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Old 4th March 2019, 06:58 PM   #1
cornelistromp
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Default English silverhilted hanger 17thC

this silver hilted hanger does not fit in my collection that mainly consists of pre 1600 or clear Dutch, but it was too nice to pass up....unfortunately
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Old 5th March 2019, 04:07 AM   #2
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Jasper, that is an amazing hanger! Beautiful silver work and I love the face on the pommel cap! I see it was made by the Wundes family. The length of it perhaps indicates it wasn't just a hunting implement, but a weapon as well. The grotesque monsters and faces were popular on English and Dutch swords of this period. Since it is something different for you, feel free to let me reduce your stress and take it off your hands for you!!

Mark
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Old 5th March 2019, 02:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Jasper, that is an amazing hanger! Beautiful silver work and I love the face on the pommel cap! I see it was made by the Wundes family. The length of it perhaps indicates it wasn't just a hunting implement, but a weapon as well. The grotesque monsters and faces were popular on English and Dutch swords of this period. Since it is something different for you, feel free to let me reduce your stress and take it off your hands for you!!

Mark


I reserve your proposal and come back to you if the stress is indeed too heavy to handle.

best,
Jasper
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Old 5th March 2019, 07:40 PM   #4
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I agree Cap'n Mark, the heft and profile of that blade along with the amazing silver suggests some profound possibilities of nautical context perhaps an officers hanger/cutlass?
Jasper, with Dutch and English so closely connected in this period, could this weapon have been indiscriminate enough to fit into your collection on those grounds?
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Old 6th March 2019, 10:45 AM   #5
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this type of hangers were not necessarily worn during the hunt but often in civilian outfit.
that it is purely English does not really bother me,... it is a beautiful stranger

best,
Jasper
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Old 6th March 2019, 11:23 AM   #6
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Truly so, Jasper, a beautiful piece! As Jim indicated, it very well might have seen sea service, as many officers at the time carried fine hangers such as this. Brass and silver hilts were supplanting the earlier iron hilts, as they were resistant to salty air and rust. The sea monster head/dog head quillon on yours is so reminiscent of the so called 'dog head' English naval cutlasses of the same period, themselves resembling the kastane.
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Old 6th March 2019, 03:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Truly so, Jasper, a beautiful piece! As Jim indicated, it very well might have seen sea service, as many officers at the time carried fine hangers such as this. Brass and silver hilts were supplanting the earlier iron hilts, as they were resistant to salty air and rust. The sea monster head/dog head quillon on yours is so reminiscent of the so called 'dog head' English naval cutlasses of the same period, themselves resembling the kastane.


do you have some kind proof for a silver sea service hanger?
your hanger picture is the type of hanger of a famous Dutch guy, Michiel de Ruyter.
Iam still looking for good example of this type.

best,
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Old 6th March 2019, 09:59 PM   #8
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I will hit my books, but you are right that I can't say for sure that there were silver 'naval' hangers. I do know that silver was replacing the the early (1640's-50's) English iron hangers that did frequently go to sea. The brass hangers are well documented naval pieces. Just have to do some research to see if I can find examples...
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Old 6th March 2019, 10:48 PM   #9
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I read somewhere that sabres with silvered hilts would be carried by hussars working as guards for private estates and castles in Hungary in the 18thC. Brass/gilded hilts were reserved for use by the Crown. Could then silver hilt hangers have been worn by officers in the Honourable East India Company and other private groups? Just a thought.
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Old 8th March 2019, 03:52 AM   #10
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I had thought of the VOC myself, Victrix, in that many of their officers carried high end weapons. Jasper helped me with an old Dutch hanger, pointing to its museum-quality counterparts carried by bigwigs in the Company. Here's the old thread-

