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Old 19th October 2017, 11:43 AM   #151
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Old 5th December 2008, 06:40 PM

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I think that is XVIII century because is signed AYALA
original swords of Toledo have AIALA or AIA and DE TOLEDO

But what it means this St.Clemens cross ?
probably this is a true mark

This 1/4 sword :-) was found at the attic in very old house in Poland ,
in the region Gdańsk / Danzig , maybe come of old German colection ?
destroyed by Red Army in 1945

Sorry for my english :-) I know that Kali ordered an ashtray wine
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:43 AM   #152
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Default Toledo makers marks

Old 6th May 2009, 09:45 PM

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I am a bit too lazy to check if these tables were alredy posted here so, just in case, i post them now.
Not much harm if they are already here, somewhere
Fernando
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:44 AM   #153
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Old 18th September 2009, 09:58 AM

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Who can identify these marks?

***********************
.........................................


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Old 19th October 2017, 11:45 AM   #154
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Old 18th September 2009, 03:01 PM

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Thanks for posting that Buendia! Its nice to see a posting on this trusty old thread
I'm curious about which book this table of markings is from, it is often helpful to know which context these references are in, as well as which language. Does the book make mention of the authors thoughts on the markings?

These are of course markings applied to trade blades, believed to have originated with trade guilds in Northern Italy, they are typically associated with Genoa, and as you can see that name is often used within the marks.
Genoan blades traded heavily to the north in colonial activity in the Black Sea as well as of course throughout the Meditteranean.
The usually dentated half circles are known as 'sickle marks' most often, though referred to my many other terms including eyelashes or even in some cases hogsbacks.
The 'Frindia' or 'Fringia' marks seem to derive from 16th-17th century application, perhaps sometimes later, usually in East European cases and there has been considerable debate on the word(s) which seem to be an acronym or phrase using first letters. It is often seen, as are the 'sickle' marks on Styrian blades, as well as certain other centers. Solingen began copying the marks, though often bracketing other marks inside them, especially the famed ANDREA FERARA, typically seen on blades for the Scottish market.

Thanks again Buendia, its always good to see interest in pursuing these fascinating markings and thier associations and application.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:45 AM   #155
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Default A cup hilted sword ... much better than the pictures

Old 18th October 2009, 07:04 PM

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Definitely i don't reach full control of my new digital camera ... or perhaps is the camera that is no so good.
This sword is, i would say, from the XVII century. Judging by the width of its blade (4 cms) and fixation of the knuckle guard to the pommel, it would be a military weapon.
Its blade measures 80 cms. and is rather thin, which makes this a light handy sword, with 950 grams.
It bears along the fullers one of these traditional religious inscriptions 'MIN SINAL HES EL SANTISSIMO CRUCIFICIO' (my sign ((symbol)) is the holly crucifix).
In both sides of the ricasso it has a punction of its smith; although we can discern a crucified christ, the cross is not a plain one. Also its top seems to have some kind of efect, which is almost imossible to figure out, due to its position under the langets.
The crucifix was a mark practiced by various smiths, like the German Hannes Cleles and Heinrich Koel (known as Coll) and the Toledan Pedro Hernandez, but i suspect there were more variations on this mark theme.
The exact provenance of this type of swords is often undistinguished and so called Iberian or Peninsular but, due to the system of its cup fixation, welded instead of screwed, may well be Portuguese ... not taking into account that until the mid XVII century Portugal was under controll of the Spanish Philipes, and contemporary weaponry fashions were an assumed mix.
It was acquired in a Portuguese mannor house, anyway.
Fernando

I wonder if anyone here has ever seen these smith marks ?!

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Old 19th October 2017, 11:47 AM   #156
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Old 18th October 2009, 07:05 PM
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Some more picures ...

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Old 19th October 2017, 11:48 AM   #157
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Old 18th October 2009, 08:03 PM

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Hi Fernando,
I really like your new acquisition. The attached photo is of a mark attributed to Hannes Cleles and is obviously different from the one on your sword. The 'Apostolic Cross' has been used by a few countries e.g. Hungary and within the Roman Church is associated specifically with the office of Cardinal. I wonder if it is possible that it is not a makers mark but a mark denoting that it belongs to or was made for a specific group e.g. Cardinals guard. Just thinking out loud. Regardless of who or what it's a great sword.
My Regards,
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:48 AM   #158
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Old 19th October 2009, 07:31 PM

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Fernando, this is a fantastic good solid arming cuphilt, and you know my weakness for these beauties!!!
Norman, excellent observations on that 'Apostolic cross' and very plausible thoughts on its application.
While these type markings were often associated with the blades of certain makers, it does seem, as thoroughly discussed over years, that they were applied in more of a talismanic sense in many cases. In the placing on this, it does seem that a device used by a specific group might be possible.

Clearly, the cuphilt rapier was well established in both Portugal and Spain at some time early in the 17th century, though many of these, were produced also in Spain's provinces in Italy. The thin, thrusting blade rapiers were used well into the 18th century in traditional application in Spain, but by the mid to latter 18th century the cuphilt had extended into the military sector, especially in Spain's colonies.

When I first saw this beautifully aged cuphilt, my first thought was that it was a colonial example, and though familiar with the 'Caribbean' or Spanish forms, its provenance to Portugal suggested possibly South America.
This seems to be one of the 'arming' type examples of probably third quarter 18th century, and the blade appears to be of the military type produced usually in Solingen in that time. The style of lettering in the inscription and the blade itself resembles the familiar Spanish 'dragoon' blades of 1770's with the 'Draw Me Not Without Reason' etc. inscription.

