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Old 12th February 2017, 04:56 PM   #1
Cerjak
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Default A Spanish rapier Early 17TH century

A Spanish rapier Early 17TH century
O.L. 115.8 cm ; blade L. 101 cm.
Blade marks: Francisco Ruiz Toledo
Any comment on it would be welcome.
Best
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Old 13th February 2017, 09:34 AM   #2
fernando
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Very nice rapier, Jean-Luc.
I wonder why there are no blade marks pertaining to the smith Master, of either one or the other of the two brothers with the same name.
Did you check that ?
Also the spelling of the name is worthy of note.
In one example shown at the Ministery of Culture, we can read:
En el primer cuarto de la hoja, Grabado
´DE FRANCISCO´
En el primer cuarto de la hoja, Grabado
´RVIS EN TOLEDO´
Datación 1601=1700


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Old 13th February 2017, 11:24 AM   #3
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A Spanish rapier Early 17TH century ?

No, I think it's a German or Dutch rapier from the last quarter of the 16th century, globular pommels are very simple in form but very rare , pommels of this type occurred in Netherlands on some 16thC paintings.
fe in a paining The Company of Captain Rosecrans by Cornelis Ketel, 1588
best,
Jasper
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Old 13th February 2017, 03:05 PM   #4
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Thank you Jasper,
I particularly appreciate your knowledge of the masters of painting in the sixteenth century. Their faithful representation in art of sword fashion is certainly the most reliable dating method.
Again a sword who could be from your country...
best

Jean-Luc
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Old 13th February 2017, 03:16 PM   #5
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That's what we call expertise. .
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Old 13th February 2017, 04:46 PM   #6
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Totally with Fernando re: Jasper........expertise is the word!!!
I am intrigued by the unusual motif in this rapier hilt, and tried to find something comparable but my resources seem disturbingly limited and nothing close.

I am curious on the inscription in the blade, and it seems the Francisco Ruiz name was not only well established, but so much so that like Tomas Ayala, it was often used spuriously on German blades. Perhaps that has also lent to the use of this renowned name on a number of more modern productions.

What seems notable is the uneven character of the letters in the inscription and the curious use of the letter Z in Francisco, which seems atypical.
As Fernando notes, it would seem that in an early blade, by either Francisco Ruiz the elder, or the younger for that matter, would have the appropriate punzone at the forte.
What is there instead, is a crescent, of a form more in character with such stamps in pommel or hilt elements, but I presume this is to allude to the use of the crescent by Spanish makers Del Rey.

It would not seem unusual to find a Spanish blade in the Netherlands and in a German style hilt as this was of course a Spanish province from the late 16th into 18th c. Going back to the inscription, I have been under the impression that in Solingen stamped lettering was 'racked', thus in groups so as to ensure more evenly and uniform lettering. That is why this one seems so unusual and unevenly applied. If this sword was a German product of 17th century, it seems the inscription and a punzone (even if not correct as was the case with the Stantlers in Munich in their use) .
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Old 14th February 2017, 07:26 AM   #7
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thanks for the compliments but I must disappoint you, I am for the time being still a student in arms.

The hilt is a combination of norman type 74 and 77.
The globular pommel characterizes Dutch rapiers.
The grid pattern was found on several arms and armour around 1570-1580, see for example the pommels and round finals of different dussages.



best,
jasper
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Old 14th February 2017, 10:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
thanks for the compliments but I must disappoint you, I am for the time being still a student in arms...

Experts are like physicians; always studying new discoveries .
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Old 14th February 2017, 03:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Experts are like physicians; always studying new discoveries .