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=11701

Note again the monster head finials, much like on this silver piece.
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Old 8th March 2019, 04:09 AM   #11
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Well, I have fallen into the old pit trap that is 'naval swords prior to 1800', meaning that because there were no restrictions on what one could carry to sea and no actual "m1650 swords" (model types), ANY sword could be a sea sword. This was covered extensively by Annis and May in their monumental work, "Swords for Sea Service", whereby they identified everything from rapiers to cavalry swords with known sea use. This creates the conundrum whereby all we have to go by is what PATTERNS were popular among the naval men (and pirates, consequently). Thus, we do have clear documentation that hangers of this sort did go to sea. As far as specific individuals of fame carrying them, we have the brass 'hunting' hangers being carried by Admirals Benbow and Shovel. But there is nothing really to say that this piece could have been used in a naval setting. Looking through my books, I saw numerous Dutch and English hangers of this type, many in silver, but none identified as 'naval'. However, of the many brass hilts of this same time, the books also didn't list any of them as being naval either. Let's face it, the rules were so loose back then that few weapons for naval use were categorized and recorded as such. The same is true for every potential naval sword all the way up to the beginning of the nineteenth century! It came down to "Well, it has an anchor on the pommel. Must be a sea sword!" Known swords removed from ships or taken in battle are extremely scarce. So, my point is, we may never be sure if this beautiful piece saw service. Some great examples of the silver hilt stag hangers can be seen in Southwick's guide and in the Victoria & Albert Museum collection volume on swords by Norman.
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Old 8th March 2019, 07:03 AM   #12
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yes this is correct.
we could say, if your life depends on it, silver is not the best choice, because of the simple fact that the metal is too soft for a hilt, to catch a blow.
This is why silver hilts often appear on hunting weapons, but hardly on rapiers and sabers.
Btw this does not apply to small swords, however, where silver shells are strong enough to avert a stab. (1650 onwards)

best,
jasper
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Old 8th March 2019, 02:21 PM   #13
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Well said Mark!
Virtually any type of sword could have ended up in a maritime context in the years before any sort of regulation was in effect, end of the 18th c. primarily. The notion of regulation patterns is a bit difficult, as typically 'regulation' often was simply an official designation of a form already in use and established as a general type which might have variation in degree.

In naval settings, the rank and file of course used 'rack' weapons issued as required. The officers wore swords as an element of rank and status, and were not traditionally expected to 'do battle'. As gentlemen of station, they of course had considerable latitude in the swords they chose to wear. It must be remembered that before cameras, the only depictions of important figures, including naval officers, were portraits, and the fashion as well as weapons were often chosen to reflect status and character.

When turning to the wider scope of maritime context and looking to the merchants including East India companies, as well as their nemesis, the ever lurking pirates and privateers.....the possibilities of any closely set guidelines in weapons in use were virtually unlikely if not impossible.

I remember trying to find out if it was possible that Highland basket hilts were ever used at sea, and that notion further empowered by the compelling notice that Blackbeard was actually dispatched by one, dispelling much of the previous lore about his end. While the actual circumstance was a Highlander among a contingent of local Carolina men enlisted by the famed Lt. Maynard aboard his sloops in the 'chase'......the potential for such a sword even on tight decks seemed more feasible.

The idea of pitched swashbuckling melee aboard vessels is a notion propounded by Hollywood, and fanciful literature. There was not really such sword to sword combat in most cases, and most men in these times and these circumstances were not really fencing or sword combat trained nor experienced. If anything, surrender was gained by intimidation, or use of guns with the dreaded deck clearing langrage as convincing action.

So really, in my view, the use of silver on a hilt, whether on ship or land, was simply a matter of fashion and prestige, with little thought toward potential use in combat. A captain or officers of a vessel might have such swords aboard for dress or diplomatic occasion, as well as a service weapon (often termed 'fighting' sword) worn regularly on duty.

Determining the intent or placement of use of a weapon such as this in naval context is of course purely speculation without sound provenance, and as was suggested to me by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich in my quest for maritime use of the basket hilt......cannot be 'confirmed nor denied'.
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Old 8th March 2019, 03:09 PM   #14
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a beautiful late 17thC silver hilted hanger made by a London silversmith.
a similar cherub occurs on the pommel cap.
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Old 8th March 2019, 06:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

Determining the intent or placement of use of a weapon such as this in naval context is of course purely speculation without sound provenance, and as was suggested to me by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich in my quest for maritime use of the basket hilt......cannot be 'confirmed nor denied'.



Hi Jim,
Here may be a contender. https://collections.rmg.co.uk/colle...ects/78642.html
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 8th March 2019, 07:15 PM   #16
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And another.
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File Type: pdf Broadsword - National Maritime Museum.pdf (219.3 KB, 126 views)
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Old 8th March 2019, 07:17 PM   #17
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A couple of silver hilts one with Naval connections.
Regards,
Norman.
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File Type: pdf Hanger - National Maritime Museum.pdf (209.9 KB, 121 views)
File Type: pdf Sword - National Maritime Museum.pdf (562.5 KB, 117 views)
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Old 9th March 2019, 01:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Well said Mark!
Virtually any type of sword could have ended up in a maritime context in the years before any sort of regulation was in effect, end of the 18th c. primarily. The notion of regulation patterns is a bit difficult, as typically 'regulation' often was simply an official designation of a form already in use and established as a general type which might have variation in degree.

