Join Date: Mar 2014
Many thanks for the comments. As you say, it is always difficult just from images, you really need to handle the object and feel the weight: if you're interested in seeing our few European polearms, just let me know the next time you're coming to the North of England and I'll be glad to arrange a visit.
I think it might be worth saying that I think the iron straps on the head have been damaged and broken off, hence they are much shorter than you would expect.
The object's history can only be traced to a collector who died in the early 1980s and it hasn't been touched since then. He did have a habit of "improving" items, but usually you can tell his broom-handle-spear-shafts very easily. This shaft is heavy wood, and it has a few old graffiti scratched in which suggest to me a late 19th or early 20th date at the latest. But I wouldn't like to stake my reputation on claiming an older date for it.
One question is: does the iron head match with the iron butt. If the head is typically 16th century Italian, and the butt something else, then an old head has been jammed onto a shaft+butt that happened to be available (possibly about 100 years ago?). If the butt is also typically 16th century Italian, then it might be worth looking at the possibility that the head+shaft have been damaged, the shaft cut down and the head jammed back on.