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Old 28th February 2012, 01:29 PM   #1
templarnight
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Default Scottish Ribbon Hilt Sword. Maker info

After much saving and scrimping I have at last acquired what I would call my dream Sword!
Can anyone help me with any info on the maker?
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Old 28th February 2012, 04:08 PM   #2
Carl M
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My God, this is a beautiful sword! May I ask where you found it?

I looked in my sources, even Bezdek's "German Swords and Swordmakers" and there is no listing of "Peter Knavee," nor is there a "Knavee" family.

I am curious to find out more about this.

Can you give us some stats, like weight, point of balance, total and blade length?
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Old 28th February 2012, 04:33 PM   #3
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I acquired it recently from a fellow collector of Swords. I believe he bought it at Auction.

The Sword Blade is 84.5cm long, total length 98cm. Its 5.1cm max width.

1.52k in weight and the point of balance is about 7cm up from the Forte.

I think the surname is actually KNAVFE

Hope this helps.
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Old 29th February 2012, 06:07 AM   #4
ingelred
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Hi,

could et be "Knauer"?
This is a German family name.

Greetings, Helge
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Old 29th February 2012, 04:09 PM   #5
laEspadaAncha
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Sorry I can't be of no help in identifying the maker, but nonetheless I had to chime in just to say that is an absolutely example, a classic ribbon-hilted basket hilt... If only there was a drooling smiley to be found, there would be a small puddle of 1's and 0's at the base of my laptop screen right now...
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Old 1st March 2012, 01:24 AM   #6
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I must also second that comment...I'd save for 10 years for one of these if I could-
Absolutely fantastic sword and a true piece of history.
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Old 1st March 2012, 10:11 PM   #7
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Many thanks for your comments.

Im having to clear out a few other items to keep this one though!!
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Old 1st March 2012, 10:43 PM   #8
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by templarnight
Many thanks for your comments.

Im having to clear out a few other items to keep this one though!!



A worthy exchange I would say!!!
These are very much my dream swords as well, and quite honestly the few examples I have seen of this 17th century form were in pretty rough shape.
The hilt style conforms to examples C4 and C4a ("British Basket Hilted Swords" Dr. Cyril Mazansky, 2005, p.71) and the disc as well as the connecting 'S' shape are distinctive features of these 'ribbon hilts'. It seems these typically will date in 1670s-1690s, and the Solingen blade form is characteristic with central triple fullers and short parallel fullers at either side.
In most cases, these blades seem to carry the familiar 'ANDREA FERARA' wording, so this one is of course quite interesting. This particular name does not occur in any of the regularly consulted references, however it seems to me that German surnames can vary considerably within the same family group as well of course as the spellings. This blade seems an outstanding example of the 'Grosse Schotten' type blades, distinctly produced by Solingen makers for thier Scottish clients, as large formidable broadswords for the Scots.
I personally have always considered the 'Andrea Ferara' as a kind of 'brand' labeling this style rather than being intended to spuriously represent a maker. This is discussed in the 'trademarks ' thread.
It would seem quite reasonable for a maker to use his name in place of this typically used term, and it would be great if we could find some record of him to better establish period for the sword.

While the sword itself is in accord with the forementioned period, it seems to me that the grip is more in the style of later British hilts using rayskin or fishskin with Turks heads and wire wrap. While some British 'mortuary' swords of the 17th century period seem to have had these type grips, most Scottish hilts used leather grips. It is my view that this sword may well have been refurbished for an officer in a Highland regiment later in the 18th century, or of course remains the possibility of even later refurbishing. In any case the blade and hilt seem homogenous.

This is a beautiful example, and without a doubt with a profound history which piques my own Highland ancestry!! and a Drambuie salute to this proud Scottish warrior!!!

Nicely done, and thank you so much for sharing it here,

All the best,
Jim

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Old 2nd March 2012, 03:04 AM   #9
Battara
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What a great piece and in prime condition!
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Old 2nd March 2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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the name of the maker seems to be PETER KNAUFF or KNAUFE
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Old 31st December 2013, 07:31 PM   #11
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Default Peter K.....???

Well, have lurked for years and this forum, never got to signing up. Then, on a search I found this post.

My Swiss ancestors were from Kanton Zurich. Neff, Nave, Knave, Naff...list goes on and on. All related by DNA. There are about 13 different branches of them! So, good luck! And does not mean your guy is one of my guys. Lutherans, so church records are pretty good till about 1500 or so.

