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Old 19th November 2006, 06:14 PM   #1
The Double D
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Default What can you tell me about this sword?

I was visiting a gentleman this weekend in Ladysmith, SA. He show me a sword and wondered if I might tell hine something about it. I told him, I knew noting of swoards, but did knoe a place on the internet where there may be people who are able to help.

He would like to know the typical information. Who made it, where is from, what is it (Claymore?) approximate age, etc.

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Old 19th November 2006, 06:15 PM   #2
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Default The Guard






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Old 19th November 2006, 06:16 PM   #3
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Scottish baskethilt (?) - this is Jim's Mcdougall's specialty.
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Old 19th November 2006, 06:19 PM   #4
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Default the blade

This mark is on both sides of the blade in front of the fullers


The fuller has marks of dots and arc and X's. One side has what appears to Awdria and Ferere on the other.





The tip.
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Old 19th November 2006, 06:19 PM   #5
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I know little about service swords really, but to me it looks bit of a dogs dinner. The blade does not match the hilt to me.
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Old 19th November 2006, 08:13 PM   #6
Jeff D
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While awaiting the definitive answer from Jim, I will wade in here.

This appears to be a Stirling style Scottish basket hilt from most likely the early part on the 18th century. They often appear like a "dogs dinner" due to long use (often these were thought to be hidden in thatched roofs after the 45, accounting for their distressed look). There has been multiple old repair to yours (including the riveted guard to pommel)

The Blade is of German manufacture from Solingen or Passau. Yours has the Passau wolf as well as the Andrea Ferara Mark of quality. This style is in keeping with the early part of the 18th century.

Hope this gets you started.

All the Best
Jeff
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Old 19th November 2006, 08:58 PM   #7
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Like the others I look forward to what Jim would say here and I wish Eljay ( E.B. Erickson ) posted here as well both of them know a great deal about this type of sword. Here is a little on the Ferrara markings that I can add ( I got lazy and cut and pasted some of this from another post of mine at another place on these)

"Andrea Ferara" ( I have seen several spellings different spellings including Ferrara, Ferarra, Feraro) was a bladesmith from 16th century Italy ( though I have also seen it written he was from Spain) . Some swords not made by him were later made with his name on them. I have seen it on styles from baskethilts to saifs ( nimcha ) and kaskara

I found this on this site http://www.historichighlanders.com/wapensh4.htm


"Solingen makers of the 17th century were Iohannes Hoppe, Theill Keveler, and Peter Henckles; the latter's mark was stag antlers. All these, and not a few more, also used the inscription Andrea Ferara (no matter how spelt) on their blades as a selling point to their Scottish customers, to whom it was like a spell or talisman to have on a blade. A little background on this Andrea Ferara: We know that he and his brother Giovan Donato Ferara had their workshop in Belluno in Venetia in the second half of the 16th century, where their blades were renowned for their superb temper. We know from Mr. Wendelin Boheim, the learned custodian of the Imperial Collection of Armour in Vienna, that Andrea was born in 1530 and died sometime after 1583, when he and his brother are recorded in Cigogna's Trattato Militare, published in 1583, where he specially mentions the brothers as celebrated blade makers"

Here is an oxford journal October 3 1891
http://nq.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/iss...s7-XII/301.pdf
It cites notes from Royal Archaeological Institute by the Baron de Cosson, F.S.A.
it states
"" It is also certain that, common as blades bearing the signature Andrea Ferara are in this country, scarcely any of them are the work of Maestro Andrea de i Ferari, who gained such renown for the superb temper of the blades which he produced in his workshop at Bellunoin Venetia in the second half of the sixteenth century, where he worked with his brother Giovan Donate de i Ferari, some of whose blades, signed Zandona, still exist. Nearly all the bladescommonly attributed to Andrea Ferara are manifestly of seventeenth century make, and Boheim states that Andrea was born in 1530 and died abont 1583. It is possible that a few of the finest blades existing in Scotland and England bearing the name Andrea Ferara. may be his work, but as yet I know very few which 1 can positively attribute to the master or even to the epoch when he lived; and it is curious that the italian collections possess very few even bearing big name. What is certain is that for nearly fifty yean after his death Solingen turned out hundreds of blades bearing his name, for exportation to those countries where a true Ferara was held in high repute, just aa it supplied false Toledo blades to those where a rapier preferred to a broad sword."