Very well put Fernando!
Jasper, my opinion stands, and thank you for the insight into this pattern.
Grid is exactly the term I was looking for and I see what you mean on its occurrence on dusagges and now recall seeing that.
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Old 15th February 2017, 05:55 AM   #10
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Default Spherical pommels / grid filework

Globular or spherical pommels per se weren't restricted to the Netherlands. Note a north Italian example, inv. no. 1776, Museo Poldi Pezzoli (Milano), publ. Boccia/Coelho 1975, #485. The swept hilt is cataloged as 1580-90, from Belluno; earlier riding-swords and backswords from this area which are practically identical to Styrian counterparts also share this feature (Coll. Luigi Marzoli, Brescia, inv. no. G 21 and G 23). A faceted version of the sphere can be seen on a somewhat simpler swept hilt on a rapier identified by Capwell as possibly Italian, 1570-80, Wallace Collection inv. no. A576, publ. Norman 1986, p 134.

Grid filework is also seen on a few Italian rapier hilts, q.v. inv. no. 2575, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, with an example depicted in art, "Portrait of a Gentleman" by Bartolomeo Passarotti 1571, Museo Bardini (Firenze), both publ Boccia/Coelho 1975, # 465, 466-67. It must be said, however, that these Italian examples are a bit more elegantly proportioned than the hilt on the sword discussed here.
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Old 15th February 2017, 09:56 PM   #11
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Anybody out there have any thoughts or ideas on the rather crudely incised lettering and unusual spelling in the FRAN'Z'ISCO RUIZ ??? the curious 'crescent' (?) at the forte? The absence of the Ruiz punzone?
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Old 16th February 2017, 01:30 PM   #12
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There is no punzon, as there is no FranZisco Ruiz. How many spurious spellings of great Masters like Ayala, for one, do you know, Jim ?
You are left to crack the riddle of the crescent presence .


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Last edited by fernando : 16th February 2017 at 06:47 PM. Reason: spell
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Old 16th February 2017, 04:59 PM   #13
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OK Fernando, that was the point, it is a spurious use of the name, so obviously the punzone (or is it punSone? ) is absent.
With the erratic letters in the inscription which are almost crudely executed I fear this is even beyond the usual Solingen placement, and with the number of rapier examples that have been in circulation using the Francisco Ruiz name (a number are less than authentic) I wonder on this.
Could it be a Solingen blade with poorly applied letters but of the period by a maker without the usual rack system?

The apparent crescent is a conundrum in itself, is this an equally inept attempt at the 'espadero del rey' mark?

I do not like negatively questioning a weapon, which is otherwise a most attractive and interesting piece, but these factors must be considered.
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Old 18th February 2017, 11:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
...so obviously the punzone (or is it punSone? ) is absent.

Actualy spelt punzón, plural punzones .


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
...is this an equally inept attempt at the 'espadero del rey' mark? ...

Is there a mark for espaderos del rey, Jim ? can you expand on that ?
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Old 19th February 2017, 01:37 AM   #15
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Thanks for the spell check Nando, that was a shameless pun on my part

On the mark of the 'Espaderos del Rey', from Wallace Collection (Sir James Mann, 1962):
A545 (p.279), a rapier c.1620, "...the incongruous combination of a Toledo mark and the half moon of an Espadero del Rey with the name of the Italian bladesmith Andrea Ferara suggest this is a product of Solingen".

A652 (p.331), a cup hilt rapier Spanish c1635; blade German (?)

"...the ricasso, inside the cup stamped on each side with a makers mark and the half moon of an Espadero del Rey. "
Further noted the the mark ST is said to be for Tomas de Ayala and that the Stantlers of Munich also used the letters ST (a crowned ST) along with the name Sebastian Hernandez. The four sided blade on this example is noted to not be usually found on cup hilt rapiers.

It would appear that the half moons (which typically look like Tarot card characters with man in the moon face), were somehow often used along with makers punzon in Spain, for Espaderos del Rey (the Kings artisans).
However it is unclear whether this was a broadly used designation or strictly for select makers. The only maker noted as such by Palomares was of course Julian del Rey (with the perillo, or little dog, rampant) but no note I am aware of) with a half moon. If there is such instance you are aware of I would be grateful to know.

Clearly, the half moon mark became part of the Solingen repertoire of symbols and devices used by Solingen smiths along with other spurious Spanish names and punzones, and eventually became part of the astral groupings inscribed in Solingen blades.

