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Old 3rd December 2012, 09:50 PM   #1
dana_w
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Default Miquelet Pistol, decoration and maker questions

This Miquelet Pistol is one of a pair. It has a patilla style lock, a gold touch hole, a two stage pinned barrel, a steel ramrod and a side plate with an attached belt hook. The stock is Catalan style. The furniture was once blued with gold leaf in the relief. Very little of the gold leaf remains. The floral decorations on top of the barrel look like they are silver. There is a makers mark on top of the barrel and on the front of the battery. Both marks have a little gold leaf remaining. I haven't been able to locate the marks in the books that I have.

Overall Length: 11 2/8 inches
Barrel Length: 5 15/16 inches
Barrel Diameter at Muzzle: .640 inches
Weight: 1 lb, 8 5/8 ox

The only other thing I know about these pistols is that they were purchased at one of the first MACA Baltimore gun shows.

Can anyone tell me something about the barrel decorations or the maker marks? Any other comments or corrections would be appreciated too.

FYI: images Copyright © 2010-2012 Dana Williams, All Rights Reserved
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Last edited by dana_w : 3rd December 2012 at 09:56 PM. Reason: Spelling Error
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dana_w
This Miquelet Pistol is one of a pair.

Do you still have the pair, Dana ?
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Old 4th December 2012, 01:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Do you still have the pair, Dana ?


Yes, I have the pair. It was just easier to put up detailed photos of one pistol.
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:17 PM   #4
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At first reaction i realized these could be Portuguese; the tradional so called "egg butt" pistols. This eventuality brought me a significant enthusiasm . But after consulting someone experienced in this area, who dealt with several egg butt pistols from both XVIII-XIX century, with the three different types of lock, i was told these could be indeed Spanish versions.
If you have James Lavin "A history of SPANISH FIREMARS", you may be interested in observing gunmaker's mark #96 (page 277) named Seria. Maybe this is your guy.
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Old 4th December 2012, 03:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
If you have James Lavin "A history of SPANISH FIREMARS", you may be interested in observing gunmaker's mark #96 (page 277) named Seria. Maybe this is your guy.


I guess that could be a "Y", It looks like a "T" to me and the style seems 17th century. These marks can really be critic. Looks like the barrel mark says CERRA. Have you seen a place name in one of these marks?

Here is the mark from the other pistol in the set.
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Last edited by dana_w : 4th December 2012 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Added Photo
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Old 4th December 2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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You are quite right in that these things are often a dilemma to solve.
Weapons smiths weren't necessarily fine writers; the are lots of their names wrongly spelled.
The barrel maker is often a person other than the lock maker; the similarity in both marks lettering would just be a coincidence.
Cerra doen'st sound spanish (Castillian); Cierra would sound better ... but Sierra would sound best.
Serrat is a Catalunian name and matches with the lock mark letters; who knows?
XVII century ? I would be deeply surprised .
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Old 4th December 2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
XVII century ? I would be deeply surprised .


You didn't say what you think.
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Old 4th December 2012, 06:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dana_w
You didn't say what you think.

I am no expert ... mid-end XVIII ... hardly beg. XIX. Remember the miquelet lock lasted til very late. But if i had no third party opinion, i would date it as XVIII ... even if late.
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Old 4th December 2012, 06:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
I am no expert ... mid-end XVIII ... hardly beg. XIX. Remember the miquelet lock lasted til very late. But if i had no third party opinion, i would date it as XVIII ... even if late.


I would love to hear what everyone thinks about that. Looks earlier to me. You are right about the Miquelet. They were in use a long, long, time, and for good reason.
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Old 4th December 2012, 06:40 PM   #10
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I will in the meantime try and ask the opinion of this person i asked about the pistols origin.

Just phoned him ... transition XVIII-XIX
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Old 4th December 2012, 06:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
I will in the meantime try and ask the opinion of this person i asked about the pistols origin.


That is great. I am here to hear what other knowledgeable people think. Even if I don't always agree!
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Old 5th December 2012, 05:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dana_w
That is great. I am here to hear what other knowledgeable people think. Even if I don't always agree!

Probably you didn't notice my later paragraph in my post #10.
The opinion of Eduardo Nobre, author of As Armas e os Barões, a book where he dedicates a chapter to Egg Butt pistols, with an introduction to this species plus some twenty multi angle ilustrated examples, is that yours is from the transition period XVIII - XIX centuries.
Obviously you are not compelled to accept such opinion .
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Old 5th December 2012, 05:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Probably you didn't notice my later paragraph in my post #10.
The opinion of Eduardo Nobre, author of As Armas e os Barões, a book where he dedicates a chapter to Egg Butt pistols, with an introduction to this species plus some twenty multi angle ilustrated examples, is that yours is from the transition period XVIII - XIX centuries.
Obviously you are not compelled to accept such opinion .


Please thank him for me! I wish we could find the maker. That would clear things up. If it really is Seria (#96 Levin) that would be ~ c1739.

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Old 5th December 2012, 06:37 PM   #14
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What a beautiful thing...
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Old 13th December 2012, 02:08 AM   #15
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Default Egg Butt pistols

I haven't had much luck searching for the term "Egg Butt" pistols. Unfortunately I can't read "As Armas e os Barões" as I only speak English .
Can someone point me at another search term or a link?

Also is there a proper term for the large decorative side plates on the handles of these pistols?
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Old 13th December 2012, 11:50 AM   #16
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Hello:

Although Portuguese is not my language, the phrase "butt Egg" refers butt plate, which is egg-shaped, and can be seen in the second image.

