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Old 8th June 2010, 06:14 PM   #1
Atlantia
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Default 17thC relic Rapier saved?

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Opinions are welcomed of course. As would be info and dating Looks early to me.
Blade seems like it might clean up to a reasonable level.



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Old 8th June 2010, 06:41 PM   #2
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Hi Gene,
Lovely relic; is it yours?
Don't you have Norman's book?
Let's ask Jim if he agrees this has a pommel #60 ... or the likes of it?
A hilt not distant to #84?
Definitely a sword from the first half XVII century?
As if i knew something about these things
Anyway, if you struggle a bit, i can accept it as gift .
Fernando
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Old 8th June 2010, 06:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Hi Gene,
Lovely relic; is it yours?
Don't you have Norman's book?
Let's ask Jim if he agrees this has a pommel #60 ... or the likes of it?
A hilt not distant to #84?
Definitely a sword from the first half XVII century?
As if i knew something about these things
Anyway, if you struggle a bit, i can accept it as gift .
Fernando



Hello Buddy.
Yes its mine, bought it today.
Don't have access to my limited books at the moment
But I don't have 'Normans'
Where to start on the conservation/cleaning?
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Old 8th June 2010, 07:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
... Where to start on the conservation/cleaning?...

No where .
Maybe (maybe) some inocuous conservation stuff; something innocent like olive oil?
Let's see other member's opinion .
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Old 8th June 2010, 09:36 PM   #5
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Thank you Fernando!!!

Nicely done Gene! This appears to be closest to hilt #55, which is a cuphilt rapier with alternating quillons probably Continental, N. European c. 1625-40
("The Rapier & the Smallsword 1460-1820", A.V.B.Norman, N.Y. 1980).
It appears that similar hilts were also produced in Toledo about the same period notably by Tomas Aiala. There is great similarity in hilts in these periods following popular fashion, so often it is hard to categorize with definition.

I would proceed with great care and reservation in conserving this piece, and most important is stabilizing any active rust. The patination is pretty solid and trying to work into it would not only compromise the integrity of the sword, but its value, potential damage notwithstanding.
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Old 8th June 2010, 09:39 PM   #6
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Je concur avec Ferdinand...


... I can accept it as a gift!

: )

Yep, early 17th C. The pommel seems intended to really balance the weapon, thus its the Real McCoy.

Olive Oil works, yet will darken metal.

Yo

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Hi Gene,
Lovely relic; is it yours?
Don't you have Norman's book?
Let's ask Jim if he agrees this has a pommel #60 ... or the likes of it?
A hilt not distant to #84?
Definitely a sword from the first half XVII century?
As if i knew something about these things
Anyway, if you struggle a bit, i can accept it as gift .
Fernando
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Old 9th June 2010, 01:53 AM   #7
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Hi Gene,

This is a German type so-called Pappenheimer Rapier, Thirty Years War, ca. 1630; there are examples known that are dated 1632 on the blade.

A very similiar in perfect condition and retaining its original sheath was sold from the famous Henk L. Visser collection, Bonhams, London, 27 Nov 2007, and now is in the collection of a friend of mine. Please see attachments.

When cleaning the very delicate blade please note that there must be a fine central ridge visible all the way down almost to the tip.
For a start, please use olive oil together with 240 grain sandpaper and work your way down to 600 or 800 grains for the final finish, always with a thick layer of olive oil between the iron and the paper.

Please also note that the pommel and hilt were originally blackened; I would therefore suggest to confine your cleaning action to the blade and just blacken the hilt and pommel by tannin which you should get in any drug store; leave it to dry for two or three days, then put a thick layer of olive oil on both the blackened parts and the cleaned blade and let the whole dry for ca. 6 weeks. You will then get a best possibly recovered and patinated surface, and a conserved one as well; the dried olive oil will stay there and prevent the fingers from getting thru onto the iron surface.

I, and I am sure I am not the only one here, would love to see some pics of the result!

Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 9th June 2010 at 09:11 PM.
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Old 9th June 2010, 02:07 AM   #8
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Some 17th century portraits of the famous Gottfried Heinrich Graf von Pappenheim (Central Franconia, Bavaria) after whom these rapiers that he ordered for his troup are named.

In the first portrait you can see such a rapier at his side.
m
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Old 9th June 2010, 02:31 AM   #9
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pappenheimer! cool!!
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Old 9th June 2010, 06:26 AM   #10
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Default I can think of better uses for olive oil...

....for instance, in the kitchen. Just tonight I made this wonderful little appetizer of sliced Japanese "momotaro" tomatoes sprinkled with chopped fresh basil and some crumbled chevre, and drizzled-over with some Greek olive oil. Oink!

