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Old 9th May 2014, 04:29 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default A Crudely FAKED Wall Gun, in the Style of ca. 1500!

Fortunately, this crude fake failed to sell in the latest auction of Hermann Historica's, Munich, 5 May 2014, lot 21.

The wrought-iron barrel is the only older part of the whole item; it is from an Indian (Raipur!) matchlock wall gun, 19th century.
Everthing else, including the hook (!), is brand new (!), and made so ridiculously primitively that it will make any expert laugh out loud at first glance!
Just look at those hammer marks on the hook, obviously done in an unbelievably unprofessional way, and carried out with the narrow edge of the hammer, instead of using the blunt side!

Another blunt effrontery is the so-called 'gunsmith's mark', 'struck' on the hook; it represents a Gothic p miniscule, and the catalog description identified it as the mark of the Nuremberg workshop of Pehaim.
FACTS:
- 1. All the Pehaims (Behaims) were bronze founders, none of them was a gunsmith or a blacksmith, ever!
- 2. Actually, this mark is a primitive forgery of the Gothic p miniscule mark of the Nuremberg Pegnitzer workshop. All Pegnitzers also were bronze founders, none of them ever made a wrought-iron barrel!

With only the least sense of responsibility, Hermann Historica's catalog description cannot be called anything else but completely incompetent and sailing close to the wind of crime outrageously!

ANY PROSPECTIVE BUYERS of early pieces BEWARE!!!!
Those plain guns can be forged either partly or completely very easily, and it usually takes a lot more expertise to tell the wrong from the right than it does in the case of this 'gun' in discussion.

I usually and regularly watch all relevant international auctions, minutely and critically searching them for items of my expertise. And I have been a regular subscriber to all relevant printed catalogs from all the big sales firms for almos 40 years. In my library are auction catalogs back as far as the 1890's!!!
You won't believe how many forgeries, both part and complete, there are on the market; I would roughly say, about 60-70 per cent!!!
If only it were allowed to post auctions before they are over, I could warn people on the forum ...


Now have fun reading, and please do comment!


Best,
Michael
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Old 9th May 2014, 06:50 PM   #2
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What is even more:

Even if it were an original item, this object would, of course, have to categorized as a 'stocked piece of ORDNANCE'; those huge monsters cannot be seriously termed as 'long guns'.

m
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Old 9th May 2014, 06:53 PM   #3
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Hi Michael,

Here, I strongly agree.

the proportion of counterfeits in medieval and Renaissance swords is maybe even higher.

it is incredible that this can continue......

it also would be a good step in the right direction if the auction houses would keep a blacklist of providers of forgeries and communicate this list with each other.
to introduce the blacklist;
an auctioneer must keep lists of providers of counterfeits/forgeries and an umbrella organization, should check this list for overlaps and report this overlaps to the involved houses.The overlap providers of counterfeits in different houses should get a drop ban on all houses.

restorations, certainly beautiful and legitimate are allowed but must be mentioned.



best,
jasper
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Old 9th May 2014, 07:04 PM   #4
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Excellent, Jasper,

Thank you!
I absolutely agree!

But let's be realistic:
This will never happen.
Just because there is just one aim that all the dealers and auction houses want to achieve in the end, and that's: SELL and MAKE PROFIT, no matter what or how!

Best,
Michael
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Old 9th May 2014, 07:22 PM   #5
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The auction system is non-transparent and old fashioned.
anno 2014, you want to know from whom you buy something?
a small announcement of the offering party in the description would be a step in the right direction.

best,
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Old 9th May 2014, 07:48 PM   #6
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Yes, but there is one fundamental problem that even all museums face:

the genuineness of all kinds of weapons cannot be seriously proven with scientific methods - just because there are no legally binding criteria whatsoever!
The real age of iron, e.g., cannot be proven scientifically!

For wood, there only exists one single criterion for just one single wood worldwide: the so-called Süddeutsche Eichenchronologie (the dendrochronological age assessment for oak from South Germany), from ca. 3000 B.C. to ca. 1500 A.D. And even this method is only based on the fact that oak was the most usual wood for building houses.
Any other seriously acknowledged scientific method, e.g. the famous C14 method, cannot be any more exact than including an error rate of 500 years!!! So it is fine for dating objects of proconsul africanus that are more than 3 million years old - give or take 500 years; in this case, that tiny difference does not matter.
For medieval weapons though, that are only 500 years old, it means that no exact age can be testified!!!
There is no method to even tell for sure when a piece of wrought iron was last heated - 500 years or 1 day ago?!
These are the latest facts testified by the leading authorities, the RATHGEN-FORSCHUNGSLABOR BERLIN:
http://www.smb.museum/museen-und-ei...labor/home.html
Founded in 1888, the RATHGEN is the world's oldest and most competent laboratory for museum items.


DID YOU KNOW THAT?
DID YOU REALIZE THAT?

