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Old 3rd July 2014, 02:23 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default 1666: The MONTECUCCOLI Flintlock/Matchlock System - a MYTH Verified!


The Michael Trömner Collection is the only collection known to hold a true sample of the legendary M 1666 MONTECUCCOLI type, coming straight from the family armory (German: Rüstkammer) of The Counts Schenk von Stauffenberg, Schloss Greifenstein, Markt Heiligenstadt, Upper Franconia, Bavaria, Germany, and was consigned with Sotheby's by the present Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg.
The piece is preserved in optimum original condition overall
.

I won it phone bidding at SOTHEBY's London sale of 10 July 2002, lot 242.



Now which criteria exactly define a true Montecuccoli Musket?

1.
The combined flintlock and matchlock igniting mechanims unified on the same lock plate

2.
A pivoted safety catch mounted behind the cock, and engaging with a notch at the foot of the cock when the latter is pulled back beyond the half-cock safety notch of the tumbler; this feature allows for the match holder to be moved backwards, with the matchcord touching the bottom of the pan through a round hole in the pan cover of the steel after opening an additional pivoted swiveling pan cover, like the one covering the pan of any common matchlock gun

3.

A single trigger simultaneously acting on both the flintlock cock and the match holder (serpentine) the long folding bayonet mounted at the underside of the forestock

4.
Consequently, the ramrod is mounted on the left side of the forestock

5.
The beechwood butt stock is ovally pierced to provide a safe grip to the fingers of the guardsman when moving forward, with the bayonet folded out for attack

6.
The number of the guardsman of the body guard (German: Leibgarde) of Raimund Fürst Montecuccoli,
struck on the iron butt mount (German: Kolbenblech); the piece in The Michael Trömner Collection is stamped 19 denoting that it was originally employed by guardsman no. 19.



Anton Dolleczek, in: Monographie der k.u.k. österr.-ung. Blanken und Hand-Feuerwaffen, Wien, 1896, pl. VII illustrates a 'Muskette (sic!) 1666 (nach Montecuccoli.)', together with its 'Charnier-Bajonett. 1640.' On p. 60, however, due to the 19th century lack of knowledge, Dolleczekasserts some incorrect facts, like the invention of the flintlock igniting mechanism in France in '1640'; actually it had been invented no later than in the early 17th c., at the latest by the second decade.


Alas, a large group of 1680's Suhl manufactured muskets is incorrectly identified
by the present Graz museum staff, and consequently defined as belonging to the almost mythic MONTECUCCOLI system.
I have sufficient proof to state that the Graz curators succeeding in office to
Dr. Peter Krenn, all have neglected the obvious fact that all the combined flintlock and matchlock Suhl muskets in both the arsenal collections of the Graz Landeszeughaus (Arsenal) and the Vienna Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (Army museum) are actually far from deserving to be termed as 'MONTECUCCOLI' muskets
...

About eight years ago, the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna even acquired six combined Flintlock and matchlock military muskets of the plain and common type that was
manufactured in large numbers in Suhl/Thuringia, in the 1680's. They had been offered to various people before, including dealers like Franz Christof and collectors like me, by an elderly couple whose name I remember well; the husband had found them beneath an old stairway in a Schloss in Thuringia, where they had been hidden since the end of Wolrd War II.
Actually, they were preserved in a virtually 'untouched' but very bad state of condition: the barrels and locks were partly covered with aggressive reddish and floccose rust, and the beechwood full stocks were mildewed in places.
I was among those getting offered them first, and I took many good photographs, which of course I will post.

Anyway, I told the owners that the guns were definititely NOT Montecuccoli muskets but belonged to a common and much plainer type produced in large numbers, and represented in many museums, e.g. the Deutsches Historisches Museum (DHM)/Altes Zeughaus Berlin, Schloss Erbach/Odenwald, as well as in the historic Steirisches Landeszeughaus (Styrian arsenal) Graz and the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum(HGM) Vienna.

