is closer to the focus, and everything seems fallen behind.

Affectionately. Fernando K

Matchlock 7th January 2014 04:10 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus den toom
I noticed that the double barrel pistol (.no. A1135 in the Wallace Collection) as described by Michael, shows that the lock isn't in its original place either.
There is a space between the wood en the lock and the place where the pancover slides does not line up with the wood (running horizontally to the barrel) either.
Is this because of aging, the wood shrinking or is there something else going on?



Hi Marcus,


Very well observed! ;)

I'm afraid I cannot solve that problem without handling and dismantling the piece.
Again, the single picture on the USB stick (screenshot attached) showing the lock recess, with the locks turned inside out, is not good enough and in too low resolution to discern that question.
Btw, that item was totally neglected in the book ...

I guess we also should understand the crucial position of the Wallace curators though, who must feel torn between two feelings and desires ...


Best,
Michael

Marcus den toom 7th January 2014 05:45 PM

Thank you Michael,
I uncovered my own Walllace (and gromit) USB stick and looked the pistol up.
The buttstock seems weird indeed, there where the bone begins. The wood surrounding the locks is bigger (wider) and all the sudden, when the bone "ring" starts, the wood has a very weird/steep rounding to it?



the green lines show how the stock, in my opnion, should have progressed (with of course some degree of curvatude). The red circle shows the area i am concerned about. The bone plaque of the trigger is also not smoothly lining up with the "ring" of bone.
And to be honest, i find the whole bone "ring" somewhat large? It doesn't look proportioned to all the other subtle ornaments and engravings. But i lake the knowledge to make a well founded argument (currently reading baxters superimposed loads firearms book though, so some knowledge should be sinking in) :D


Matchlock 7th January 2014 06:04 PM

Hi Marcus,

That's exactly the point that I meant when I said in post #15 that the long engraved bone sleeve of the grip is not original either; also the style of engraving on the grip differs drastically from the early style on the rest of the - relatively few, which is absolutely correct! - bone inlays.
The style of engraving on the rest of the pistol is consistent withs its early date of mid-16th c. manufacture, 1554, but the bone sleeve on the grip and the inlay to its right all of a sudden change to the Nuremberg foliage style of ca. 1600!!! The alarm is ringing!

Best,
m

Matchlock 8th January 2014 04:09 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Here is a long Nuremberg-style Alsatian double wheellock wender pistol of about 1610; the lemon-shaped butt of such a type of pistol was used to crudely transform the Wallace pistol dated 1554 (A1135).

You can also identify the wrong-style engraved bone inlays on that pistol; attached please find two close-ups of the correct ca. 1610 Nurembeg foliage engravings which of course are inapt for 1554: the short (!) round sleeve in front of the pommel and the side plaques in front of the double muzzle.

The images are from James D. Julia's auction held 14-16 October 2013, lot 2486.


m

VANDOO 9th January 2014 04:58 AM

THIS IS CERTIANLY A FIELD I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT SO CAN NOT COMMENT ON WHAT GOES WHERE OR THE AGE, DESIGNS ,ECT. SO PERHAPS A BIT OF CONJECTURE. :)
WHAT MAY HAVE HAPPENED IN MANY CASES IS THERE WERE MANY BROKEN,PLAIN OR INCOMPLETE WEAPONS AVAILABLE. THESE PEOPLE MAY HAVE BOUGHT THEM UP AND DID THEIR SO CALLED RESTORATION TO MAKE THEM COMPLETE. PERHAPS THEIR KNOWLEGE WAS LIMITED SO THEY LOOKED AT COMPLETE EXAMPLES THAT WERE SIMULAR AND TRIED TO MAKE THEIR RESTORATIONS LOOK LIKE THEM. THEY NO DOUBT SELECTED THE MOST EXPENSIVE AND HIGH GRADE ITEMS FOR THEIR PATTERNS. THEIR OBJECT WAS TO MAKE THEIR CREATIONS EASY TO SELL AND AS PROFITABLE AS POSSIBLE. INCOMPLETE OR BROKEN ITEMS DID NOT SELL FOR MUCH COMPLETE ONES DID.
THEY NO DOUBT BROUGHT TO THE MARKET MANY ITEMS THAT APPEARED TO BE COMPLETE AND RARE EXAMPLES FROM THE HIGH CLASSES OR ROYALTY. THE COMPLETE ONES WERE RARE OR STILL IN THE HANDS OF THE RICH SO MUSEUMS BOUGHT THESE FANCY LOOKING ITEMS FOR DISPLAY WHEN THEY BECAME AVAILABLE.
THESE COMPOSITE ITEMS HAVE ALL BEEN MESSED WITH IF PARTS FROM OTHER WEAPONS HAVE BEEN USED OR NEW ONES MADE TO REPLACE AND RESTORE. THIS GOES FOR DECORATIVE ENGRAVINGS OR BONE, SHELL OR WOOD INLAYS THAT ARE ADDED. THEIR HISTORY AND VARIETY MAKES AN INTERESTING STUDY IN ITSELF. SO WHEN DOES RESTORATION BECOME FRAUD, FAKE OR SCAM? ONE WOULD HAVE TO KNOW THE INTENT OF THE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED. THEY EITHER LACKED THE KNOWLEGE TO GET IT RIGHT OR CAME TO THE WRONG CONCLUSION THAT IT WAS CLOSE ENOUGH.
NO DOUBT THESE GUNS APPEAR TO THOSE WITH THE KNOWLEGE LIKE A 1950'S CORVETTE WITH A CADALLAC FRONT BUMPER AND BULLET TAIL LIGHTS WOULD TO ME. JUST MY TWO CENTS WORTH :D

Matchlock 9th May 2014 08:23 PM

For a very topical instance, please see my thread

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ed=1#post170147

m

Matchlock 29th August 2014 03:32 PM

See this absolutely extreme case - no chance whatsoever!!!
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ght=scams+fakes



This is very easy to tell:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=faked+wall


Best,
Michael


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