This simple mark, looking in Rorschach test parlance, like a crescent (but facing the wrong direction) seems possibly an incongruent attempt to allude to the Spanish theme inscribed in the fuller with Ruiz' name.
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Old 19th February 2017, 04:09 PM   #16
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Alright Jim,
I have checked both examples at the Wallace and went into a search for the half moon mark in Spanish sites.
The only citation i found is that, Master Juan Martin used a half moon punzon as his personal mark (#39 in Palomares nomina).
"MUY BONITAS Y DIGNAS DE CONOCERSE SON LAS DE JUAN MARTIN QUE USÓ UNA MEDIALUNA EN CUARTO CRECIENTE"
On the other hand i often read that the statute of being a Espadero del Rey is represented with the Royal crown above the master's personal mark escutcheon.
"REMATADA EM CORONA REAL POR POSEER EL TITULO DE ESPADERO DEL REY"
But if you give it a different reading of the Wallace descriptions, they mention the half moon of "an" espadero del rey and not of "the" espaderos del rey, meaning to say that, they may be referring to a "determined" espadero and not the espaderos "in general"; which brings us to consider that of the said Juan Martin ... or a spurious use of such Master.
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Old 20th February 2017, 04:10 AM   #17
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Good work Fernando! and interesting note on the interpretation of the Wallace entries. The half moon mark of 'AN' Espadero del Rey would suggest that all of the makers in Toledo were then makers for the crown, and we presume that the half moon mark was used in this case by one of them.
As you point out in the Palomares nomina (1772) only one of the 99 entries uses a half moon mark , Juan Martin (#39).

While the Palomares chart lists just the names and little detail, with none of these makers specified as an Espadero del Rey, even Julian del Rey who of course has the name so specified. This must be the 'younger' as the Julian del Rey originally credited with the noted mark of the 'perillo' was a Moor converted to Christianity and maker to Boabdil 1484-1498.

In looking into "Small Arms Makers" (Gardner, 1963) which lists names of 'foreign swordsmiths' with certain key note details in varying degree, I found that of virtually all of the smiths represented in Palomares, only one was listed with the title, Espadero del Rey.....that was Antonio Ruiz of Toledo, 1566-1570 (p.365). In checking Palomares, this Ruiz is #13, and has a shield with an 'o' over a 'T' in a shield......no crown.

In the reference noted regarding Espaderos de Rey, you note the statute designating these makers as such is the royal crown over the makers personal mark. Looking at Palomares nomina, there are only a select number, perhaps half, with such crowns included in the punzon. Of these, none are those specifically noted as Espaderos del Rey. Neither Juan Martin (half moon #39); nor Antonio Ruiz (#13, o over T) have crowns nor #59, the perillo of Julian del Rey.

It would appear that the half moon mark was seemingly associated with Espaderos del Rey as in Wallace (Mann, 1962) A582, on a rapier there is the half moon mark along with the O, T mark (Antonio Ruiz) and in this case, it is crowned. Again, this smith was the only one specified as Espadero del Rey....and here is his mark OT and crowned, along with the half moon !

The suggestion seems to be that the half moon, in cases where the makers mark was present, and the marks congruently applied, may have been to makers who had the particular statute afforded them .

Apparantly the Kings of Castile granted privileges of different kinds or there were varying degrees of statute possibly represented in the recorded punzon listings which were no longer available when Palomares collected these at the Ayuntamiento in Toledo.