Together with a friend of mine, I offered them 20,000 euro for that group of six but our offer was turned down, and on the couple drove, with the muskets rolled up in blankets and stored in the trunk of their car.
Franz Christof, who claimed to have good contacts to them, was quite confident that he would get at least two muskets out of the six but got disappointed as well.
I really got startled, though when I was a few weeks later I learned that the HGM Vienna had purchased them for true Montecuccoli muskets, and paid an immense price out of reality ...
By then, the HGM already possessed a sample of exactly that general arsenal type of late combined flintlock and matchlock muskets.
Moreover, nobody could anticipate the actual condition of the iron parts underneath that aggressive reddish and floccose rust; there may have been severe rust pits on the barrels ... maybe the HGM curators proceeded from the sad fact that all their guns on exhibition had been crudely cleaned with acid, and using other abhorring methods of 'restoration'. The result can be seen in their showrooms: even the tiniest trace of original lackered varnish had been stripped from the stocks, and all of that
original and characteristic roughness of 16th to 19th century beechwood stocks had been radically polished off - making those old 'military' pieces appear like the smooth stocks of Rococo and Empire sporting guns.
So these museum people, with their perverted philosophy of 'restoration', may have envisioned the sight these muskets would offer after the 'cleaning' process anyway - abhorring though it really is.

In the author's opinion, such rebarbative treatment and willfully done alterations of original surfaces delete once and forever all the important documentary traces of both historic craftsmanship and manufacturing methods.
What is even more, those plain and usually undecorated 'military' guns get robbed of their only inherent kind of magic attraction: besides their historic, cultural and technical development it is mainly their original surfaces which - enriched and protected by patina, thus proving their great age even to the untrained eye - immediately, and with the psychologic impact of a sudden blow transport
right into the 21st century the horrors of war in general, and especially of wars and individual fates long gone since ...



Best,
Michael/Michl
Michael Trömner

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Old 3rd July 2014, 06:56 PM   #2
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I have been awaiting this thread for some time, what a monumental musket this is. I remember when i held it and the spear like bayonet folded out....

"The buttstock was made like this so you could hold onto the musket when using this bayonet" you told me, after i asked why they would make it like this. And i tested it (by stabing the innocent air in front of me), very practical.

Would such a gun been used in the wars in the Netherlands. Raimondo Montecuccoli has waged war with the French in my lovely country so i am very interested

"Richiesto taluno delle cose necessarie alla guerra, egli rispondesse tre esser quelle: denaro, denaro, denaro“ ( "For war you need three things: 1. Money. 2. Money. 3. Money.")
To get said money you apparently only have to sell something "ordinary" to a museum.... Maybe they should make reading these threads mandatory for museum curators, it couldn't do them any harm (hasn't done me any anyway).
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Old 3rd July 2014, 06:59 PM   #3
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The two attachments at the bottom of this post depict Schloss Greifenstein, Markt Heiligenstadt, Upper Franconia, Bavaria, Germany, and a view of the family armory (German: Rüstkammer) of The Counts Schenk von Stauffenberg.
For centuries, this armory held the fine combined flintlock and matchlock musket of MONTECUCCOLI type, obviously after it was deaccessioned on the death of Raimondo Montecuccoli, in October 1680.



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Old 3rd July 2014, 07:07 PM   #4
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For comprehensive information on Raimondo, Count of Montecúccoli or Montecucculi (German: Raimund Graf Montecúccoli), 21 February 1609 at Schloss Montecuccolo in Pavullo ne Frignano near Modena, Italy – 16 October 1680 in Linz/Austria, see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raimondo_Montecuccoli



Attachments:

- Schloss Montecuccolo

-
Portrait by Elias Grießler, at the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (HGM) Vienna

- Another contemporary portrait
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Old 3rd July 2014, 07:08 PM   #5
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Old 3rd July 2014, 07:10 PM   #6
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Old 3rd July 2014, 07:12 PM   #7
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Old 5th July 2014, 04:43 PM   #8
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Finally this is the start of adding the attachments I promised to post.
It took me a lot of time to do the scans though, and my computer is still boasting on its right to be out order voluntarily.
So please hang on because there is a tremendous lot of facts to follow in time.


