Lead Moderator European Armoury
Join Date: Dec 2004
Old 24th December 2007, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: B.C. Canada
Sorry guys about my very slow response, this time of year is nuts!
I have been reading with great interest the comments on the orbs, crosses and anchors, and am thrilled to see Eljay here! The significance of these symbols has been mentioned. The possibility that they may be makers marks, simple decorations and religious/magical symbols, has been noted. I think to some extent all of these observations are true. I would like to add one more, and that is a mark of quality. Victor Diehl writes in Chapter 1 of Collecting the Edged Weapons of Imperial Germany Volume I on Pg 6
Frequently, sword blades are found that are marked with the master smith's name and one or more "running wolves" or "Reichs apples." Both of these symbols have long been regarded as identifying blades of the highest quality.
The "running wolf" blade mark has a lengthy history in Germany. The trademarks were first used in Passau in the late 13th Century. By the 15th Century, this mark was regarded as a symbol of highest quality throughout Germany. Since blades marked with the running wolves brought higher prices than other trademarks, forgeries began to appear. The first large-scale copies began in Koln around 1460. In order to stop this infringement, the city of Passau petitioned the city of Koln to halt the use of the wolf mark by smiths working within its jurisdiction. In order to comply, the the city banned the use of the wolf mark in 1464. However, smiths outside Koln, including many in Solingen, were not affected by the law. Therefore, the use of the spurious "running wolf" mark continued and was so widespread by 1550 that few people could identify genuine Passau blades. In spite of this, the wolf mark has grown to become a general mark of quality.
I suspect this is basic commerce 101 and is a universal trend as we can see with the other marks noted above ie; Andrea Ferrera, eyelash, moons, Assadollah, Wilkinson "Proved" marks etc...
These quotes also reiterates alot of what Jim has been telling us and confirms fernando's observations about the anchor trends not being exclusive to a specific region. (it also explains why I get e-mail spam from china for cheap Rolexs, Viagra, etc...)
All the Best