I am afraid this brings us no closer to resolving the curious mark at the forte on this blade, but an interesting foray into Spanish markings just the same.
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Old 20th February 2017, 03:03 PM   #18
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Allow me Jim, to be stubborn ... like a mule (as we say here).
From within my empirical knowledge, let me put things in a backwards mode.
Whether Wallace material has a reliable significance, i can see no way that a symbol like a half moon is intrinsic to Toledan or other location smiths being appointed to the King. As for legitimate marks of such Masters, i would go as far as realize that the crown in some of them is a facultative procedure, one of his own choice, that not an imposition; this meaning that, the designing of each one's mark, be it one inherited from their family or made before such previlege was attributed, doesn't implicate in its mark composition including the crown.
Reading further in an article by Germán Dueñas Beraiz, a real expert in these things, he reminds us the Academy history records in that, what happened when a Master received the said privilege from the King, based on his known expertise or some service done to the Sovereign, was that he started signing the phrase Espadero del Rey in full words in the ricasso of the blade.
... algunos de ellos, por su sobresaliente habilidad o algun servicio a la Magestad, lograron el titulo de Espaderos del Rey, grabandolo en sus Espadas con todas letras en los cantos del recazo, como fueron Nicolas Hortuño, Juan Martinez, Antonio Ruiz,
Not only they had the right to engrave such phrase but also enjoyed the privilege of being exempted from a determined number of taxes.
But one must also bear in mind that, the engraving of the signature in the blades, was not per se a guaranty that the sword was actually a work of the respective master; neither some marks depicted by Palomares resist confrontation with examples of swords by some masters kept in the Real Armeria. Yes, Palomares made a work that, being deeply respected by critics, is not exempted from some discrepancies; besides having built his work a good couple centuries after the 'real thing', had a 'crush' for his Toledo base, to the point that, this or that Master was reported to be from Toledo and having 'also' worked in other cities, actually were from such cities and 'also' worked in Toledo; the more screaming case being famous Julian del Rey who, same as his father and brother, developed his work in Saragoça having 'also' laboured in Toledo, contrary to what he reported. Also noteworthy was Julian's mark, which real one was not the 'perillo' shown in the nomina but a cross inserted in copper
Some birth and activity dates ae also not precise, as is the case of Sebastián Hernández the elder, reported active in 1637 when in 1584 he was already dead, and 1625 for Tomás de Ayala, when he had his splendor in 1560, having died in 1583.
One other thing is that Palomares is thought to have only resourced the marks by observing them in the Toledo Municipality archives whereas evidence shows, as above narrated, that he also or mainly recorded them from the actual sword blades.
Just as an aside, the more than 90 mark punzones that were kept in the archives, and apparently were all present when Palomares has been around, have meanwhile mostly vanished (?), only some 14 currently existing.

Yours humbly
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Old 20th February 2017, 04:08 PM   #19
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Thank you Fernando, and please note, you are not being stubborn, but prudent in more thoroughly testing observations and ideas to ensure the information we compile here is as accurate as possible.
I must confess that my suggestions and notes were actually placed as such in anticipation for your vetting, as your experience and knowledge in the swords of Portugal and Spain, as well as their makers, is exemplary.

While I have studied markings and these swords for many years, I have actually learned more in the past week in going through these details and with your assistance than I have in a very long time.

In ways though I have played devils advocate with regard to this rapier of the original post, but given the many variables and extenuating situations with not only early makers, but the production of these blades in centers such as Solingen spuriously using punzones and names, there may be wider berth for such anomalies. Adding this to the hilt conventions of provincial regions, the conundrums grow.

You have also brought up a most salient point which I had completely forgotten, that of taxation, which would be a most inducing reason for makers to seek such a title or honorific. In markings it is most difficult to determine which were indeed makers punzones; which may have been guild marks for compliances; or perhaps, which may have signified a royal exemption for taxation (possibly the half moon? for example) .

Such groupings in configurations are of course well known in silver mounted hilts where a makers mark, city mark, assayers mark etc are grouped together. We see certain blades with multiple marks and punzones which suggest key charges or devices signifying possible administrative meanings.
We can only guess at most as detailed records are long lost as to the structure of uses for these markings.

Palomares is our best source for what detail we use, though as noted, it is not without flaws. It is encouraging to know he did use actual blades for his records as he could, but the purloining of marks among makers later compounded by copying in other centers places expected doubts.
As you note there were conflicting reports on work locations for various makers. Possibly some of this from Toledo to Madrid was result of moving the Royal Court to Madrid around 1561. Other reports may have been simply moving for personal reasons or expanding scope of operation, or again taxation or financial reasons.
The dates of work seem to conflict at times due to similar or same names of father, son, brother etc and the usual record keeping errors .

