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Old 27th October 2009, 08:20 PM   #54
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi Spiridonov,

Judging by the shape of the buttstock, the decoration of the rear end of the barrel, the shape of the lockplate and the match holder, this is a late haquebut of ca. 1580. I cannnot properly read the date on the barrel but it should be from that period. 1420 is as impossible as 1530.

It would be great if you could get there and try to take a better picture of the date, or of the description which really should mention the date.


Hi Alexander,

Thank you so much for remembering our old discussion of the doubtful date Ď1420í on a matchlock harquebus and my request of better images.

I stated that the overall style of the gun suggested a time of origin in the 1580ís but could possibly be as late as the 1620ís. The date on the barrel which read Ď1420í was obviously a total mismatch.

Thanks to your actual images the riddle is now ready to solve and it turns out to be a real bombshell.

The makerís mark ĎHW above a hunting horní that you photographed on both the barrel and lock plate show that both main iron parts were made at the same workshop. Some variants of this mark are known to be found, together with the proof mark of the town of Suhl, Thuringia, on both barrels and lock plates of matchlock and wheel-lock long guns between the 1580s and the 1630ís which are preserved in various collections, among them the Graz armory. I attach a scan from the StÝckel encyclopedia of marks of makers of firearms and cranequins.

Your consent granted, I have reworked some of your imaged a bit to make them clearer.

I am quite sure that a closer inspection would discover an additional Suhl mark (SVL either together with or without a hen symbol) somewhere in the rear sections of either the barrel or the lock plate on this gun, too.

Telling from the chiseled decoration on the raised frieze at the rear end of the barrel, a dating into the 1580ís to 1590ís would be typical. Attached please see details of an almost identical frieze on the barrel of a combined wheel-lock and matchlock musket dated 1583. This is backed up by the significant shape of the pan, the grip of the pan cover and the form of the lock plate with its crescent shaped upper end at the front.

From what I have been trying to deduct we should by now expect the date on the barrel to read somewhat between the 1580ís and the 1600ís. And a date indeed it is as the decorative points between the cyphers indicate. For a number of reasons the style of the cyphers could not be correct, no way. As I cannot repost numerous dates from the 1500ís to the 1600ís here those who wish to do further research are requested to check my earlier threads. To cut a long story short: all the cyphers have been overstruck at some later date to suggest the sensationally early date of origin of 1420. This can only have been done in a fraudulent intention, perhaps while the item was in private hands some time during its long history. Not the form of one single numeral is correct, neither for 1420 nor for any period before the 19th or 20th century - which gives us a close hint to when that spurious date was struck over a correct older date which probably read 1620.

What else can be said? The barrel has been considerably shortened by about two thirds of its original length, so the impression that the piece conveys today is far from being congruent with what it looked like 400 years ago.

And: All items, whether preserved in museums or not, should be examined very closely in order to discover alterations or even (part) fakes.

Fascinating outcome, isnít it?

Thank you so much again, Alexander, we keep looking forward to more exciting discussions!

Best wishes,
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