Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Quite a Perfect Fake of a Straubing Landsknechts' Matchlock Arquebus, ca. 1540
This item was sold by auction with Fischer, Lucerne, Switzerland, 8 Sepember 2011, lot 360,
inadequately termed a 'matchlock musket', though the item was intended to pretend to be the formal predeccesor of both muskets and pistols, which is an arquebus.
This fake was done with utmost perfection, almost beyond imagination.
The facts, though, are:
1. Both my dear and great friend Armin König and I knew the person Armin had sold his replica to, R.G.; he lived in Linz, Austria, and he died only this spring.
On my request, Armin rebuild not my sample but the best preserved that is still in the (stored) collection of the Gäubodenmuseum Straubing, Lower Bavaria.
It is illustrated here in contrast with Armin's gun, in 'aged' condition.
I'm feeling very sad for that nice guy, R.G., and his wife because he we had been friends since 1989. He was only 68 years old when he was gone.
This why I waited up this day - apart from the mere fact that I had to spend more than a year and-a-half in hospitals, from September 2012 through April 2014.
2. All measurements are identical with Armin's replica models.
3. That gun is simply in an 'OVERAGED' state of condition, though extremely well done - it must have been buried in a heap of dunk in Hungary for two years or so ...
The experts and the well-reonwned traditonal Swiss auction house Fischer are not to blame for not identifying it as what it actually is.
All the historic background information provided by their catalog had come from that person, who, of course, got it all from me.
I had to go down there all those 600 kilometers (one way, and we drove back the very same day!) just to handle, dismantle and photodocument that object for about an hour.
On that research done with utmost meticulous precision, and an investment of about 500 euros, plus with all my knowledge backing me up -
Had I not known that that R.G. had ordered, among others, a Straubing replica from Armin years ago, and had I not known what he was always striving for - to produce, and sell, optimum 'quality' fakes - , I would not have been able to discern whether that object was made in ca. 1540 or in 2009!
That really shook me to the bone!
I was just lucky enough to have all that accumulated background knowledege, plus my 40-year-old studies, personal contacts, and a whole lot more.
Without all that, I would never have had the slightest chance to tell whether that sample was authentic and some 470 years old - or just 3 years, like it actually was.
Luckily, both Armin König and I can prove every single detail that I have listed up here.
As always, this is nothing than the bare facts - as sad as it is true.
As ever, though, and to me as a skilled collector, the sober outcome of it all was:
Provided that I not had my fine and original Straubing arquebus for more than 30 years by then, and had consequently been in search for it still - what do you think I told my dear friend R.M.?
He drove and accompanied me on that trip, and has been at my side for about a quaret of a century.
So here is what I told him right away, on leaving the viewing rooms:
"Even if I had been able to tell for sure, I would definitely NOT have bought that gun - just because it was in a state of condition way too bad for my collection."
ORIGINAL CONDITION OF ALL SURFACES is what counts most.
Next to it are:
Quality of WORKMANSHIP
AND ONLY THEN,
the crucial question is:
Can it PERFECTLY, and FINALLY, FILL A CERTAIN GAP in my collection?
Enjoy comparing, and studying; I will be adding more and better photos soon.
Best for the moment being,
D-95691 Hohenberg a.d. Eger
Northern Bavaria, Germany
Lower Bavaria, Germany