In naval settings, the rank and file of course used 'rack' weapons issued as required. The officers wore swords as an element of rank and status, and were not traditionally expected to 'do battle'. As gentlemen of station, they of course had considerable latitude in the swords they chose to wear. It must be remembered that before cameras, the only depictions of important figures, including naval officers, were portraits, and the fashion as well as weapons were often chosen to reflect status and character.

When turning to the wider scope of maritime context and looking to the merchants including East India companies, as well as their nemesis, the ever lurking pirates and privateers.....the possibilities of any closely set guidelines in weapons in use were virtually unlikely if not impossible.

I remember trying to find out if it was possible that Highland basket hilts were ever used at sea, and that notion further empowered by the compelling notice that Blackbeard was actually dispatched by one, dispelling much of the previous lore about his end. While the actual circumstance was a Highlander among a contingent of local Carolina men enlisted by the famed Lt. Maynard aboard his sloops in the 'chase'......the potential for such a sword even on tight decks seemed more feasible.

The idea of pitched swashbuckling melee aboard vessels is a notion propounded by Hollywood, and fanciful literature. There was not really such sword to sword combat in most cases, and most men in these times and these circumstances were not really fencing or sword combat trained nor experienced. If anything, surrender was gained by intimidation, or use of guns with the dreaded deck clearing langrage as convincing action.

So really, in my view, the use of silver on a hilt, whether on ship or land, was simply a matter of fashion and prestige, with little thought toward potential use in combat. A captain or officers of a vessel might have such swords aboard for dress or diplomatic occasion, as well as a service weapon (often termed 'fighting' sword) worn regularly on duty.

Determining the intent or placement of use of a weapon such as this in naval context is of course purely speculation without sound provenance, and as was suggested to me by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich in my quest for maritime use of the basket hilt......cannot be 'confirmed nor denied'.



Excellent points, Jim. In particular is your point (one I hadn't thought of) about officers carrying flashy weapons as symbols of rank and not necessarily 'battle-worthy' swords. Case in point, Spanish naval officers often wore small swords as a badge of rank while on deck as well as at formal functions. Hand-to-hand during boarding did occasionally occur, but for the most part, there were hand-picked boarding parties who were rank and file with what they would be armed with, who would lead the charge, etc. In Gilkerson, he showed how there might be pikemen in the front, sailors welding cutlass in the middle and possibly some marines armed with firearms leading up the rear. I would imagine that a captain or officer would have been fitted with several swords, one for dress/rank, one for fighting, etc. In 'Master and Commander', we see Jack Aubrey retrieving his fighting swords from his cabin just before battle (it took, after all, quite a bit of time for two ships to maneuver into battle position, each adversary trying to get the advantage of angle and position).
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Old 9th March 2019, 01:07 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
a beautiful late 17thC silver hilted hanger made by a London silversmith.
a similar cherub occurs on the pommel cap.



That's another beauty, Jasper. The cherub faces always remind me of those found on the Queen Ann cannon barrel pistols also of this era.
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Old 9th March 2019, 01:20 AM   #20
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Default Great examples!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Jim,
Here may be a contender. https://collections.rmg.co.uk/colle...ects/78642.html
Regards,
Norman.


Excellent examples, Norman! I'm sure Jim will be thrilled (as was I!) to see that baskethilt with provenance used in naval context. Let us not forget Captain Phillip Broke of the HMS Shannon, who took USS Chesapeake during the War of 1812. His sword was an old family heirloom broadsword refitted with a stirrup hilt guard. When he was badly wounded (thought to be a mortal wound, but he recovered) and being removed from the deck, he called out "Don't forget my trusty sword!" Indeed, in the melee, it would have been nice to have such a formidable weapon!
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Old 9th March 2019, 01:54 AM   #21
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Roger that!!!My good kinsman Norman brings in the good baskets with salty air!!
Mark, good note on maneuvering into position for battle. It would seem to have been hard enough in waters near land to get close to another ship trying to avoid you.....let alone on high seas.
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Old 13th March 2019, 03:38 PM   #22
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here is a very intersting link; Buccaneer Cutlasses: What We Know

also some information of the use of equal silver hilted hangers in naval use

https://benersonlittle.blog/2016/12...s-what-we-know/
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Old 13th March 2019, 08:07 PM   #23
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Default WOW!