This mark is also mentioned here
http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_engswords.html

As noted above the passau running wolf mark was used by the German family of Shotley swordmakers before it was used by Solingen.
Another link on this
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/make/hd_make.htm

It looks like it also has the "eyelash" marks discussed before.

I hope this helps and it is a wonderful find.

Last edited by RhysMichael : 19th November 2006 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 19th November 2006, 11:15 PM   #8
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Thank you so much Kirill and Jeff for the kind words!!
Actually I cannot claim expertise or specialty in Scottish basket hilts, but I very much appreciate the compliment and confidence.

I have of course researched them in degree over the years, and have a personal affinity for them, although they are quite out of reach monetarily to collect, for me at least

This example submitted by Double D is magnificent!!! Especially as it remains in apparantly untouched and static condition. While admittedly looking quite rough, it reflects the character and history held proudly in its patination and wear. I would beg the owner not to touch it, and leave it alone, save curbing any active rust if should be the case.

I agree with Jeff, that the style of the hilt is basically similar to those found in Stirling work, however these Scottish hilts have significant variation so it is typically difficult to assign precisely to region. I think the most significant feature that I notice here is the guard arm being attached by screw to the pommel. In the resources and notes I reviewed, I cannot locate any examples of purely Scottish basket hilts using screws for pommel attachment.
This suggests English influence, recalling this method of attachment used most commonly on their so called 'mortuary' hilts as well as many 17th c. sword forms.
In "British Basket Hilted Swords" (Dr.Cyril Mazansky, 2005, p.29), the author notes "...certain Scottish hilts incorporate features of English design", however does not specifically address the pommel screw attachment.

I also agree with Jeff on the blade, clearly of Solingen trade, and of form favored by Scots. The blade itself appears of probably third quarter 17th c. form, and the 'Andrea Ferara' along with the 'running wolf' support same.
It is interesting to note that the running wolf (of Passau) became quite popularly used throughout the blade trade, and also was commonly used in England by the German smiths at Hounslow during the mid 17th c.

The pommel on this sword is closest to Scottish forms of double cone shape.

I would suggest this beautiful basket hilt was probably furbished in the early years of the 18th c., just as Jeff noted, and possibly earlier, and most likely in Scotland and again noting the distinct English influence.

Thanks very much guys!!!
All the best,
Jim

P.S. Thank you too Rhys Michael, just noticed your post. I too wish Eljay would come in on this. Him and I collected together back in the 70's and his expertise on British swords of these periods is phenomenal!! He would indeed have the final word
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Old 20th November 2006, 01:00 AM   #9
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Last time I corresponded with ElJay he was in Thailand and I believe he still is. I was lucky enough to handle some of the baskethilts he made and the are indeed superb. If I were having a contemporary baskethilt made or restoration done to an older one I am sure he would be at the top of my list of people to do it.
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Old 20th November 2006, 01:36 AM   #10
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Hi RhysMichael,

Since you mentioned Eljay, here is a English baskethilt that he bought and restored in the 70's (I wonder if Jim was bidding against him ). Unfortunately the photo is poor, it is from the dealer I bought it from in the 90's. The sword is in deep storage so I cannot get a better one. I post it here to illustrate the screw in the pommel that Jim mentioned earlier. This is seen in the English mortuary and baskethilts. I also posted it to reaffirm your confidence in Eljay's excellent restoration skills.

Thanks also to Jim for the info.

Jeff.
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Old 20th November 2006, 01:40 AM   #11
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Hi Rhys Michael,
He is indeed still in Thailand. As I mentioned, when him and I were busy collecting and studying British cavalry patterns, he was always busy working on the swords. His passion for repairing and deeply studying the swords themselves led to his amazing talents in restoration .What is key with him is his outstanding integrity in his work on these weapons.
Best regards,
Jim
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Old 20th November 2006, 03:25 AM   #12
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Thank you for your comments Gentlemen, I will pass them and any others that you may have to the Gentleman. He has a small Musuem of Anglo Zulu and Anglo Boer war artifacts, but his Scot's heritige causes him to have this sword.
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Old 20th November 2006, 06:21 AM   #13
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I still have doubts of the Jacobean designation here. Look how clean the forte section of this blade is. The only corrosion is at the blade tip. To me there seems quite a contrast with the hilt. Compere with the blade and hilt match with this one.
http://www.trocadero.com/faganarms/...item424534.html

Last edited by Tim Simmons : 20th November 2006 at 09:30 AM. Reason: adding info
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Old 20th November 2006, 06:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
Look how clean the forte section of this blade is. The only corrosion is at the blade tip. To me there seems quite a contrast with the hilt.

