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Old 25th February 2014, 12:44 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default An Early and Important Munich Military Matchlock Musket by Peter Peck, ca. 1575-80

I am proud to say that a fine specimen of an extremely rare type of heavy (9 kg!) and early matchlock musket of ca. 1570-80 is in my collection, the barrel struck with the Gothic minuscule p workshop mark of the famous Munich gunsmith Peter Peteck who worked for the Electors of Saxony and the Emperor Charles V, and whose guns are preserved in world famous collections like the Met N.Y. and the Real Armería Madrid!
This, in fact, is the only known plain military gun to bear his workshop mark.

It, like all early and original matchlocks between ca. 1560 and 1590, is a huge and enormous piece, showing the standard period overall length of 156 cm, the use of walnut for the stock also indicating its early period (after ca. 1590, the stocks of German military muskets were made of beechwood). Apart from numerous repaired age cracks and some worm holes, the stock with its flared buttstock of early Netherlandish form shows only one minor replacement: the tip of the flared but which, in those early days, was not yet protected by the later iron butt plate. Jacob de Gheyn, in 1608, was the first to depict that butt plate together with the fully developed trigger and guard in the plates to his famous Wapenhandelinghe Van Roers, Mvsqvetten Ende Spiessen.

The barrel, of octagonal section throughout, with its impressive breech conveying the real 'ordnance' feeling, bears the characteristic tubular rear sight carved as a bearded man's face retaining much of its original blued surface, and a blade foresight. Above the breech, there is the Gothic minuscule p mark of the famous gunmaker Peter Peck of Munich, who worked for the Emperor Charles V and the Electors of Saxony, and whose guns are now preserved in world famous museums such as the Real Armería Madrid or the Met N.Y.
The lock is of early form, long, slender and rectangular, slightly broadening towards the muzzle and divided into sections by three roped bands, and the serpentine still revokes the earliest Italian style by its elaborately punched sea monster's face at the top jaws, and with another face repeated down at the tail! The high fire shield, typical of all 1570's-80's muskets, and carved, downcurved grip of the pan cover further add to the early impression of that huge musket. The trigger, of course, still is the long rectangular tiller with a mushroom shaped pommel, also retaining much of its original dark finish, just like the high fire shield, and screwed to the stock behind it is an iron hook for suspension of the musket in an armory.
The whole is preserved in virtually 'untouched', heavily patinated condition throughout.
Branded into the left side of the buttstock is the letter K, certainly an arsenal mark of the town this musket once belonged to; this is all the more remarkable as almost all German city names now starting with a K were spelled with a C in the 16th/17th century, for example Köln (Cölln, Cologne).
Measurements: overall length 156 cm, barrel 124 cm, bore 18 mm, weight 9 kgs.

Attached at bottom are a similar musket of ca. 1580 with a suspension hook in the museum of Cologne, the walnut stock crudely leached and the serpentine and tiller trigger both wrong-style replacements, and an old photograph of about 1900 depicting the former display of matchlock muskets in the Emden armory, suspended on their stock hooks, with their muzzles down.


Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 26th February 2014 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 25th February 2014, 05:04 PM   #2
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Congratualtions - a really nice piece - enjoy it
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Old 25th February 2014, 05:04 PM   #3
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A view of the rear sight cut with a bearded face and the igniting pan, with the cover swung open, and the chronological array of muskets ca. 1560 to 1700 in my collection.
The Peter Peck gun is the third from left.

m
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Last edited by Matchlock : 26th February 2014 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 25th February 2014, 05:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andi
Congratualtions - a really nice piece - enjoy it



Thank you so much, Andi,


Yes, I spent the same accuracy and painstaking examination before buying this one as in all my acquisitions ...


Best,
Michael
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Old 25th February 2014, 05:36 PM   #5
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Michael. Thank You for sharing this. It is very nice that You continue to work on the publication of your photos. It fills me with optimism
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Old 25th February 2014, 06:14 PM   #6
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Thank you so much, Alexender, my dear friend,


For your heartfelt words!

Though in bad physical shape I must try to carry on somehow for as long as it goes.


Thanks again,
and with all my very best wishes,
Michael
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Old 25th February 2014, 06:51 PM   #7
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Default Some of Peter Peck's other works

1. A double-barreled wheellock pistol, ca. 1540-45, made for the Emperor Charles V, Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.

2. Another double-barreled wheellock pistol, ca. 1535-40, also made for the Emperor Charles V, in the Real Armería Madrid, and a close-up of the barrel marks and the inside of the lock mechanism. Madrid.
Before ca. 1570, Peter Peck, who reached a great age, usually struck his mark twice.