Here in America they were blacksmiths. Landed in America early, prior to 1740. Also very heavily connected to...Scottish side of my family [MacKay - Lord Reay and Middleton. Yes, yes. "Those" Middleton.] Both by marriage and business contacts. Dutch East India Co. My Scottish side were merchants that were known to import from Scotland and Germany to what would become America. Based out of Port Royal, Boston, Rhode Island, Norfolk, VA and Charleston, SC. Also had folks at Darien, GA. The big Scottish settlement.

Hard to tell who he is. I do not have him in our records. But German and Swiss blacksmiths along with cannoniers [sp?] were exempt from many "state" regulations due to their strategic trade. Anyway...

We also had gunsmiths from Scotland into Charleston, SC in the family prior to 1720. So, just plain hard to tell. Shame you could not get some more history from the previous owner to narrow the search? Is it possible a Germanic bladesmith was connected to a Scottish firm? Yupper, sure enough!
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Old 1st January 2014, 01:34 PM   #12
Richard G
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Is that just a scroll, or an "S" in the hilt?
Regards
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Old 1st January 2014, 01:52 PM   #13
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
Is that just a scroll, or an "S" in the hilt?
Regards
Richard

It looks like a well defined "S" ... for Scotland ?
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Old 2nd January 2014, 04:34 AM   #14
Jim McDougall
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Interesting to see this one come up again, and though I could not locate this maker as noted in my 2012 soliloquy, it seems that since then I have seen this maker among listed Solingen smiths, and it does seem the name was Knaupf. I'll have to look again.

It is well established, as I had mentioned in 2012, that blades for Scotland were invariably German produced. It was claimed that Scots often prized Spanish blades, but the examples I have seen on Scottish basket hilts with such blades were also German with spuriously placed Spanish names and marks.
Indeed the Scots were well represented among the colonists here through the 18th century (mine did not arrive in North America until the 1860s then through Canada) . As Mark Eley and I have often noted, it was a Highlander who ended Blackbeard in North Carolina with his trusty broadsword in 1718.


There has been considerable speculation on potential symbology and nuanced motif in these Scottish hilts, but as stated in Scottish parlance, most remain 'unproven'. In a 1997 article by Howard Mesnard ("Early Scottish Edged Weapons and Related Militaria", p.178), the author well notes, "...there is no evidence that the 'S stood for Stirling, Scotland, Stuart or anything else", claiming that the recurved piece was simply a structural spacer in the hilt design.
This seems quite logical as obviously 'Scotland' would be categorically redundant on these distinctive Scottish hilt forms; in many if not most cases Stuart or Jacobite allegiances were signaled in many secret symbols or signs and most of the Stirling made hilts I have seen have varying geometric patterns and designs, mostly without any 'S'.
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Old 2nd January 2014, 04:06 PM   #15
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Hi Jim,
First of all let me wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year and I hope that a few drams of your favourite whisky, Drambuie if my memory serves, eased the transition from 2013 to 2014. With regards to your last post the term you were looking for is Not Proven rather than Unproven. It is a peculiarity of Scots Law that we have three verdicts in criminal cases rather than the normal two, although other countries do have more than two verdicts possible Italy being one. The verdict Not Proven means 'we think you did it but cannot prove it' so in cases of historical suppositions it may be particularly apt. The sword in question is a nice example and would look extremely good above my mantlepiece.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 2nd January 2014, 04:24 PM   #16
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
... The sword in question is a nice example and would look extremely good above my mantlepiece.

Can you 'prove' that, Norman ?
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Old 2nd January 2014, 05:56 PM   #17
Norman McCormick
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Can you 'prove' that, Norman ?





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Old 2nd January 2014, 11:28 PM   #18
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi Jim,
First of all let me wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year and I hope that a few drams of your favourite whisky, Drambuie if my memory serves, eased the transition from 2013 to 2014. With regards to your last post the term you were looking for is Not Proven rather than Unproven. It is a peculiarity of Scots Law that we have three verdicts in criminal cases rather than the normal two, although other countries do have more than two verdicts possible Italy being one. The verdict Not Proven means 'we think you did it but cannot prove it' so in cases of historical suppositions it may be particularly apt. The sword in question is a nice example and would look extremely good above my mantlepiece.
My Regards,
Norman.