Affectionately. Fernando K
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Old 13th December 2012, 12:06 PM   #17
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No luck searching for Egg Butt Pistols or Ovo pistola bunda. Google results Zero.
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Old 13th December 2012, 12:26 PM   #18
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Hello:

Working with Google's translator, "ovo gun bunda" translates into Spanish as "gun butt Egg" and the English "egg pistol butt" ....... (?)

Affectionately. Fernando K
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Old 13th December 2012, 12:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando K
Hello:

Working with Google's translator, "ovo gun bunda" translates into Spanish as "gun butt Egg" and the English "egg pistol butt" ....... (?)

Affectionately. Fernando K


That is the best I can up with. I am using Google's translator too. If "egg butt pistol" was an English term in common use, something would turn up. Maybe Fernando has a better Portuguese term that I can search for.
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Old 13th December 2012, 01:10 PM   #20
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Watch out for automatic translations. The term you got for 'butt' was the brazilian vulgar term for women's butt (bunda).
The actual portuguese name for these pistols is 'pistola de coronha de ovo'; it would be 'cureña de huevo' in Spanish. But i guess that, even this butt shape originates in Spain, the term coronha de ovo is genuine portuguese, with no pracrical translation.
Therefore the only chance to find the term in the internet is in portuguese. I have found a couple pistols in auction sites but the image was gone, as the items were sold.
I will be back with further info.
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Old 13th December 2012, 04:45 PM   #21
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Here you have them of all kinds; ignition systems of all types ... patilla variations, 'half French-half Portuguese', 'Goats foot', English type, percussion and converted to percussion. Iron and brass butt plates ... and even one with rotary barrels.
One thing in common is the egg shaped butt ... that can be pointing to either direction.
One of the details that distinguishes Portuguese pistols from Spanish is that, the butt plate in the Spanish models is limited to the butt shape whereas in the Portuguese pistols there is a rim 'folding' to the stock

Sorry for the poor pictures. The book is a bit to heavy and large for me (one handed) to handle on the scanner.

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Old 13th December 2012, 05:40 PM   #22
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Some of those butt plates really do look egg shaped. Thanks for sending me the Portuguese and Spanish names. I have had a lot better luck searching with those.
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Old 13th December 2012, 07:19 PM   #23
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What do you make of these pistols from Dr. Lavin's book on page 222? He discuses the stocks on page 192.

..."appears to be directly descended from an earlier Brescian shoulder stock. The use of an almost identical pistol stock in Spain would seem to support this. However, no Spanish example of this stock appears until late in the seventeenth century in Ripoll or in the eighteenth century in Castilla (Plate 87). Extremely popular, it lasted until well into the nineteenth century, when the downward curve became more pronounced (Plate 88).
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Old 14th December 2012, 03:35 PM   #24
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We also had our share of this stock style in Portugal.
The attached pair, dated 2nd half XVIII century, fully mounted and decorated in chizeled silver, belonged to General Povoas (1773-1852). Having later belonged in the collection of Dom Fernando II, is now in the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa ( House of Bragança).

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Old 14th December 2012, 05:11 PM   #25
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That really looks like a Ripoll style lock. Do you think / know that they were made in Portugal?
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Old 14th December 2012, 05:14 PM   #26
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Hello, Fernando

I wonder what that piece is decorated, retained by a screw, located in front of the bowl (pan) and its flange (bridge)

Affectionately. Fernando K
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Old 14th December 2012, 06:00 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando K
Hello, Fernando

I wonder what that piece is decorated, retained by a screw, located in front of the bowl (pan) and its flange (bridge)

Affectionately. Fernando K


There is also one in front of the hammer base. They are finely filed. They are described as mirrors (espelhos=espejos). I ignore their pourpose ... decoration, protection, dust guards.
I can see similar ones in a pistol made in Oporto dated 1780 and also in one made in (Ex-Portuguese Indian territory) Goa in 1776. I will try and find out what they are for.
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Old 14th December 2012, 06:03 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dana_w
That really looks like a Ripoll style lock. Do you think / know that they were made in Portugal?

Yes,
The pistols described in post #27 are Portuguese and have the same type of stock. The one made in Oporto also has an egg shape butt, pointing upwards (quoting).
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Old 14th December 2012, 06:58 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Yes, The pistols described in post #27


I was under the impression that fan-shaped bridles were exclusive to Ripoll, or a maker from Ripoll. Here is an example made by Armanguer and dated 1675 on the inside of the lock.


"Cock and battery bridles seldom lacked decoration, even when the lock was otherwise plain. In Espinar’s day, except in the case of luxury arms, this rarely consisted of more than could be done by the gunsmith with file and chisel. In the beginning, it was restricted to spirals carried over directly from the Spanish wheel-lock. This ornament disappeared shortly after the middle of the seventeenth century.
Frequently, both bridles took the same form; that of the cock had a straight forward edge, while the rear had a pronounced S curve. The lower extreme was notched to form an inverted V. In the battery bridle, the design was merely reversed and placed horizontally. Fluted, fan-shaped bridles appear to have been restricted entirely to Ripoll, excepting the products of transplanted gunsmiths."

A History of Spanish Firearms, page 169

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Old 15th December 2012, 01:19 PM   #30
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The fact that:

(Quote) Fluted, fan-shaped bridles appear to have been restricted entirely to Ripoll, excepting the products of transplanted gunsmiths.(Unquote)

Doesn't prevent from a fashion being spread all over ... specially facing a Country situated just across the border, which has also been occupied by Spain during 1580-1640. For such reason very often there is a preference to name a period weapon as Iberian, instead of Spanish or Portuguese.

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