For de-rusting and stabilizing corroded surfaces without compromising the patina, I like to use a brand of penetrating oil called "Break-Free" which is popular with firearms enthusiasts since it loosens superficial rust and does a great job of lubricating and preserving without harming finishes such as bluing, parkerizing, or browning (the latter being a form of oxydation which is a cousin to the natural patina on old iron and steel surfaces such as your rapier).

I tend to eschew the use of sandpaper of all kinds when preservation of a dark patina is an issue, in favor of
1. Small brushes with fine brass and stainless-steel bristles, these are about the size of the ones you brush your teeth with.
2. Steel wool in various grades in the medium-to-fine range (2 to 00)
3. Picks and scrapers made of hard non-metallic materials (in Japan, deer antler is the traditional material for the tools used on corroded iron tsubas and sword-tangs. The reason that antler is so favored is that it's hard enough to flake rust away yet won't expose bare metal which is a no-no for tsubas and tangs.
4. Stainless steel dental picks -- use only in the deepest pits or otherwise inaccessible areas such as between blade and guard.
These are listed in "mild to aggressive" order. The first two are the mainstays, with the oil they will take off most of the surface rust one normally encounters and yet when used gently and judiciously, the hard patina underneath will be preserved. The second two work best in "lunar-landscape" areas. Gentle but persistent prodding with the tools does the trick, until the active rust is flaked off the affected area.

When the surface is where you want it to be, you can clean all the accumulated oil and residue off with something like WD-40 and a succession of clean rags until the cloth is more or less unsullied with gunk and rust, and then follow up with a non-greasy preservative like Renaissance Wax. The beauty of the Break-Free is that repeated applications during the time you've been working on the piece will enable the molecules of the oil to really sink in to the pores of the metal (that's why it's such a good lube for things like semi-auto firearms whose working parts are subject to lots of friction). The Renaissance Wax is an effective surface protector that won't get your hands all dirty when you're playing with your toys, and more importantly, won't stain the wallpaper or the backing of your display cabinet if you like to hang them up for all to admire...
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Old 9th June 2010, 09:12 AM   #11
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Why olive oil, specifically if one can please explain? Extra virgin or not?

Forgive me if I read it as something perhaps just trendy, or someone once had great results with simply an oil that happened to be at hand.

Olive oil has been recomended in the past for leather care and I question that,as it gets rancid. I guess this is not an issue if the metal is then going to be cleaned and if oiled regularly, not an issue with it going rancid and getting gummy.

For polishing/sanding work as well, I would question the use of such a heavy viscosity as any olive oil I am familiar with, as lighter oils (or solvents, or water) will float the debris more easily and not plug as heavier oils will.

Enlighten me to the virtues of olive oil. I guess that is as simply I can ask.

Cordially

GC
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Old 9th June 2010, 09:40 AM   #12
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Hello,
I consider sensitive cleaning and preservation as crucial in cold arms collecting, nevertheless I am not experienced too much and I would like to learn as much as possible. Until now I was informed WD 40 could be sometimes too much agresive (continuing to dissolve deep rust even after the finished preservation) in comparision with other oils like e.g. Konkord.

As far as after aclening preservation is concerned, when I discussed with "museum people", they recommend in certain cases tanin (even if the iron is clened up after this tanating), and for finshing special silicon oil or restoration wax... If I may ask - olive oil is traditional preservation surfactant ?
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Old 9th June 2010, 12:16 PM   #13
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Hi Gene, what a lucky lad you are .
A pappenheimer, no less .
And off to the beauty parlour with it .

Fernando
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Old 9th June 2010, 01:35 PM   #14
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Default better uses for olive oil...

Philip's appetizer recipe sounds delicious but, naturally due to my origin's influence, a generous drizzle of olive oil on boiled (dried) cod fish and potatoes, makes it the dish of Gods .
I take it for myself that, cleaning an old rusty sword, blade and hilt, unless done by a professional restorer, is always an adventure.
I hear that olive oil was already used by Romans in their blades. Evidently, despite their mighty possibilities, tey didn't have at hand all this derusting and conservation paraphernalia that we find nowadays.
Searching in the Forum for the term 'olive oil', one can find quite a few threads where this resource is used or adviced.
I have used olive oil in a couple pole arms and swords (after being adviced) and it looks fine. Naturaly i am talking about conservation and patination; the said weapons, although being early items, had no active rust to deal with.
I admit olive oil may have its inconveniences; maybe not so hazardous that we can't leave with. Well, we even eat it .
This not meanning that modern stuffs are not better, by all means. More a question of those who fancy following the line of tradition; old weapons, old systems ... old fashion look .
Fernando

Last edited by fernando : 9th June 2010 at 06:15 PM. Reason: paragraph completion.
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Old 9th June 2010, 06:09 PM   #15
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Good grief!!! You guys and all this culinary stuff make my baloney sandwich look pretty pedestrian!!!