The first scans are drawings scanned from
Anton Dolleczek: Monographie der k.u.k. österr.-ung. Blanken und Hand-Feuerwaffen, Wien, 1896, pl. VII.

Still, 'the Dolleczek' maintains its reputation as sort of 'The Holy Bible' among museum curators and collectors alike.

Actually, those drawings done at a period of time when photographs had been common for more than half a century, are executed quite inexactly - to say the least. The author is covinced that Dolleczek never even saw, let alone handled one single genuine MONTECUCCOLI musket just like many other pieces he both illustrated and described.
On the other hand: how could Anton Dolleczek possibly have managed to achieve that aim ... with no actual sample of the true MONTECUCCOLI musket obviously existing?
All he could rely on - and take for granted - were the instances of some 200 combined flintlock and matchlock 'military' muskets preserved at the Graz arsenal/Landeszeughaus, the barrels all struck with SUHL proof marks - and traditionally classified as MONTECUCCOLI muskets, up to today ...

Dolleczek's research methods were confined to the facilities offered in the late 19th century.

All facts considered though:

At the beginning of the 21st century, after experiencing for decades the current scientific knowledge of leading experts in historic weaponry as shockingly low and sad as it is and being obviously maintained, especially by the people in charge of what museum ever, e.g. at both the HGM (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum) Vienna and the Styrian arsenal (Steirisches Landeszeughaus) Graz - all that [font=Georgia][size=3][color=Purple][color=Blue][color=Black][color=Blue][font=Georgia][size=3][font=Georgia][size=3][font=Georgia][size=3][color=Blue][color=Purple][color=Blue][color=Black][color=Blue][font=Georgia][size=3][color=black][color=Blue]has proved to be quite a bit frustrating to the author.

He is looking back on almost 40 years of his life spent solely dedicated to the research of earliest European arsenal firearms and all kinds of related accouterments - both as close and comprehensive as he could, and taking any beating from so-called 'people being in charge' of what museums and/or institutions ever.
Anyways, for close comparison attached please find images of the actual MONTECUCCOLI gun held by [color=Red]The Michael Trömner Collection
.




Enjoy,
and best,
Michael/Michl
Michael Trömner
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Last edited by fernando : 11th December 2015 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 5th July 2014, 06:39 PM   #9
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On it goes - Old School knowlegde against the bare facts ...

I think the differences between Dolleczek's drawings and the details of the actually existing MONTECUCCOLI musket in The Michael Trömner Collection are as striking as can be.

As stated above Dolleczek's drawings are generally done quite inexactly, and in some cases they seem to be nothing but wishful thinking and mere fantasy.
The author is convinced of the fact that Anton Dolleczek never even saw let alone handled any gun that would possibly come next to any existing, and recorded, Suhl manufactured combined flintlock and matchlock musket - be it of the Austrian type represented in both the Graz armory and the Vienna HGM or any other known - and most probably Prussia employed - 'military' arsenal type musket of that sort.
And even those are far from coming close to the MONTECUCCOLI piece.

Dolleczek's gun is missing all the special and early 1660's features that define a MONTECUCCOLI musket (cf. the author's definition above).
Moreover, he illustrated a gun showing stylistic features that actually turned up in Austria and Germany only by the late 1680's, and on private arms ordered in the latest French fashion of the 1670's by the Austrian and German nobility.
They have never been found on any Austrian or German 'military' type arsenal piece before the turn of the century, which is about 1700-30, and of course only relates to guns that have not undergone any later modifications carried out in arsenals.
One of these features is represented by the beveled and multi-staged baluster form of the ramrod pipes illustrated on Dolleczek's gun.
Therefore the existing sample he knew, provided that he actually did, could not be dateed any earlier than ca. 1730-50!

