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Old 2nd January 2014, 03:22 PM   #11
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

A great number of these, maybe as many as 100 samples (!), the specimen in my collection and this here in discussion included, were sold illegally from the reserve collection of the fortress Hohensalzburg, Austria, in 1988, together with a tremendous number of other early weapons and accouterments. The then director was of course involved and shot himself in his bureau a few years later when the scandal came up.
I bought my sample from a German dealer in April 1988.

All the Salzburg pieces had drilled buttstocks, where they were brutally fixed to the exhibition walls by screws in the 1880's. I have seen old b/w photographs in the hallway of the administration there - museums! You can still see the hole in the buttstock of the specimen dicussed here.

Telling by the shape of its beechwood buttstock, with all varnish and patina washed off with lye, which hardly shows any 'bellied' form any longer, it should be dated to the late 17th c., ca. 1680-90, thus being one of the latest of its type ever made. The overall length was standardized to 151 cm, the bore 19 mm, the weight ca. 6.5 kg. Almost all these guns are of German (Suhl) production, and so is this one; I have only seen two or three of that type with barrel marks of Zella (near Suhl, Thuringia).

The matchlock serpentine makes two facts evident: that the spring is loose or broken (its socket, which I can identify on the print, was just put into the lock plate, mostly without riveting), and that the match holder does not belong to this gun originally because it is bent too little in order to reach the ignition pan with its jaws.

The image I scanned from the Fischer, Lucerne, catalog of June 29, 1990, lot 8605; it was at that time when these combination-lock muskets were offered by literally all the dealers and nearly in every auction sale as they had come in such large numbers. They are almost as rare to find nowadays as they were before the Salzburg story took place.
BTW, just another of those stories that make collecting weapons so spicy ...

Another Salzburg combined wheellock and matchlock musket, with the hole in its butt badly closed, I showed in post #4 above.

My two long Austrian pikes that I mounted crossed-over beneath the ceiling of my weapons room, 4.60 m and 4.70 m long repectively and retaining their original blued iron spikes and long straps, as well as their original ash hafts, also were deaccessioned from the fortress Hohensalzburg, and there were hundreds of them!!! I bought mine at Christie's London-South Kensington auction, when I was there on September 19, 1990.

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