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Old 12th February 2008, 11:46 AM   #9
Marc's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Madrid / Barcelona
Posts: 258

Come on, it IS nice, and you very well know it o wouldn't have bought it to start with... *grin*

It's Spanish Colonial and very likely for mounted forces, hence cavalry/dragoons. The "bilbo" thing it's a bit more complex... English-speaking collectors (and as far as I know others influenced by the English-speaking arms collecting world) tend to loosely call "bilbos" to swords with a double-shell guard. The term is somehow historical, and in period referred to late 16th and 17h c. rapiers with this kind of hilt.

So, these would be "bilbos":

or even these, although in the same context these tend to be called "Pappenheimer", even us in Spain use it for rapier hilts of Central-European origin (17th c.) with pierced double shell:

The current theories place the origin of the name to the city of Bilbao, in the modern Basque Country, in northern Spain, the capital of the actual province of Bizkaia which was a millenary iron-production center and also origin of sword and dagger hilts of fame at that time. It was a part of Spain with traditional trade contacts with Britain, so it's a very likely origin.

But fact is that the term is actually used to cover all double-shell hilt swords, and it's specially used to describe what in fact it's the Spanish cavalry Pattern sword M1728, like these:

This style was in use, with variations, since mid 17th c, and after being made into a cavalry pattern in 1728 was going to be in service until the beginning of the 19th c. As such, calling this a "bilbo", it's stretching the term a bit too much. In Spain it's called a Cavalry sword M1728, a "double shell" guard sword or a "Horse-mouth" guard sword, because of the similarity of a construction detail of the hilt with a piece of a horse bite.

I'm sure you can easily notice the similarities in general "feel" and build with the sword being discussed here

As you can see, the "colonial" versions were slightly different, with an alternate shell and the brass highligths. The brass ricasso it's there because these swords mounted all kinds of imported blades, some of which had no ricasso to speak of, so they put that hollow brass "capsule" on the tang in the right place to create an operative "fake ricasso".

The blade in Fernando's sword seems to be an import, probably German, as said before. Again, the marks are not familiar, I'm sorry.


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