Actually, Dolleczek mentions such an unbelievable late Austrian combined flintlock and matchlock 'military' arsenal type of infantry musket - and the author found, and photo documented a really existing specimen in a Munich private collection in the late 1980's!
It was already by then that I realized that that had to be a very late piece that could not have been made before ca. 1740-50.

Alas, that collector, Fritz A. Kerbl, passed away a few years ago and his collection was literally torn asunder, with most pieces sold by the North Bavarian military oriented auction house Kube in 2013. All the Kerbl pieces were described extremely incompetently and consequently fetched ridiculously low prices.
Had he not been hospitalized at that time
the author would have selected threeor four very fine and important pieces mostly preserved in literally 'untouched' original and patinated condition, and integrated them with The Michael Trömner Collection.
The haquebut with the profusely painted stock portrayed in the author's thread

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...inted+nuremberg

would have been among them.



Anyway, in time I will scan and post many more good photos that I took of all recorded variants of both the Italian ca. 1660 prototype (only a handful of actually existing Italian manuufactured instances have ever come to my knowledge), and of the Suhl marked German style follower type of quite late combined flintlock and matchlock muskets - dating from the 1680's.

The author's thesis is that Raimondo Montecuccoli, being of Italian descent, well knew the Italian combined flintlock and matchlock archetypes, and ordered a "high-tech" German style variant from Suhl comprising some exclusively custom made special features for the men of his bodyguard.


I hardly have words to describe the tremendous amount of preparatory toil it takes to both competently and comprehensively document and present this musket that has been both a myth and, seemingly, a phantom to weaponry - up to when my piece turned up.

After all, nobody has ever tried to show what I set out to do decades ago.
It soon was to turn out that it would be a magnum opus, and of the most special kind ...



Best as ever,
Michael/Michl
Michael Trömner
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Old 6th July 2014, 07:06 PM   #10
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Here are two photos portraying Michael (slightly overweighed by then - before I literally halved at hospital in 2013 :rolleyes proudly presenting my MONTECUCCOLI musket in November 2007.
Note the long bayonet fully folded out for attack!

Next to me stands my friend Dieter Schatzmann, who, just like me, has been a long time member of the "German Arms&Armor Society" - actually it is called Gesellschaft für historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde and was founded in 1896:
http://www.waffen-kostuemkunde.de/

I am sorry to say that no English version of our home page seems to exist.


The following year I got invited to join the forum, and have been around quite a bit since.




Best,
Michael/Michl
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Old 6th July 2014, 07:50 PM   #11
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Here is another photograph depicting the spacious exhibition rooms of the armory (German: Gräfliche Rüstkammer) of the Counts Schenk von Stauffenberg at Schloss Greifenstein, Markt Heiligenstadt, Upper Franconia/Bavaria.
Note the differences
between the older photo (above) and the one attached at the bottom concerning the amount of pieces on exhibition.

For centuries, the von Stauffenberg armory held the fine combined flintlock and matchlock musket of MONTECUCCOLI type in discussion - obviously since, on the death of Raimondo Montecuccoli on 16 October 1680, his bodyguard was dissolved and their beautiful 17th century "high tech" muskets got deaccessioned.


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Old 7th July 2014, 04:01 PM   #12
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Hi Michl,

This is absolutely one of my favourite muskets whitin your timeline display at your home. That combined system of flint and matchlock and the story that goes with it are just sublime.

One wonders where the at least 19 other muskets are? Would all the bodyguards (a loose translation on the Leibgarde) be equipped with the same ingenius gun?
Are there any records from the Von Stauffenberg armory about the way they came to posses this gun? And where the montecuccoli muskets in the possession of the bodyguards up until the death of Raimundo or only during his campaigns (like those in the Netherlands) .

The striking steel of the flintlock pan (frizzen) is original and without a repair (like so many other flintlock's which have been repaired with a new piece of hardened iron), so would these guns ever been (actively) used?