Aye Norman!!! and to you and the family, a most happy and wonderful new year.....your memory serves well..it is Drambuie indeed!
Thank you so much for that correction on that term which I was using in analogous context, and had recalled incorrectly. I am always grateful for these kinds of details, and even better from a true kinsman.

I agree, this is truly a beautiful example of these magnificent swords, and it is always wonderful to see these great threads come back.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 3rd January 2014, 12:17 AM   #19
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Wow! I had forgotten about this beautiful ribbon-hilt! Now that would be the jewel in anyone's collection! I just got done reading Peterson's old tome on weapons in Pre-Colonial America, so it is certainly possible that it could have been crafted here, or at least come over the pond to here! Due to its early dating and style, I would assume it came from the homeland until proven otherwise, though.

A belated Happy New Year to you gents, especially you, Jim! Indeed, William Thack aka Blackbeard should have never sassed a Highlander!!
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Old 2nd October 2015, 11:54 PM   #20
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Default Twin brothers, or at least Kissin' Cousins

I have just joined this forum because I saw Templarnight's ribbon hilt last weekend. I have its twin brother or at least a kissin' cousin.
The only significant difference I can see, aside from the decorative piercing is that while his blade has the name Peter Knaupf, mine has the unbiquitous Andria Ferara, along with armourer's marks of an arc with three stars at each end on both sides of the blade.
The dimensions are nearly identical. It suggests that these swords, at the least, came out of the same shop.
I believe they are late in the ribbon hilt series based on the ring that joins the arms of the guards under the pommel. I have an earlier ribbon hilt in which the joining piece is simply a thin piece of iron.
The welding of the plates inside is very well done and all but invisible on the outside.
Most of my swords are on a thread on SFI started by Cathey Brimage, who also launched one here. Cathey, Eljay Erickson and I have been posting swords there are the last few months.
I saw some beautiful pieces on the thread on this forum, which Cathey was also involved in. Hope we can all share the goodies.
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Old 9th July 2018, 06:12 PM   #21
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Default Fake

Sorry not to have posted this warning sooner.

After studying my sword closely and comparing it with known authentic ribbon hilts I concluded that it was a beautifully made reproduction.

I returned it to the dealer who did not dispute my conclusions. I learned very recently that it was sold on to another collector to whom I have explained my reasoning.

First, it is simply more than coincidental to find two swords, purportedly made in the 17th Century, with the names of different makers -- one of whom is unknown -- that are identical in every respect.

Second, it is also more than coincidental that neither sword shows any marks of use, no dings or dents, which a real ribbon hilt has in abundance.

Handling the one sword in comparison with other, authentic, swords offers the "feeling" that it just isn't right.

I learned later that my sword came through an English dealer who has a reputation for distributing iffy pieces.

In my case at least its purchase was a matter of enthusiasm overcoming good sense because my firm belief now is that both swords were not made in the 1600s but in the late 1900s or early 2000s.
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Old 11th July 2018, 08:55 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boberl
Sorry not to have posted this warning sooner.

After studying my sword closely and comparing it with known authentic ribbon hilts I concluded that it was a beautifully made reproduction.

I returned it to the dealer who did not dispute my conclusions. I learned very recently that it was sold on to another collector to whom I have explained my reasoning.

First, it is simply more than coincidental to find two swords, purportedly made in the 17th Century, with the names of different makers -- one of whom is unknown -- that are identical in every respect.

Second, it is also more than coincidental that neither sword shows any marks of use, no dings or dents, which a real ribbon hilt has in abundance.

Handling the one sword in comparison with other, authentic, swords offers the "feeling" that it just isn't right.

I learned later that my sword came through an English dealer who has a reputation for distributing iffy pieces.

In my case at least its purchase was a matter of enthusiasm overcoming good sense because my firm belief now is that both swords were not made in the 1600s but in the late 1900s or early 2000s.


Interesting. Not my area, but I've always admired Scottish broadswords and backswords. The two swords illustrated in this thread seem in an unusually good state of preservation compared to examples I have seen in museums. Looking forward to reading what other forumites with more knowledge have to say...
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Old 11th July 2018, 09:41 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boberl
Second, it is also more than coincidental that neither sword shows any marks of use, no dings or dents, which a real ribbon hilt has in abundance.




Yes, the absence of any marks of fighting on a battlefield-sword, which is no parade-sword or so, is always a warning sign.

