View Single Post
Old 6th January 2014, 08:49 PM   #2
Matchlock's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

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 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 !) - '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 ...

Attached Images
Matchlock is offline   Reply With Quote