3. A wheellock pistol, ca. 1540-45, also made for Charles V, Madrid.

4. A pair of early wheellock pistols, for Charles V, ca. 1535, Peck's mark struck only once. Madrid.

5. An extremely fine and important wheellock breechloading arquebus, ca. 1540-45, Historisches Museum Dresden.
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Last edited by Matchlock : 25th February 2014 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 25th February 2014, 07:06 PM   #8
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A few more images of that stunning arquebus.
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Old 25th February 2014, 07:14 PM   #9
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The latest san giorgio sale of 23 of februari 2014 had a very nice double barreled wheel lock pistol with double lock as well. I only got this picture because the picture proggram they use doesn't work (or almost never) on my pc
Maybe someone else can post them while the catalogue is still online.

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Old 25th February 2014, 07:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
... Though in bad physical shape I must try to carry on somehow for as long as it goes...

That's my man
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Old 25th February 2014, 07:59 PM   #11
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It's called German quality Fernando
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Old 25th February 2014, 08:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus den toom
It's called German quality Fernando

Of the best Bavarian grade
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Old 25th February 2014, 08:13 PM   #13
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Well, thanks a whole lot, folks!


But the best die young, so I've been told.

What about me at 61 then?

Guess I must have fallen way behind the best somwhere along the trail ...


Have a good night, my friends!
Michl/Michael
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Old 25th February 2014, 08:20 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=Marcus den toom]The latest san giorgio sale of 23 of februari 2014 had a very nice double barreled wheel lock pistol with double lock as well. I only got this picture because the picture proggram they use doesn't work (or almost never) on my pc
Maybe someone else can post them while the catalogue is still online.


I accumulated tons of material of that pistol and will post it within the next days!

Best,
Michael
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Old 26th February 2014, 09:35 AM   #15
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As to Peter Peck's works:

On Nov 17, 2008 Bonhams San Francisco sold a highly unusual wheellock arquebus or long pistol, the muzzle section of which could be unscrewed and stowed in a 'patch' box of the grip. Thus, a long holster pistol could be transformed into an arquebus!
Its overall shape, the lock and the style of stock decoration with the long, triangular bone ond hop twines inlay denoted that is was made ca. 1565, and the double struck Gothic minuscule p mark on the barrel at once told me something that Bonhams did not know: the maker was Peter Peck of Munich!

Its estimate was as low as 12,000 USD and just not let it go too cheap I kept involved in the bidding process until 17,000 USD, which I guess still was a bargain. I knew what collection it would go to.

Enclosed are a few impressions of that singular gun.


m
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Old 26th February 2014, 06:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
...I am proud to say that a fine specimen of an extremely rare type of heavy (9 kg!) and early matchlock musket of ca. 1570-80 is in my collection ...

Proud for what ? For being the owner of such virtualy untouched 'one and only' refined musket, made by an elite gun maker, with such an ordnance feeling and a weight and length that only a guy with a stature like yours can handle ?
I tell you something; even if you wished to offer it to me i would have to decline, such would be the cost of sending it over by armoured transport and security guards
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Old 26th February 2014, 06:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
As to Peter Peck's works:

On Nov 17, 2008 Bonhams San Francisco sold a highly unusual wheellock arquebus or long pistol, the muzzle section of which could be unscrewed and stowed in a 'patch' box of the grip. Thus, a long holster pistol could be transformed into an arquebus!
I knew what collection it would go to. ...

Most impressive and singular piece ... no doubt .
... and did it go to the person you thought it would ?
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Old 27th February 2014, 08:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Proud for what ? For being the owner of such virtualy untouched 'one and only' refined musket, made by an elite gun maker, with such an ordnance feeling and a weight and length that only a guy with a stature like yours can handle ?
I tell you something; even if you wished to offer it to me i would have to decline, such would be the cost of sending it over by armoured transport and security guards



Oh Nando,


Your witty and well thought out words startled me with the impulse to cope with a new day! Thank you so much for that, my dear friend!


'With a stature like yours' - what used to be my stature has meanwhile crumbled to a humble shadow of my former self.

Now I too pity the poor guy who once had to tote and aim this monster.


Best,
Michl
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Old 27th February 2014, 08:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Most impressive and singular piece ... no doubt .
... and did it go to the person you thought it would ?




Yes, Nando,


It did.

He lives in the U.S. and collects early pistols.

Right before the sale took place, there were probably only three people who knew exactly what maker the initials PP stood for: Robert Brooker, the author and wheellock collector who at that time stayed at my home and attended my collection, the prospective buyer and me.
Of course it was Robert who told me about the guy that was going to win that item.