This may be silly, but it could be that the blade area susceptible to have markings was cleaned, in later times, to provide for a clearer examination of all the symbols ?!
The riveting of the tang looks coherent with the pommel, in age.
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Old 20th November 2006, 06:47 PM   #15
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That is ture the riviting does look old. I cannot put my finger on it but the whole forte section and the fullers just do not look 18th century to me. You have to admit that the basket has unmatched corrosion. Scots things and a Jacobite artistic revival was very popular at the end of the 19th century in the UK because of Queen Victorias love of Scotland. I may well be wrong but that basket is at odds with the blade to me.

Last edited by Tim Simmons : 20th November 2006 at 07:16 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 20th November 2006, 10:39 PM   #16
Jim McDougall
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Hi Tim,
It is good to be cautious in assessments of weapons from photographs, but such caution should extend as well to sales catalogs. I have closely examined a number of Scottish baskethilts with identical fullering and markings which are clearly from the second half of 17th century. The deteroration of the hilt is also consistant with these hilts of that period, and the sword here appears homogenous. It would seem rather odd to remount this blade on an aged and worn hilt, despite the heritage, especially as well made interpretations of Scottish basket hilts were being made during the Victorian period honoring that heritage.

Fernando has a good suggestion concerning the cleaning of the blade, and very well placed. It seems that the blade tip often is subject to more rapid corrosion as it is one of the thinnest areas of the blade.

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 21st November 2006, 01:21 AM   #17
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I would offer a few possibities as to the difference in patina between hilt and blade. Perhaps there was a surviving scabbard for a good part of the blades life that protected much of the blade. The hilt would have remained unprotected while the blade better protected. A broken tip of the scabbard could have allowed more exposure to the blade tip than the balance of the blade. Also, another factor, is maintenance probably would have been more often for the blade than the hilt. I doubt the hilt was ever oiled or wiped down while I am sure the blade was. Another factor is that the blade and hilt are of different steel. I am sure a well forged Soligen blade of good steel would corrode at a different rate than the iron/steel that the hilt was made of which is probably a bit more crude than the blade. All of these factors would play into the hilt being more corroded than the blade over a period of a few hundred years.
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Old 21st November 2006, 01:33 AM   #18
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Excellent observations Rick!!! I agree 100%
Hadn't thought of the scabbard possibility. The hilts on these were typically painted black (japanned) to protect the iron from rusting in the damp climate, and as this deteriorated and flaked off, they were open to rust.In examining many of these, you can still see traces of the black paint amidst the rust.

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 21st November 2006, 06:19 AM   #19
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Oh okay then !!!! Good point about maybe having a scabbard for a long time. When as we often do see phooey stuff it is always like this so one gets a little careful. Once bitten------
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Old 22nd November 2006, 02:19 AM   #20
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Well said Tim!
Once bitten? I got about three decades of scar tissue from pretty sour deals I learned from!! so being careful is absolutely OK.
All the best,
Jim
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Old 22nd November 2006, 12:39 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Well said Tim!
Once bitten? I got about three decades of scar tissue from pretty sour deals I learned from!! so being careful is absolutely OK.
All the best,
Jim


We are enrolled in an university where tuition is paid with our sour deals and poor purchase decisions.
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Old 22nd November 2006, 01:52 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSWORD
We are enrolled in an university where tuition is paid with our sour deals and poor purchase decisions.


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Old 22nd November 2006, 09:30 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSWORD
We are enrolled in an university where tuition is paid with our sour deals and poor purchase decisions.


I've got the T-shirt on that for sure. My grandson has most of my mistakes on his wall. At 10 years old they are still treasures to him
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Old 25th January 2007, 03:23 AM   #24
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After this post comments stopped I printed all out and mailed them to the sword owner. He was very excited about what he read. He thanks everyone for the responses. He doesn't do computers and says he trys to keep his distance from them; to mysterious. He wants to correspond with Jim McDougall, so I will send a PM.

Thanks again.
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Old 26th January 2007, 01:56 AM   #25
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Hi Double D,
I have sent you a PM.
Jim
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Old 27th January 2007, 12:47 PM   #26
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Thanks Jim, your message is on the way to Ladysmith.
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