Thank you so much Michael for your always excellent additions of contemporary artwork, which really add dimension to the weapons we are studying.......and 'Pappenheimer' ..nicely done!!! That one really flew by us on the radar!!!!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 9th June 2010, 06:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotspur
Why olive oil, specifically if one can please explain? Extra virgin or not?

Forgive me if I read it as something perhaps just trendy, or someone once had great results with simply an oil that happened to be at hand.

Olive oil has been recomended in the past for leather care and I question that,as it gets rancid. I guess this is not an issue if the metal is then going to be cleaned and if oiled regularly, not an issue with it going rancid and getting gummy.

For polishing/sanding work as well, I would question the use of such a heavy viscosity as any olive oil I am familiar with, as lighter oils (or solvents, or water) will float the debris more easily and not plug as heavier oils will.

Enlighten me to the virtues of olive oil. I guess that is as simply I can ask.

Cordially

GC



Hi Hotspur,

Olive oil is the so-called tree oil (German Baumöl) that is mentioned in 17th century armory books as the optimal means of cleaning, together with Schmirgel (sand), and preserving iron surfaces, be it armor or arms. Olive oil is the yellowish patina on untouched surfaces of antique arms; if you clean it off you will get a perfectly preserved milky white iron surface with no rust.

I have been using it in my almost 40 years of conservation practice and will stick to it as it is the historic recipe and has proved to work just fine. During the cleaning process you will get no scratches on the iron surface, nor an unnatural shine afterwards.

Best,
Michael
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Old 9th June 2010, 08:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi Hotspur,

Olive oil is the so-called tree oil (German Baumöl) that is mentioned in 17th century armory books as the optimal means of cleaning, together with Schmirgel (sand), and preserving iron surfaces, be it armor or arms. Olive oil is the yellowish patina on untouched surfaces of antique arms; if you clean it off you will get a perfectly preserved milky white iron surface with no rust.

I have been using it in my almost 40 years of conservation practice and will stick to it as it is the historic recipe and has proved to work just fine. During the cleaning process you will get no scratches on the iron surface, nor an unnatural shine afterwards.

Best,
Michael


Beautifully said Michael!!!! I forgot that you had once told me about olive oil being used on these early weapons.
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Old 9th June 2010, 09:07 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Beautifully said Michael!!!! I forgot that you had once told me about olive oil being used on these early weapons.



Hi Grandmaster Jim,

You must be kidding, my friend.
Are you going to tell me that your master mind actually forgot something? You know I will do anything for you but I won't believe that ... (after Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf)

Thank you so much,
and with all my very best wishes,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 10th June 2010 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 9th June 2010, 09:29 PM   #19
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Hi All!

Nando,
Well, I've not actually used olive oil before (apart from cooking of course)
I'll have to buy some tomorrow

Jim,
Thanks for the research, it kinda confirms my thoughts. Well, I thought 1620-30, but a few years later is still fine really.

Manolo,
Thanks
To be honest I think the pommel is my favourite bit! Its such a beauty!

Michael,
Thank you for your research. To be honest (and without looking through my books which I don't have access to at the moment) I didn't think it was 'quite' a pappenheimer, so thats a most pleasant suprise!
The 'Bonhams' sword is an absolute beauty! Would that I could happen across one of that quality
I will try olive oil/silicon carbide paper, I can honestly say I'd never have thought of using olive oil to lubricate the paper.
I will certainly show off the results.

Philip,
Some great tips there! Especially the deer antler. I completely approve, they drop off naturally, and are great to work with. I'll have to fabricate a few 'tools' from some offcuts, as I'm actually working a piece to make a hilt at the moment.
I didn't know it was a traditional tool for Japanese Tsuba/metalworkers

Hotspur,
Well, I've not used it before either, but sounds like its worth a try.

Martin,
I'e always used aerosol penetrating oils as they hopefully WILL sink into the pits and stabilise the rust. I've never had a problem with them loosening deep rust like an acid though.

Nando,
That this fine weapon should have ended up like this is just horrible.
I don't think any beauty parlour could do much... but I do have some hopes.
Its a bit like watching England in the world cup, there will probobly be some sweat and tears, fingers crossed, prayers whispered... but in the end, mostly just a sad realisation of what 'might have been'
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Old 10th June 2010, 02:10 AM   #20
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Hi Gene,

Thanks so much for appreciating our fellow contributions!
It really does one so good being both confirmed and enabled to inform you on the treasure you landed!
Of course it's all up to you to make the best out of that rare acquisition.

Having been a regular subscriber to all the relevant auction houses for more than 30 years worldwide, I continuously see thousands of pieces going thru the international market each year. Given the fact that the result price of the piece in discussion I posted didn't bash you off too hard, please let me know whenever you're ready to hit. I would then love giving you a hint on future chances.
I will sent you a private message.

