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Old 2nd January 2014, 10:33 PM   #19
Matchlock's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

Well, actually they are now about 150 km north of where they used to be for more than four hundreds of years; they are extremely early, mid-16th c. (!), and were shortened by about 1 m during the Thirty Years War when they were already 70 or 80 years old.
They remained unsold while the auction ran; immediately afterwards I spoke to Christie's and they told me that probably the stabiliziation for shipment and the transport itself of the almost 5 m long pikes would be the real expense factor. At first I had been planning on buying just one of them but how could I display one single pike in my collection when originally they came in mere masses and their squares dominated the battlegrounds for at least 300 years? Then Christie's offered me two for the price of one so the thought immediately jumped to my mind that two of them would in a way stabilize each other and also make a much better display.

To cut a long story short: I ordered them to be stabilized by one long beam 6 on 6 cm, bound between them, and just wrap them thickly with bubbles. It worked out perfectly. The air freight from London to Nuremberg airport, the customs import tax (on both the pikes and the air freight) and the special taxi transport to Regensburg, where I lived then, summed up to double the price that they charged me in London though. There was a third at Christie's, the tip of the pike of different shape; today I feel like I should have bought that one as well ...

Anyway, just one aspect of adventures in a collector's life.
They have been with me for 23 years now and I have only seen a handful of those with their irons still retaining their original bluing - the ones in Salzburg, and a few of those exhibited at the Basel Historic Museum, Switzerland (images attached, suspended hovering high above the famous Basel bronze cannon barrel Drach/Dragon), dated 1514, length 4.93 m.

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