Jasper, you just found one of the most concise articles I've ever read on buccaneer weapons! Printing and saving this to my files!! As Jim and I suspected, silver hilts did make it to sea. Your sword would make a fine addition to anyone's collection for a variety of reasons. Thanks again for finding and posting this amazing resource!
Mark
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Old 13th March 2019, 09:24 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Jasper, you just found one of the most concise articles I've ever read on buccaneer weapons! Printing and saving this to my files!! As Jim and I suspected, silver hilts did make it to sea. Your sword would make a fine addition to anyone's collection for a variety of reasons. Thanks again for finding and posting this amazing resource!
Mark


yes I thought so

best,
jasper
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Old 14th March 2019, 02:44 PM   #25
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Again, I throw this in not knowing whether or not it is relevant or particularly pertinent - but if it is English, shouldn,t it be hallmarked?
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:08 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
Again, I throw this in not knowing whether or not it is relevant or particularly pertinent - but if it is English, shouldn,t it be hallmarked?
Regards
Richard



Hi Richard,
Not necessarily. I was informed by Bonhams that some earlier silver items were not hallmarked in order to evade duty payments and this includes silver hilts. I have one silver hilted English hanger that is not hallmarked.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 14th March 2019, 08:58 PM   #27
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Interesting information on hallmarked silver Norman!

I agree Mark, this article really is well presented, and sort of steers toward probable reality from the 'Hollywood' versions of these times. I still remember as a young boy being fascinated with those same woodcut type prints of Lolonais, Blackbeard and others and those unmistakable scallop shell hilts. It seems I read somewhere that in the colloquial slang on vessels a cutlass or hanger was often termed a 'shell'.

I recall the great pirate illustrations by Wyeth and Pyle and the cutlasses with pronounced brass bowl hilt.......clearly Civil War naval cutlasses !! Other than that extreme gaff, the rest of the cliche' images were always exciting.

I think it is much like in all the historical settings we study, the actual weapons in use were seldom of any sort of uniformity, and often far from the colorful images of narratives and popular literature.

Still, it is exciting and fascinating to collect examples which just MIGHT have been used, and allow ourselves some degree of fanciful romanticism in thinking so.........otherwise all of this would lose its luster and adventure.
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Old 15th March 2019, 06:27 AM   #28
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I absolutely agree with you there, Jim,concerning the murky waters of whether a particular sword saw sea usage or not. Most writers on the subject accept that there were definitely specific types that were popular with the sailors, officers, pirates/privateers, etc, due to their popularity and function in close quarters. I haven't digested this whole article yet, but I've printed out a copy and hope to do so soon.
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Old 15th March 2019, 07:57 PM   #29
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"Murky waters'! Mark, a perfect simile for trying to better understand these maritime mystery swords.
The article Jasper posted is actually quite brilliant, one of the best I have seen addressing swords and weapons in pirate and maritime use in these 17th-18th periods.

While trying not to deviate too much from the silver hilt topic. ...it is always hard not to consider the overall context of what types of swords were likely preferred and why in varying circumstances in those times.

I would imagine that silver hilt hangers would have been more likely for naval officers and probably those of merchant ships. In these cases it was more for status and appearances in situations calling for ceremonial protocols. I do not think they would have been for everyday wear.

In the context of piracy, such affluent swords would have of course been a prize, and in some degree paraded about as a trophy, but not have been taken as a serious weapon.

Looking back at this great article on Buccaneer arms, and concerning the 'shell' type cutlasses. These are of course the well known 'dusagge' type swords (often later termed 'Sinclair sabres') which evolved in Slovakian and North Europe regions from later 16th c.through the 17th. These typically had sheet steel shell guards, though many versions had the developed guard systems as with rapiers as well as some with plates (believed the forerunner of basket hilts).

I believe these ended up as seagoing weapons through the typical ports in the Low Countries with extensive trade activity, and with thier short, hefty and notable hand protection, served well for the crowded, melee type action on vessels.

The cliche' term 'cutlass' for a short, heavy heft sword appears to have filtered from Italian 'coutelazo' for a large knife of 16th c. into French 'coutelas' for a machete like sword. While typically regarded in nautical parlance, it seems used more broadly in many cases.


I know I have digressed here, but these seagoing topics are addicting!
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Old 15th March 2019, 08:30 PM   #30
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for some dutch shell hilt examples see;

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=dussage

best
jasper
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