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Old 11th December 2011, 04:52 PM   #1
fernando
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Default Left hand dagger for comments

Hi guys,
If you promise not to tell my wife, i will let you see what's coming in next week. This is beyond the 'allowance' discussed for my Christmas self gifts .
A Peninsular 'main gauche' from the first half XVII century, part of the personal collection of Eduardo Nobre, featured in his work AS ARMAS e OS BARÕES.
Unusual handguard not connected to pommel, terminating with an extension matching with the quillons.
Double edged, four faceted blade.
Note the concavity on the forte for the thumb fixation.
Total length 53 cms.

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Old 11th December 2011, 08:46 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Absolutely outstanding Nando! and you know this goes perfectly with a cuphilt The caged wire wrapped grips are my favorite, have you done research on which periods they are from, seems of course 17th c. This form seems also to have been used in later colonial swords (bilbos 18th c.)...need to check my notes,,,always fun to come back to these.




All the best,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 11th December 2011 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 11th December 2011, 09:08 PM   #3
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Hi Nando,
Nice addition to the collection. The style reminds me of my Spanish Rapier... (pic below to compare).

The grip bars and wire (possibly pommel) look new in the pictures, have they been replaced?

Best
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Old 11th December 2011, 10:01 PM   #4
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Thank you for bringing that in Gene!!! What a beauty!

Nando, another thing I like on this left hand dagger is the styling which was typically en suite with its accompanying rapier. In this subtle example the impressive simplicity of the Spanish cuphilt is seen by the features of rompepuntas and guardopolvo present in this dagger.
It seems that these pillared or caged wire guards were present in the first half of the 17th century, but carried traditionally in the 18th century arming swords often colloquially termed 'bilbo's' from what I can find so far.

To me the guardopolvo was always an interesting feature, termed a 'dust cover' at base of the cup surrounding the blade, these to me always seemed puzzling for the claimed purpose, and as in this dsgger seem more of a structural bolster. They might haved been especially pertinant in the openwork cuphilts as seen from Brescia, but seem more of a traditional component in the others. You have lots of experience and contact with mainstream authorities on these, what are your thoughts?

All the best,
Jim
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Old 12th December 2011, 07:00 PM   #5
fernando
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Thank you Gene


Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
... The style reminds me of my Spanish Rapier...

By style you mean the wired grip with the locking bars? This is one of the typical grips from the period. I also have a cuphilt rapier with one of these.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
... The grip bars and wire (possibly pommel) look new in the pictures, have they been replaced?...

It doesn't look so to me; i will check when it arrives.


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Old 12th December 2011, 08:45 PM   #6
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Thank you Jim, for your input; i know you fancy these cups .
I am not qualified to weave considerations on this sword by myself, but i feel comfortable with the seller/author description, as also judging by the examples i see out there within this range... despite this specific one being more a 'business' example and not one of those fully decorated (filed + perforated) luxury specimens commissioned to adorn nobility attires, like those in Wallace Collection.
I find the concavity for the thumb, to optimize controll and apply strength, a unequivocal sign that this example was made for actual fighting or say, battle.
The XVII century seems to be a consensual attribution to this example.
It appears that these daggers, as also cuphilt swords of this period, could also be of Italian origin but, this specific one, given the details like the 'sail' guard, the caged grip and its (dagger) immediate provenance, will be Spanish or, in an embracing mode, Peninsular.
It is registered that left hand daggers were already in use in the early XVI century ... Spaniards and Portuguese being strongly connected, both civilian and military.
Having said all the above, i will further ask you to take it all with a pinch of salt; i am only a humble amateur .
Attached, two woodcuts from the collection of Rainer Daehnhardt, one dated 1536 and the other 1612.


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Old 12th December 2011, 09:22 PM   #7
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Nicely put Nando, and being a 'business' example is all the more the charm of the weapon as the fancier types are too often simply impressive novelties or 'conversation pieces'. This would likely be Peninsular rather than Italian as the plain cuphilts were more likely to be so than thier usually fancier cousins which were often pierced openwork and indeed Italian. Since these were usually en suite of course, despite the 'businesslike' simplicity, the dagger was to parallel, not outdo its partner.

The Spaniards of course were deeply engrained in thier swordsmanship traditions, and refused to give way to newly developing techniques and schools of fencing, maintaining thier mysterious 'destreza' through the 18th and even into the 19th century. In this, these weapons which were in a sense obsolete elsewhere in the Continent still were fashionable with the beloved cuphilts. This is of course an example of the 17th century style but it is possible of course to be early 18th. As I have mentioned before, the thin Solingen made rapier blades for Spain were still around into the 18th century in the colonies, and I once handled a number which were found on a shipwreck off Panama (I think there were around 40 in an apparant shipment for hilting).

Also, you Sir are far too humble.....you ceased being an 'amateur' many, many years ago!!!

Beautiful and charming dagger Nando!!! These to me are so much more attractive than the overembellished and festooned types!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 12th December 2011, 09:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Thank you Gene



By style you mean the wired grip with the locking bars? This is one of the typical grips from the period. I also have a cuphilt rapier with one of these.


It doesn't look so to me; i will check when it arrives.


.


Hi Nando,

I actually meant the round bar Quillions and knuckle bow with the button ends.
As you say, it would be have been a bit of a truism to comment on the grips being similar.

I like the 'hood and bow' guard. Very interesting.

If you look at the evidence of previous oxidisation on the blade and guard, then compare it to the grip bars and wire, they look very clean.
I've always found that the fact that the grip is by its nature the most handled part of the weapon, it gets grubby.
I would expect the steel grip bars to be as oxidised as the inside of the guard or even slightly more so.
The wire looks to be steel wire, not silver, is that your conclusion?
There looks to be no grime worked into it or any oxidisation present. That would be unique in my experience on a weapon of this age where the rest of the metal shows clear signs of previous oxidisation.

One of the things I look for when appraising this type of 'all steel' weapon is a consistant patina. Where the inside of the guard shows lots of signs of oxidisation I would expect the grip/hilt parts and pommel to show similar patination.
Grip wiring is a trap for dirt, oxidisation, old polish residue and eveything else. They are never clean and shiny unless they are new (in my experience).
Even if they are silver the silver oxidises and traps all kind of crud in the recesses. Look at the grip on my rapier. Filthy!

Sorry mate, hopefully I'm just seeing things that arent there.
Obviously a picture can be decieving, what do you think?
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Last edited by Atlantia : 13th December 2011 at 04:37 PM.
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