Best,
Michl
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Old 27th February 2014, 09:02 AM   #20
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If this is the same piece as the one i was allowed to handle during my visit i begin to imagine that your ancestor has to be a Germanic warlord who defied the Roman empire... that thing was heavy

Do you think it has seen battlefield action?
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Old 27th February 2014, 09:34 AM   #21
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Hi Marcus,


Yes, I guess that was one of a few pieces you handled when attending my collection.

I don't think these early 'monster muskets' really saw service as the late 1500's and early 1600's were a long period of peace - up to 1618 when the Thirty Years War started.

It is unbelievably rare, however, to find such an enormous piece in good condition and retaining its original stock and barrel length as many of them were crudely restocked and cut down from 156 cm to about 140 cm at the end of the Thirty Years War, in the late 1640's when oviously literally anything that would fire was reused.


m
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Old 27th February 2014, 11:40 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
... 'With a stature like yours' - what used to be my stature has meanwhile crumbled to a humble shadow of my former self. ...

No excuses accepted; you can always use one of the countless resting forks thast i can see next to the beast .
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Old 27th February 2014, 02:09 PM   #23
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That's right,


Once again Master Fernando won a duel against someone who may way too often think of himself as a great warrior ...

By handling those early monsters you also understand why musket rests were indispensable for the musketeer. On the other hand, I have avoided putting a rest next to a musket that obviously did no longer require its support, which is from ca. the 1630's; the Thirty Years Wars had virtually put pat all of Europe from 1618 till 1648.

Actually my latest/'youngest' musket that required the support of a rest is dated 1636 on a bone plaque inserted in the stock oposite of the lock, together with the city arms of Regensburg, Bavaria. It is a very remarkable piece as it weighs 9 kgs, at a length of 156 cm and a bore of 19 mm, and the barrel mark IB over a star was attributed by Johan F. Stockel to a Suhl barrelsmith active in ca. 1610. The assigned date is absolutely correct in my eyes, considering the enormous thickness of the barrel walls and the heavily swamped muzzle section which almost revoke the swamping of Late Gothic barrels of ca. 1470-80.
Thus, the present stock is not the first made for that barrel, which must have been quite a normal thing in times of war. In those days, they did not painstakingly repair a split or cracked stock as we would in restoration; they just restocked the piece, and maybe the next day it came back to the armory cracked once more. Nevertheless, there are two guns in my collection showing old traces of stock repair done by delicate nails.
The lock is of typical Regensburg make and was certainly manufactured by a locksmith working for the armory of the Imperial City (German: Freie Reichsstadt) of Regensburg. It, just like a heavy matchlock wallgun, ca. 1645, in my collection re-using a Gotic barrel of ca. 1490, shows some characteristics that make them easily recognizable. It is displayed on the right to the musket in discussion in my chronological array attached at top. In those years, at the high time of the Thirty Years War when most mass products like the Suhl muskets (which were sold to nearly all the states in Central and Northern Europe) would do with less than half of that thickness of the lock plate, Regensburg could afford to employ double that material. The unique shape of both the serpentine and trigger guard (the latter being just nailed into the stock at the rear!) as well are identical on both guns, at the same time proving what I have stated before: during the 'Great' War, as it was called by its contemporaries, big centers of mass production like Suhl, Thuringia, generally only furnished barrels and (mostly) lock mechanisms; the stocks were made in the respective local armory and differed slightly in style. The historic armory inventories of many towns and cities still record the sums paid for both such furnishings and the jobs of the local or armory stockmakers. Smaller centers like the Zella, a neighboring town of Suhl, mostly furnished complete muskets.

Anyway, that huge beast of mine once must have greatly contrasted to the average shorter and lighter muskets of the other musketeers around, using guns of a total length of only 1,41 m and a weight of only 4-5 kgs.

I fired my monster in 1985 and I still recall the slow and rather soft recoil it remitted to my shoulder, thanks to its great weight.

I will post more on it here soon.


Best,
Michl
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Last edited by Matchlock : 27th February 2014 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 27th February 2014, 04:57 PM   #24
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A bit like the story of David and Goliath.. "modernized" to fit a monstress matchlock gun and probably a Italian stileto.

I would love to see a movie of this monster firing or even better, feel the recoil myself. I have shot a few percussion firearms at a reenactment in France, but it would be dwarfed by such an experience.
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Old 17th March 2014, 07:10 PM   #25
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Some more close-ups of my heavy Peter Peck matchlock musket from the first posts.
Enjoy the views from different angles.

m
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