A lot of impossible questions, i am sorry

You would have made a frightening Leibgarde yourself if the pictures tell the tale (post 10)

The website on the Gesellschaft für historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde is very interesting. They too like the Vikings seeing as they have a correct!!! Ulfberht sword at there homepage. Would they also accept foreign members, it looks like an interesting and serious group of scholars.
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Old 7th July 2014, 05:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus den toom
Hi Michl,

This is absolutely one of my favourite muskets whitin your timeline display at your home. That combined system of flint and matchlock and the story that goes with it are just sublime.

One wonders where the at least 19 other muskets are? Would all the bodyguards (a loose translation on the Leibgarde) be equipped with the same ingenius gun?
Are there any records from the Von Stauffenberg armory about the way they came to posses this gun? And where the montecuccoli muskets in the possession of the bodyguards up until the death of Raimundo or only during his campaigns (like those in the Netherlands) .

The striking steel of the flintlock pan (frizzen) is original and without a repair (like so many other flintlock's which have been repaired with a new piece of hardened iron), so would these guns ever been (actively) used?

A lot of impossible questions, i am sorry

You would have made a frightening Leibgarde yourself if the pictures tell the tale (post 10)

The website on the Gesellschaft für historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde is very interesting. They too like the Vikings seeing as they have a correct!!! Ulfberht sword at there homepage. Would they also accept foreign members, it looks like an interesting and serious group of scholars.







Hi Marcus,


It is my turn to thank you for asking these substantial questions!
And do believe an Old School teacher (who is emphasizing not to be mistaken for an old school teacher ... ):
One of my guide lines has always been that there are no silly or 'impossible' questions.
It is only the answers - or rather the person giving them - that may be silly, or 'impossible'.


Alright, OK? So let me have a try. Here we go.



For longer than twenty years before that piece showed up I had been pondering over and wondering about much the same facts:


- What would a real MONTECUCCOLI musket actually look like to make me identify it?

- What criteria would that piece have to fullfil - provided it would exist and come to my knowledge ?

- How many guardsmen did an average 17th century bodyguard/Leibgarde of a Count comprise?

- We have many records since at least the 15th century proving that usually all firearms were tested right on delivery. Actually, the frizzen of my MONTECUCCOLI musket shows a lot of characteristic old scratches caused by flint strokes, and so does the frizzen of the fine and elegantly wrought French/St. Etienne made flintlock musket I bought from part I of two Christie's sales of the complete Schloß Dyck armory of the Princes zu Salm-Reifferscheidt, 15 April 1992, lot 52.

Please see post #2 in Nando's thread:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...et+schloss+dyck

I will introduce that beauty in a thread of its own; it can be closely dated to ca. 1655, which makes it about a decade 'older' than the MONTECUCCOLI musket.
It is gun no. 6 from the right
on the photos repeated in the attachments to this post, representing one of the latest specimens in the row of development of earliest arsenal firearms united in The Michael Trömner Collection.


Apart from these facts, I cannot really imagine a noble and skilled high-ranking man of war like Raimondo Montecuccoli to purchase some twenty high-tech guns custom made and handcrafted after his special orders by a Suhl workshop, and hand them over to his guardsmen without having them thoroughly exercise with those pieces and perfectly handle them.

After all, nobody gifted with some common (horse) sense would entrust his life to guardsmen using newly developed equipment without ensuring of its perfect function and working order of an equipment both newly designed by himself, and combining in one piece all the virtual impact of a firearm using two systems of ignition, with one of them never tested and/or prooved by any trained Austrian or Germany army before (the flintlock mechanism), and the additional long range effect of a pike (the bayonet).
Thus, the MONTECUCCOLI musket respresented a technologic novelty as a combination weapon that was awe-inspiring both psychologically and actually, keeping prospective attackers clear over a considerable distance when the guardsmen would group up like a hedge hog, with the muzzles of their muskets as well as the long bayonets pointing at aggressors.
The musket itself measures an overall length of 1.41 meters, and with the pike bayonet folded out and safely engaged in a catch soldered to the barrel right below the muzzle,
its mere phsical coverage was extended to the impressive length of ca. 2.50 meters - not to forget the effective range of the load literally lurking in the barrel ...