Again, I thank you for your diligence in adding and clarifying these points in studying these details, which I know has benefitted my understanding on this topic. As always learning together.......you're the best Nando!!!
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Old 20th February 2017, 06:29 PM   #20
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Sorry for barging in, as it is not my area of interest and expertise, but I think more of Italy or Styria rather than Spain.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/366550857155039469/

That would explain the spelling.

No matter where from, it is a very good one.

I am not going to suggest "adopting" it, but for rapier lovers it is a nice catch.


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Old 20th February 2017, 08:20 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Sorry for barging in, as it is not my area of interest and expertise, but I think more of Italy or Styria rather than Spain.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/366550857155039469/

That would explain the spelling.

No matter where from, it is a very good one.

I am not going to suggest "adopting" it, but for rapier lovers it is a nice catch.



Not at all Ariel, no matter on area of interest or expertise (I have no idea what mine really is! ) its good to have you enter in. I think the spelling conundrum may be as much with levels of literacy and language variation in Solingen along with workers skills. However the centers in Styria and Italy are a valid suggestion as they adopted these Toledo names spuriously as well .
While I have had my doubts on this one, must say it is growing on me! and it really is an attractive weapon. The grid patterns suggested earlier to me are compelling for Italian weapons as Philip has pointed out.
Thank you for joining in and the links!

Best,
Jim


.

Last edited by fernando : 21st February 2017 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 21st February 2017, 08:32 PM   #22
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spherical pommels can be found in all ages in all countries, even in the Middle Ages.
However, at the time of the rapier of Jean Luc late 16th century early 17th century, this pommel was very fashionable in the Netherlands on Rapiers in Art. This in contrast to Italy where the heydays had already passed. (in the early - mid 16th century)

F/M the inscription is of low quality (btw the blade is not) and Francisco is spelled in the German language (phonetically) with a Z. (Franz is a German name)

for this reason my contention is that this inscription is probably done a bit later and has not been done by the blade maker.
perhaps on a export-blade from a marketing perspective.

The grid pattern was popular in the last quarter of the 16th century and probably originated from Styria. see dussages of post #7

for comparison, an Attachement of the same type of rapier.

best,
jasper
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Old 21st February 2017, 09:15 PM   #23
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Jasper,
I am very glad to have you back on this, and thank you so much for the elucidation on the issues we are observing and discussing here. I clearly very much agree on the blade and inscription, which has been one of my primary concerns since the outset. The blade as you note is of good quality and age, and the inscription was as you suggest probably added in German context using this much favored makers name to enhance value in trade.
Unfortunately the inscriber, though carefully following the standard conventions of wording spaced by the 'x's, was not very proficient in lettering and their placement. It would seem that a style or fashion hilt would still appeal to the extremely traditional Spaniard, who generally held stubbornly to the venerable forms of earlier times. Perhaps this may account for an older hilt or blade or both filtering through trade entrepots destined for Spanish Netherlands and the German application of the famed name of Francisco Ruiz?

It seems that the observation placed by Ariel was most astutely placed, as in all honesty, I had not even thought of Styria. Your illustration clearly shows this grid pattern compellingly in that context .

Can you offer thoughts on the curious mark at the forte , which looks like a crescent?

All best regards
Jim
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Old 22nd February 2017, 07:08 AM   #24
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Whoa!
Jasper this picture is very important for me, Thank you for the gift!
How many peoples assist you in your research department?
What I could say is, that both hilts have been made by same hands.
Could you tell me from where you found this sword ?
Thank you very much!
Jean-Luc
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Old 22nd February 2017, 07:51 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Jasper,


Can you offer thoughts on the curious mark at the forte , which looks like a crescent?