Wikipedia on the C14 method:

Carbon-14
Full table
General
Name, symbol radiocarbon,14C
Neutrons 8
Protons 6
Nuclide data
Natural abundance 1 part per trillion
Half-life 5,730 ± 40 years
Isotope mass 14.003241 u
Spin 0+
Decay mode Decay energy
Beta 0.156476[1] MeV

Carbon-14, 14C, or radiocarbon, is a radioactive isotope of carbon with a nucleus containing 6 protons and 8 neutrons. Its presence in organic materials is the basis of the radiocarbon dating method pioneered by Willard Libby and colleagues (1949) to date archaeological, geological and hydrogeological samples. Carbon-14 was discovered on 27 February 1940, by Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley. Its existence had been suggested by Franz Kurie in 1934.[2]

There are three naturally occurring isotopes of carbon on Earth: 99% of the carbon is carbon-12, 1% is carbon-13, and carbon-14 occurs in trace amounts, i.e., making up about 1 part per trillion (0.0000000001%) of the carbon in the atmosphere. The half-life of carbon-14 is 5,730±40 years.[3] Carbon-14 decays into nitrogen-14 through beta decay.[4] The primary natural source of carbon-14 on Earth is cosmic ray action upon nitrogen in the atmosphere, and it is therefore a cosmogenic nuclide. However, open-air nuclear testing between 1955–1980 contributed to this pool.

The different isotopes of carbon do not differ appreciably in their chemical properties. This is used in chemical and biological research, in a technique called carbon labeling: carbon-14 atoms can be used to replace nonradioactive carbon, in order to trace chemical and biochemical reactions involving carbon atoms from any given organic compound.



And what are you planning to do do when a forger re-uses a beam of 600 year-old oak from a condemned house (and there still are thousands of those houses all over Europe! - to make the stock of a haquebut? You cannot prove anything. I definitely know one famous South German dealer named F., who does this regularly! No chance for anybody to prove that this 600 year-old oak never was the stock of a gun, until just two years ago. These are perfect forgeries.
A former member of this forum who you, Jasper, seemed to be very familiar with, until he attacked me in a totally sick manner, is one of his regular customers! His user name on the forum started with Sw..., the title of a movie. That guy preferably collects Gothic and Renaissance edged weapons, and all of them are crude fakes!!! That arrogant and rich person knows nothing and consequently keeps spending unbebievable sums on such things, mostly to that specific dealer. He attended my collection but did not grasp the tiniest thing! As he is completely unteachable, and a psychically sick person, I just shoved him out of my life.


The sad outcome being that legally, no expertise can be anything more than just the personal opinion and assessment of the person affixed!

That's it. No chance. I can tell that for sure by my own experience writing expertises for law suits against that forger - expertises on historical weapons are officially regarded as nothing more than my humble personal private opinion. Not the tiniest trace of any proof whatsoever. No way!


It's kind of frustrating. It makes you helpless, don't you think so?
Now that I told you the bare facts: what is your reply?

The RATHGEN people will readily confirm my statements.
No chance. No way.


Best,
Michael

Last edited by Matchlock : 10th May 2014 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 9th May 2014, 08:21 PM   #7
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We have had this kind of discussion on forgeries before:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t=forger+german

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Old 10th May 2014, 09:42 AM   #8
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Jasper?!

I was hoping you would reply ...

m
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Old 10th May 2014, 01:02 PM   #9
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The auction house(s) live by the creed of "nothing is true, everything is permited" . A sad state of afair since many collectors normally wouldn't recognise forgeries, like Michl already stated... by using old wood and restocking an original hand cannon for instance (multiplying the price by 10 times of the original cannon barrel).
Always keep in mind what the purpose of a business is!!! I studied business economics so i know at a certain level what the point is, Profit and Continuation. If it would become common knowledge that this auction house is mis informing people on purpose (a hard thing to prove in a meaningfull way ) the continuity of this auction would be in jeopardy and so would there profit.
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Old 10th May 2014, 01:41 PM   #10
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Well said, Marcus,

But I am entitled to utter my opinion freely, which I of course do. Other experts, e.g. dealers or people from auction houses, do just the same: they state their thoughts, whatever their intention or expertise may be (!).
It's all part of a democracy.

Best,
Michl

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Old 10th May 2014, 02:05 PM   #11
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Exactly Michl

Hopefully people will understand (and accept) that auctionhouses are not providing their services to benefit the humble collector, but only their own interest
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Old 10th May 2014, 02:08 PM   #12
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No doubt about that!
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Old 11th May 2014, 12:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus den toom
... Hopefully people will understand (and accept) that auctionhouses are not providing their services to benefit the humble collector, but only their own interest

Amen,
They have in their rules that, if the seller gives a false description of a piece and they find out, they will widraw the piece from the auction, ask for a compensation for image losses and all that.
The other day i emailed an auctioner, denouncing a false statement in an item's description and they replied thanking me for the information. Nothing else happened; the piece remained in auction with the original description and the for same value.
... And they knew, after my email, even if not from the beginning, that they selling cat for hare.
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Old 11th May 2014, 04:15 PM   #14
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I have experienced much the same reaction from international sales houses for decades.
So I just gave up commenting on their pieces or those offered by any dealer; I just accept or deny, without providing an explanation. Even when they ask for my opinion, all they will get is a grin. I'm just fed up.