- As I have stated above I think that those muskets were sold soon after Raimondo's death because keeping
a small number of combination weapons as individually designed and ordered, and very difficult to get soldiers well trained on as was the case with those specimens may not have made much sense.
It is possible though that they were kept in the Montecuccoli family armory until the 1800's, or even until the early decades of the 20th century when, during the Great Depression, a number of noble houses in Austria and Germany had to consign the contents of their armories with American auction houses - just like the armory of Schloss Hohenwerfen near Salzburg which, as I mentioned before, were sold in New York in 1927:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...oss+hohenwerfen


And then, of course, there were further widespread deaths of German noble collections after WW II ...



- Anyway, the present Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg definitely and quite ungraciously refused providing me with any information whatsoever concerning that musket shortly after he had learned that I had bought the piece.

I have often found myself confronted with that kind of behavior from people of the nobility.
In this special case I partly felt with the Count facing the fact that after centuries, he obviously had to finally sell off a considerable amount of pieces from the family armory.
On the other hand, the sad fact remains that his attitude accounts for a historically important piece of information on the only actually recorded specimem of its kind getting lost forever ...
I am afraid though that even reading my thread and noticing the photos of the private little 'armory' that 'his' musket is part of now, and together with many other fine and important pieces of top and highly repected provenance, would hardly change his mind.



Marcus, regarding your question on joining the Gesellschaft für historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde:
disregarding the fact that it was founded in Germany, and therefore bears a historic and traditional German name we have members from different nations, including many museums. And we would of course be glad to welcome a young and aspiring collector from the Netherlands, and especially somebody striving for profound insight into a very dificult matter as devotedly and rapidly as you do!

Apart from that, I highly recommend getting that Sotheby's catalog of 10 July 2002 for your library!
Sotheby's, or Tom Del Mar, most probably still hold copies of that catalog.
It is basic for comprising many fine weapons from various good provenances, including some rare and early pieces like the important ca. 1520 matchlock arquebus lot 148, with a fine and recycled Late Gothic/
'Maximilian' brass barrel of ca. 1490-1500.
I won it at the same sale and it is in The Michael Trömner Collection, together with the MONTECUCCOLI musket:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...hlight=arquebus
There are 125 attachments to this thread!



Best,
Michl
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Old 8th July 2014, 04:58 PM   #14
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Thank you for your answers and your compliments It is a great feeling that the questions that came to mind where pretty much the same for the both of us.

The part about this gun beeing used makes a lot of sence too, coincidentally i received my book on "kriegkunst zu Fuß" so i can read up on this subject.

The Schloss Dyck flintlock is very nice as well, looking forward to it.

I just read the part about the Kube auction again and i looked at the auction which sold that amazing Haquebut. I was shocked to see it had a estimate of €3500,- and even more suprised that it DID NOT SELL at that auction !!!!

I will definitely apply for the membership, great knowledge is only one blink of an eye away when you take the efford to look at the right place.
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Old 9th July 2014, 07:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus den toom
Thank you for your answers and your compliments It is a great feeling that the questions that came to mind where pretty much the same for the both of us.

The part about this gun beeing used makes a lot of sence too, coincidentally i received my book on "kriegkunst zu Fuß" so i can read up on this subject.

The Schloss Dyck flintlock is very nice as well, looking forward to it.

I just read the part about the Kube auction again and i looked at the auction which sold that amazing Haquebut. I was shocked to see it had a estimate of €3500,- and even more suprised that it DID NOT SELL at that auction !!!!

I will definitely apply for the membership, great knowledge is only one blink of an eye away when you take the efford to look at the right place.



Hi Marcus,


I fully agreee.

The outcome of that Kube auction was even more sad for the singular
singular and highly important haquebut from the Fritz Kerbl collection:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7086&highlight=haquebut+painted+nuremberg


After failing to sell for even that ridiculous price of 3,500 € Kube put it up for sale in the following auction - with an estimate of
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