All best regards
Jim


the half-moon (crescent) single or double appeared frequently on the ricasso or on the middle of the blade, at blades from Toledo in the 16thC and 17thC.
Also Spanish marks like this were copied in production centers such as Solingen.
In the late 16th century there was largely and lively trade in weapon parts, such as blades. It is impossible to say whether this is a Toledo export blade or a German blade.Also it is difficult to determine where the rapier is put together.

It is, however, with probability, to say that the inscription is applied later on
given the poor Quality of it.

best,
jasper
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Old 23rd February 2017, 12:58 PM   #26
fernando
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Dear Jim,
I have been in contact with Germán Dueñas Beraiz, head curator of the arms section of the Army Museum of Toledo, author of several books on early weaponry.
Here is what he says about the smiths marks, the crowns and the half moon:

... La única marca para reconocer a un espadero del rey era la inscripción que colocaban en los cantos del recazo ESPADERO/ DELREY.
Las coronas en los punzones de espaderos toledanos son muy comunes, y en principio no hemos documentado que tengan ningún significado especial.
Por otra parte Palomares es una fuente muy interesante pero poco fiable a la hora de atribuir marcas, lugares de fabricación o nombres de espaderos, tal y como señalo en un artículo escrito por mi hace unos años dedicado a Palomares en la revista Gladius.
La media luna aparece en algunas hojas españolas, pero sin vinculación con marcas de espadero ni de ciudad.
De hecho Juan Martín no existió como espadero, refiriéndose Palomares a otro espadero cuya firma interpreta erróneamente, concrétamente a Juan Martínez, que por cierto si fue espadero del rey ...


And in case you won't bother translating, here is a lousy version:

The only mark to identify an espadero del rey was the inscription they applied in the edges of the ricasso ESPADERO/DEL REY.
The crowns in the marks of Toledan sword smiths are rather common and in principle we have no evidence of those having a special meaning.
On the other had, Palomares is a very interesting source but not so reliable, in what touches marks, production places or sord smiths names, as i point out in a article published a few years go in the Gladius review.
The haf moon appears in some Spanish blades, but with no direct relation with smiths marks or cities.
In fact Juan Martin has not existed as a sword smith, Palomares referring to another smith whose name he wrongly interpreter, in concrete to Juan Martinez, whom has indeed been an espadero del rey.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 01:06 PM   #27
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If you care for some examples ... the first at the Metropolitan, the second in the Real Armeria.

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Last edited by fernando : 23rd February 2017 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 02:47 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... You have also brought up a most salient point which I had completely forgotten, that of taxation, which would be a most inducing reason for makers to seek such a title or honorific. In markings it is most difficult to determine which were indeed makers punzones; which may have been guild marks for compliances ...

There were ordinance, brotherhood, guild ... and marks.
Some ordinance inspectors visited the smith and submitted to him to a number of sword (and accouterment) making operations, against some fees (12 reales), to recognise him as espadero. The brotherhood submitted him to a secret vote, with the practice of 'habas' (small balls), white for yes and black for no. This was a well organized system, with clerks and all, but not well seen by the Crown. The guild was somehow connected to the brotherhood, but subject to Municipality, that cared for smiths protection and industry evolution.
Then there were the marks, made with anagrams of their names and also that of Toledo. There were smiths who opted by only aplying their own anagram, those that used both of their name and that of Toledo and others, feeling fundamentaly Toledan, opted by ony applying the city To symbol. It was the author i am roughly quoting (Esperanza Pedraza Ruiz) who pretended that the crown over the anagram meant the smith was espadero del rey, but i tend to give credit to Dueñas Beraiz in that this had no such meaning.
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Old 24th February 2017, 02:17 AM   #29
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Fernando,
I feel most fortunate for your sharing with me the information from Mr. Beraiz, which offers intriguing perspective on the character on these various marks, as well as the designation of 'Espadero del Rey'. As I had noted earlier, I had pretty much exhausted the resources at my disposal, and was hoping that with your access to contacts and resources in Portugal and Spain, you would add to what I had provided.

You also are most kind to have added translation of the material from Mr.Beraiz to spare me the trouble of doing so, and that the wording would be effectively placed. Knowing my difficulties in spelling and proper wording with your languages this would surely save you the frustration of having to correct me further, so thanks.

