Lead Moderator European Armoury
Join Date: Dec 2004
Old 20th December 2007, 10:20 PM
EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Eljay , its so good to have you join in on this! Your knowledge and experience in these early European blades is well established and I really do appreciate your insight into some of these puzzling topics.
The so called anchor marks it seems, for some time were regarded by many as simply flourishes in the decorative motif on these early blades. As we have discussed, there were often cryptic anagrams, and coded wording and phrases applied on many blades carrying either patriotic or talismanic meanings, so equally imbued motif such as these multibar cross devices seem well placed.
I think that as you note, the religious symbolism may have been key in the Spanish applications, but possibly many of these might have been closely tied to the merchant marks prevalent from late 16th c. onward. Possibly these may have been the source for the term anchor.
As you note, there were German makers who used nautical devices such as the anchor, having nothing to do with maritime themes. I recall it seems, a sextant like device also.
Your point on the use of IHN is well placed as well, and it does seem that the phonetics might be used in the constant transliterations and variations in spellings. I have seen German made blades with the same Spanish name on opposite faces of the blade, each spelled differently. Possibly the maker tried to make the inscription appear more Latin? or religious? Possibly the same concept in abbreviated version of the Latin phrase as you note, INI MINI which makes sense, but still think maybe the MENE spelling might have other possibilities.
A question on East India Company marks, it seems the typically quadranted heart with the company initials VEIC does appear on bayonet blades of the 18th c. as well as firearms, but I havent ever seen it on a sword blade, have you? On the Dutch EIC the VOC does appear on hanger blades of the 18th century (I've only ever seen them on kastanes) but it seems they invariably have the year 1768 or close to that. Have you encountered swords with the VOC on the blade?
On the crosses/anchors it would be great if we could find some that distinctly appear with makers names so maybe we could associate?
Thank you again Eljay. I know you're busy and having you here on what is developing into a resource that will hopefully help us all in better understanding and recognizing these marks, is very much appreciated.
All the very best,