Lead Moderator European Armoury
Join Date: Dec 2004
Old 18th December 2007, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
A few weeks ago Jim asked me to add my two cent's worth to this thread, so here goes. I've read the posts to this point, and can offer some thoughts on several of the marks discussed. Please bear in mind that the comments are my opinions only, but where possible I'll provide some sort of reference.
First, I think that some of the anchor marks being discussed aren't anchors at all, but are crosses with some decorative touches to the base and with added crossbars. Many of these marks appear on Spanish blades, which was (is?) a predominantly Catholic country, so it isn't surprising to see crosses at the end of fullers. The differences in the designs may be due to smiths having a distinctive cross as an identifying mark (and a blade may or may not have the smith's name in the fuller). Other differences may be because there have been a lot of variations on the Christian cross over the years, and the crosses at the end of fullers can reflect local/smith preferences.
Solingen apparently used actual anchors as a mark (or some of it's smiths did), and these don't look much like the marks referred to in the paragraph above. In Neumann's "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution" there's a photo of a brass-hilted English cav. sword with S-shaped members to the basket, and the blade bears an anchor mark. I have in my collection an English sword of the late 1700s with a German blade, and the blade is etched in the fuller "Ihn Solingen" and at the end of the fuller is a nicely etched nautical anchor (but not a fouled anchor like one sees on naval swords).
On IHN SOLINGEN, I think the IHN really does mean "in". Remember that spelling back then was very phonetic, and there wasn't much in the way of standardization. Punch marks between letters may just be embellishment.
On MINI/MENE. One often sees this as INIMINI (what I want to know is, where is minymoe? --bad joke), and there was a suggestion on an old SFI thread that this may be an abbreviated form of the Latin IN TE DOMINI. Unfortunately, the thread is going to be about impossible to find, because it was one of those "What is this sword" threads. The sword happened to be English ca. 1700 with INIMINI in the blade's fullers.
And then there's Eastern blades with their own versions of European maker's marks. These can be tough to tell apart! For example, see eBay 190183023239, which ended a day or two ago. Euro or Eastern?
Oh well,that's enough for now! --ElJay