While I have no reason to dispute the material from Mr. Beraiz in these matters, I will gladly add it to my notes to be considered respectively with the information I have found elsewhere. Although his opinions are certainly most reasonable, the key value is the description of the complexity of the economic social and regal regulatory systems in place in these times.

It seems that the addition of the social factor of brotherhoods, in league with guilds which adhered to municipal regulation, and operating in degree under the auspices of the King, would emplace an almost unfathomable potential for use of markings and compliance devices.

Certainly the use of the phrase 'Espadero del Rey' would instantly represent the maker whose name accompanied it. But it seems that numerous makers carried out commissions for royal patrons on occasions, yet they seem not to have had such wording on their blades (at least necessarily) . Is it not possible that the half moon mark, occurring along with other marks, might have had significance to any of these groups in the hierarchy and even linked to Royal patronage rather than being a random or spuriously used symbol? Conversely, could this half moon have been used 'unofficially' in implying royal patronage in certain circumstances?

It has been my understanding that Toledo, with the Court moved to Madrid (1561), began deteriorating economically, and that its key sword making industry faltered badly by the opening of the 17th century along with other key aspects of its traditional standing. It would seem in these conditions, the prospects for corruption and counterfeit marks would be heightened. It is clear that by 1680 the guilds had been dissolved (Cohen, "By the Sword", p.115). By the time Palomares wrote (1772) there was virtually none left of the craft and King Carlos III was desperately trying to find smiths.

It does not seem that Toledo would have been exporting much in blades in the early 17th century, Solingen was quite consuming in its command of the blade making industry. It is even suggested that the German smiths using Spanish names may have deliberately produced lesser quality work to tarnish the reputation of the Toledo blades (Cohen, p.117).
The conflicts in the cities of various Spanish smiths listed as their workplace seems perhaps to be associated with the denigration of the industry as noted by the early 17th c.

I think there are many more factors and situations in the Toledo markings conundrums than can be conclusively decided in the data in any one singular report, or for that matter, numbers of them. I do however very much appreciate the inclusion of the valuable work of Mr, Beraiz in our discussion.
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Old 25th February 2017, 05:40 PM   #30
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Thank you for your generous entry Jim,
I take it in short that your perspective of the half moon being a symbol of Castillian Royal benefit to sword smiths constitutes an unassailable theory; notwithstanding the Wallace work being the sole source where so far this assumption resides... also notwithstanding again that, out of nearly ten items marked with half moons in this catalogue, only two of them mention such potentiality; and even in one of such two (A652) the author tags the sword as Toledan but he question marks the blade as being German ... as German and Italian are all the other sword blades with the half moon in this catalogue (all variants of this symbol in page 688/9).
On the other hand, we have that a couple Spanish scholars either reject or never heard of such intentional marking. Besides the magnificent example in the Met shown above, revealing the existence of the ESPADERO DEL REY signature for Juan Martinez but no half moon presence, i have gone through the whole descriptive catalogue of Armeria Reale by Valencia de Don Juan and saw not one half moon symbol in their swords.
As you know Jim, my previous knowledge of these things is infinitely less than what i have recently learnt but, suggestion that the half moon might be linked to Royal Castilian patronage is something i find hard to digest; eventually this symbol was one the favorite of French King Henry II, by the way.
Concerning Beraiz notes, i shoul remind that part of his assessments are personal but a great part of what he wrote about the Palomares nomina are not his conclusions but actual transcriptions of Palomares work, namely the privileges and tax exemptions (Alcavalas) granted by the King to those selected Espaderos del Rey. And speaking of such, Palomares, a studious of Toledo marks, makes no mention to a half moon being a statute mark. Also i should precise that what i brought here about the Brotherhood and Guild was captured from a work by Esperanza Pedraza Ruiz.
I look forward to hear from you or other member an explicit evidence of the half moon being an appendix to the Espadero del Rey signature.
... And then it's time i eat them frogs .

Yours humbly


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