These blades were made for combat, not as a wallhanger and no one in the past would have bought such a blade for collecting, this is like buying a Ford Escort as a collectors piece nowadays.

All of my authentic swords have more or less prominent traces of combat.

But I also have to say, the the artificial aging job on the two blades is awesome. The only thing that is strange is the total absence of black pitting.


Roland
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Old 11th July 2018, 12:29 PM   #24
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Red face I have been there too...

Quote:
Originally Posted by boberl
...I concluded that it was a beautifully made reproduction.

I have two 'Scottish' swords that I suspect are from the same forger as the one you presented; I believe he is called the 'Birmingham maker.' They fooled more than one expert and the collector who ultimately called them out suggested I just put them in an auction to recover my money, but I have chosen instead to use them as decorators on my wall, along with some other 'mistakes' I have made along the way as reminders.

Scottish swords are an even more treacherous minefield than medieval swords.

It takes courage to admit that one's self has been fooled, even if transiently, and I commend you.
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Old 12th July 2018, 11:03 AM   #25
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Not just Scottish swords, also schiavonas, katzbalgers, dusaks, ritterschwerts from 1600 and walloon swords. This workshop touched everything. There was a post about them in swordforum. In 2009 maybe. I have tried with the search engine to no avail.

Very nice replicas, that handled also beautifully.

Taken one by one they did not raise suspicions, but as a group they did. A similar level of damage. Similar thread at the grips and turknots, very clear marks, sometimes repeated, same file marks. I got a Ritterschwert in 2005 that was sold to me as a Victorian replica. But I think the workshop was still working in the 2000s, maybe in East Europe. There were many connections to a Birmingham dealer, at a time he was selling a couple of these swords a month. And the level of damage was being increased. I was collecting the pictures and there was something sniffy there. If they are still active and have corrected their mistakes, you need short of metallographic techniques to find out.
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Old 13th July 2018, 03:51 PM   #26
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Unhappy That does not surprise me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by midelburgo
Not just Scottish swords, also ... This workshop touched everything.

That does not surprise me. In the case of my examples, I never really suspected the first and after an experienced collector 'passed' it, I bought another from the same dealer and finding a few too many coincidences soon the seeds of suspicion began to sprout. I think that the blades on both of mine are actually good old German blades, but were taken from a sword of a style with less market value (so the greatest tragedy is if something genuine was vandalized rather than old dismounted blades merely remounted). One fell the other day when I was rehanging it and it remained standing upright after the tip buried over a half of an inch into wooden flooring. A good strong pull and it was free and there was no trace of any damage to the tip.
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Old 15th July 2018, 08:49 AM   #27
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Default Beak Ned Swords (Ribbon Hilts)

Hi Bob, good to hear from you.

With regard to your ribbon hilt, of course I donít have the luxury of having actually held your sword; however you may have been a little hasty believing it to be a fake. Often hilts and blades where of different manufacture and SOLINGEN was certainly a prolific blade maker at the time. Solingen also routinely added FARARA to their blades destined for the Scottish market. Hilts of this latter Ribbon hilt style do all look almost identical and it is reasonable to believe that if they came from the same maker this would be the case.

However, this being said, the feel of the sword is hard to ignore, if it doesnít feel right in the hand or if the blade is un-tempered then it may well be a pretender. I am relieved to hear the dealer took it back as I know once you have any doubt over a piece it is hard to live with. Lack of evidence of use might just mean that, this sword saw little or no action. These larger blades are also pretty robust; those in my collection are in similarly good condition, lacking the usual nicks etc.

I have been unable to find a Peter KNAVFF or KNAVEE in any of my references and if someone was going to add a fake maker, I would have thought they would have picked one who is easily identified and/or more desirable. The grip on both of these is obviously a latter replacement, but again given the age this is also not unusual and swords passed down through generations would require some upgrades if still in use.

I have two ribbon hilts which I will post, one early version and another similar to the ones posted here, although mine has had a much harder life. The hilt has a period replacement pommel from a rapier and someone has added to the collar to fit the wrong pommel. Very sad, but I have left it as is at this stage. This sword feels absolutely wonderful in the hand, very light and balanced.

It is so sad the Baron of Earlshall has passed away, it would have been wonderful to get his thoughts on these swords. I was fortunate that he had already given mine the thumbs up, although he really hated the rapier pommel sitting on top of a Beak Neb as he called them.

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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