With friends, the forum community, or private collectors seeking advice, I will of course share my knowledge.

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Old 11th May 2014, 04:47 PM   #15
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Hello Michael, all,

what has been stated here it sadly very true. There are both objective and subjective causes for such behavior. Speaking about auction houses, they want to make profit (which company doesn't?) and that says it all. However business ethics is something, what is long dead not only in this industry.
Subjectively, there are 2 dimensions - I want to have a nice piece, I am able to spend that money, so the easiest way is to "rely" on an auction house.
But as Michael said, people do it without knowledge (even without trying to gain the knowledge), because to study means to spend effort and time (a lot of). And then there are people, who buy items, find out later it's fake, so they want to get rid of it without loosing money on that piece... so the wheel keeps turning...

The earlier the pieces we are looking at, the more insight one must have. Not many people are willing to take this learning path...

Regards,
Matus
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Old 12th May 2014, 08:04 AM   #16
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Absolutely, Matus,

Thank you for your great post, I'm all on your side!

Best,
Michael
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Old 28th May 2014, 09:29 PM   #17
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Sorry to muddy the water on this one. Yes , the pan certainly looks Indian and the distressing / stamp on the hook is obviously spurious and recently added. But are we absolutely certain that their isn't a precedent for early Indian matchlocks (with or without hooks ) following directly of European patterns of the late 15 / 16 century ? The use of matchlocks in India is well recorded from C 1480 and by 1550 standards had been introduced regarding the manufacture and proof firing of matchlocks.

The reason for re raising this issue is that I posted the barrel from a faked up European style matchlock with a barrel which probably was Indian but with what I thought was an unusual termination to the breech . That is a large lug on the rear of the breech secured presumably to a stock by a transverse pin , not unlike it appears , the example above. Although I cant think of a precedent for it you could argue it might be a rational transition between the earlier spike or socket and the lug under the breech found on early European matchlocks , which survives in a smaller form on later Indian matchlocks.

My point being that once something is outside of the supposedly established European chronology we simply haven't a clue .
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Old 29th May 2014, 08:08 AM   #18
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Hi Raf,


Fully agreed, basically.
In any expert analysis, we can but rely on facts generally known.
In other words:
The sky's the limit; all bets are off ...

It's just that I used to own two Indian matchlock muskets, a wall gun and two detached matchlock barrels about four decades ago, all of them preserved in fine original condition, and the barrels struck with a long row of an inventory no. from the Rajpur arsenal each.
Moreover, I have seen a number of those items at various auction viewings.

So please trust my being quite familiar with every little detail of those barrels, their peculiar form actually imitating the characteristic Nuremberg style of about 1510-20 - apart from the pan which, unlike the pans of early 16th c. German barrels, usually shows no provision for a pivoted cover on about 90 per cent of average arsenal quality Indian matchlock barrels.
The swiveling pan cover is a feature most often observed with finely made decorated specimens rarely ever emerging on the market. I remember noticing two or three of them in London sales catalogues, over quite a few years. When they are fitted with a swiveling pan cover belonging originally the latter is sometimes made of brass, again copying some German barrels of ca. 1525-30.

What is more, and definitely contrasting with their German paragons: Indian barrels are usually not sighted while German barrels usually feature both a rear sight and foresight, from about the 1470's:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...+barrels+dating

The presence, position and shape of sights are further important dating criteria for barrels. They first appeared around the mid-15th c. starting with a raised rear fire shield behind the touch hole on top of iron barrels, incised with a small central slot for aiming (attachments). At about the same period there was just a very subtle small raised portion of the swamped muzzle that acted as the first preliminary stage of a foresight. On my earliest Nuremberg/Passau barrel of the 1460's, a very rare instance of a hog's back barrel (German: Schweinsrückenlauf), an edge instead on top of an octagonal barrel fulfills the function of both sights over all its length. My next-in-line Passau barrel, bearing the earliest known city mark of Munich according to Erasmus Grasser's design of 1477, together with the date 1481, is the second-oldest known dated handgun barrel in the world:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...t+dated+handgun



In the case of 'your' barrel, the tang, pan and cover (the finial of the latter imitating the German style of the 1630's), as well as the lug(s), all are spurious additions. Somebody obviously intended some gun to appear like an original German 'military' musket of Thirty Years type - at least to the inexperienced eye.

Attachments:
Author's photographs from the year 2000, picturing two different Nuremberg manufactured tinderlock arquebuses of ca. 1525-30, retaining their original brass pan covers; they once were part of the inventory of the former Pilsen arsenal, and are now preseved in the Západočeské muzeum v Plzni, in Pilsen, Czechia.
All of these guns, and there are still more than 200 of them!, probably never left Pilsen since they were delivered from Nuremberg workshops, almost 500 years ago ...
The bottommost image portraits the museum's curator,
Dr. František Fryda, kindly holding the original ramrod of an arquebus for me to take close-ups of the engraved finial made of either staghorn or bone.

Best,
Michael
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Old 29th August 2014, 03:40 PM   #19
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See this absolutely extreme case - no chance whatsoever!!!
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7518
See post no. 23 ff.!


Best,
Michael
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