Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
The Gothic minuscule P
Hi Jim and Manuel,
First of all: thank you, Manuel, for sharing these good images. As I am in no way an expert in 18th/19th century items I am unable to decide on whether this P mark is related to that on the early 16th century Katzbalger or not. All I can say is that I do not believe in a relationship between the two.
If you have close look at the respective shapes of the letter P you will see the decisive difference between an early 16th century P (actually it is a minuscule p) and the same letter, only 200 years old.
I have managed to find a few examples of 15th to 16th century p minuscules although some of them are of rather poor quality. Still I hope that you can see my point. They are taken from 15th century manuscripts; the one showing two p minuscules one above the other is the mark of the Munich gunsmith Peter Peck which is found to be struck on the barrel of a ca. 1565 wheel-lock harquebus or long pistol.
Now that brings me to the important point that you made, Jim. Altough this is the case with Peter Peck's mark and the famous PGM mark attached ("Pegnitzer goss mich", Pegnitzer founded me) on early 16th century copper alloy cast haquebut and cannon barrels, the presence of a certain letter on a late medieval or early Renaissance weapon or on any item of arts and crafts does not necessarily mean that it is the maker's mark and the inital of his name. Often enough, e.g., we find the Gothic minuscules m on 500 year old caskets ond parts of armor where it usually stands for Mary, Mother of Jesus, or ihs meaning Jesus hominum salvator, Jesus Savior of Mankind. Another good example is, I think, the Gothic minuscule n on pieces of armor and firearm barrels where it is a town mark denoting that those items were made at Nuremberg. This kept in mind, the letter p on the Katzbalger blade might well stand for the Saints Peter or Paul - or it might be the maker's initial, or a town mark. Who knows? This is open to interpretation and makes such discussions worth while.
With all my best wishes,