May I give you a fair warning about using silicone though:
It will be final, with no chance whatsoever to get it off - that's what in my mind most people tend to neglect ...

The choice is all up to you anyways, so good luck - and I really look forward to seeing the pics.

Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 10th June 2010 at 02:22 AM.
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Old 10th June 2010, 11:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Hi Grandmaster Jim,

You must be kidding, my friend.
Are you going to tell me that your master mind actually forgot something? You know I will do anything for you but I won't believe that ... (after Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf)

Thank you so much,
and with all my very best wishes,
Michael




Michael, the scope of your awareness is amazing!!! "Bat outa hell"!!!! outstanding stuff Thank you so much!

Gene, as Michael has noted, thank you for taking the time to personally acknowledge the comments made by all of us, a very nice touch and very much appreciated. You are a true gentleman Sir!!!

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 11th June 2010, 12:54 AM   #22
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My dear Honored Gentleman Jim,

Again nobody could have possibly summarized it nearly as well as you did!

We've always felt like strong brother bats ready to get outa hell, and danm' it didn't we?! Thankin' you so much for makin' me blush one more time, my big boss and dear friend out there on Route 66,
and with all my heartfelt greetings from far off Lower Bavaria:
Yours truly,
Michael, Mike, Mikey, Mickey, Mikhail, Miguel, Michel, Michl (Bavarian!)

Last edited by Matchlock : 11th June 2010 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 11th June 2010, 12:33 PM   #23
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So it's MICHL .
Why you never told us ?
Nando
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Old 11th June 2010, 01:05 PM   #24
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Sorry, Fernando, for keeping my Bavarian nickname secret for so long!

Best,
Michl
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Old 11th June 2010, 01:14 PM   #25
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Default Slight correction of dating

After discussing Gene's Pappenheimer with my sword collecting friend I must ask whether the blade is one edged. If that is so, and telling by the hilt, it seems that ca. 1645 (late Thirty Years War) would be a more accurate date.

Best,
Michael
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Old 11th June 2010, 01:29 PM   #26
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Great thread Gentlemen .

Nice one Gene.....I love 'relic' pieces.....

Have you decided to what extent, you are going to clean this ? I would certainly consider (if it was mine) making a wooden handle (in 2 halves) and fixing with a wire wrap. No adhesive....so that the handle is not permanently fixed and could be removed without damage to the tang.

All the best
David

Oh by the way, hows your 'other' aquisition doing.....( the two legged, two armed type .... I mean )
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Old 11th June 2010, 01:33 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
...Oh by the way, hows your 'other' aquisition doing.....( the two legged, two armed type .... I mean )




.
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Old 11th June 2010, 03:38 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando


.


Hi 'Nando ,
I still remember when I was a 'new' father.....my 'acquistions' needed constant cleaning.....surprised they never rusted with all the 'moisture' they produced (and 'stored' in their nappies ) ....and as I recall the only state of 'preservation' required was my own 'sanity' after all the late night ...and very early morning feeding and nappy changes

Regards David
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Old 11th June 2010, 04:00 PM   #29
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David, young lad
Your'e lucky that, in your time, nappies were already disposable, wehereas in mine, they had to be washed .
Best
Fernando
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Old 11th June 2010, 06:44 PM   #30
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Forgot Mikhail..!


Back in the 48s, everytime I went to any of those fast food places where they announce your name through speakers, they kept mangling my name: From lordly and dignified Manuel, to ManuAl, Menhuel, Minguel etc..

So I ended up adopting Michael as a less troublesome alternative.

It got to the point when those who I lunched with ended up calling me Michael (et al) instead of my wonderful name, which BTW, they knew well..!

Could it be that the name Michael is more popular than Manuel..?

Nah ! Silly thought..!

: )

BTW, when _we_ use Olive Oil to preserve muskets, the barrel ends up becoming dark after a while, and it doesn't lighten its shade at all.

There are a couple forumites that are converse withthe methods to dismount and repair hilts, it would be very interesting to do a thread on te subject.

LBNL Did I understand than Nando became a Dad? Or is this figuratively speaking, on account of the new toy?

Best

superM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
My dear Honored Gentleman Jim,

Again nobody could have possibly summarized it nearly as well as you did!

We've always felt like strong brother bats ready to get outa hell, and danm' it didn't we?! Thankin' you so much for makin' me blush one more time, my big boss and dear friend out there on Route 66,
and with all my heartfelt greetings from far off Lower Bavaria:
Yours truly,
Michael, Mike, Mikey, Mickey, Miguel, Michel, Michl (Bavarian!)

Last edited by fernando : 12th June 2010 at 08:40 AM. Reason: avoidable term
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