Interesting is the rolled edge of the cup, which vestigially represents the 'rompepuntas' of the early cuphilts which were intended ostensibly to catch the thin rapier blade of the opponent. These are not seen on colonially produced cuphilts of this period, and interesting to be seen in this application more as a finished appearance feature. The style of the grips are also a latter 18th-early 19th century affectation often seen on Spanish colonial swords with dual coloring. The lined elements on the quillons and knucklebow also resemble Spanish military swords of this period.

Thank you so much Fernando!! and good observations Norman.
I hope we can keep moving on this to see more on the interesting marking and what it might signify, and more on the inscription...would this be compared to any others particularly Portuguese?

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:49 AM   #159
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Old 20th October 2009, 05:21 AM

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Addendum:
Further research on the notes for this interesting crucifix marking.
Most of the markings attributed to the German smiths were actually cross and orb rather than crucifix, such as Heinrich Coll, and from I understand, these were affectations added with inscriptions, names or invocations. I am not sure about markings by Pedro Hernandez, nor the crucifix seen on the blade by Cleles.

The form of cross seen here is most interesting and it seems that the cross with the normal sized patibulum (main cross beam) as well as the smaller upper beam (titulus) is indeed an apostolic cross as used in Hungary. It is also known as the Patriarchal cross.

In this case, the cross in Patriarchal form, as crucifix, is known in Spain as the Caravaca Cross, and is associated with a miracle in the southeast Spanish town of Caravaca de la Cruz. The cross is most typically flanked by two angels, who in the miraculous event c.1231 carried a cross comprised of part of the True Cross. There were indeed associations with the Knights Templar during the 15th century when they occupied this town.

Apparantly, this cross is often employed in a talismanic or amuletic sense, and is noted as often seen in Central and South America as such, as a good luck device. It would seem that this would correspond with Portuguese colonial presence in these regions and the Portuguese provenance as well as the fact that this does seem a colonial America's weapon from latter 18th c.

It is well known of course that there are a number of fraternal societies and groups with profound associations to Masonic lineage, and often less clearly to the Knights Templar, so perhaps this weapon might have belonged to a military officer in the colonial regions with these associations.

I also found a note in "An Illustrated History of Arms and Armour" (Auguste Demmin, tranl. C.C.Black, 1901 ed. p.577) which illustrates a cross with two same sized patibulum (beams) and is noted as a mark supposed to have been on blades of Crusaders who had swords either made or stamped at Jerusalem. Demmin notes that he found a sword with such mark in the arsenal at Berlin, with hilt which suggested it was of 16th century. Perhaps the shape of the cross, if it does indeed correspond to the graphic without the vertical beam beyond the upper crossbeam, might be associated to this.

Hope this additional information might be useful, and adds to the outstanding mystique of this wonderful military cuphilt, which seems quite possibly of Portuguese provenance to probably South America.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:50 AM   #160
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Old 20th October 2009, 01:20 PM

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From what I've seen of these, they are described as the Caribbean rapiers. Dating to the second half of 18th century looks right, unless the mark proves otherwise.
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:50 AM   #161
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Old 20th October 2009, 04:39 PM

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When I first saw this, I thought also of the 'Caribbean' versions of cup hilt rapier, as described by Peterson and Brickerhoff/Chamberlain, and are as previously noted, basically military 'arming' versions of the traditional cuphilt.
However, this example has more refined, though heavy, styling carrying the vestigial elements such as the rompepuntas.

The term 'Caribbean' seems to have become somewhat misaligned as these are actually 'colonial' as thier use and apparantly their production appear to have been widespread far beyond that sphere.
The dual colored grip is similar to those seen on Spanish colonial hilts on a number of edged weapons typically of latter 18th into early 19th. I have an example of court type sword of probably 1820's Mexico with this type of horn/ivory type grip. In style it is also with neoclassic style elements that are often seemingly incongruent, such as vestigial quillon arms placed reduntantly under a dish guard.

The mark truly is intriguing, and I think is likely associated in some way to an officer, probably with interest or membership in a group in league with the numerous fraternal or perhaps some Masonic presence. Also, it would seem that the use of the Caravaca Cross, with South American prevalence mentioned may have some bearing on its presumed colonial provenance.
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:50 AM   #162
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Old 20th October 2009, 06:36 PM

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Hi Guys,

The central wide fuller makes the blade distinctly different to the "a dos mesas" type, so characteristic of iberian battle-swords in the 17-18th Cs.

I have seen such fullers in swedish, german and belgian blades.

The grip is a later replacement, its type was often seen in Spanish colonies from Filipinas to America.. Incidentally, the blade is too heavy for the pommel's size.

The motto is either galician or portuguese, most likely the latter.

Very good condition overall, congrats Ferd!
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:52 AM   #163
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Old 20th October 2009, 07:20 PM

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Excellent observations Manolo!!!
Could you please say more on the term 'dos mesas' ? I am unfamiliar with that particular term and would like to know more. I agree with the cross section of the blade resembling the Solingen type productions of c.1760's with the 'Spanish motto' often found on 'dragoon' swords.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:52 AM   #164
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Old 20th October 2009, 08:33 PM

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You mean the "No me saques sin razon, no me envaines sin honor" ?

The " a dos mesas" is roughly a flat hexagonal cross cut blade.

Jim, I'm afraid I must eat crow: checked my database of old Iberian blades, and saw several with the central wide fuller...

Drat! I'm fallible after all....

Or am I? Perhaps I was just testing you.

Yeah, that's it, just testing you...

: )


Manolo, you rascal!! LOL!! Thats OK, I need testing, besides eating crow is often part of my regimen and I do it a lot
Thank you for the info on 'dos mesas' is the hexagonal blade which I always call the dragoon blade (from certain references) and indeed often with the No me saques sin Razon motto.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:53 AM   #165
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Old 20th October 2009, 11:24 PM

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Hi guys, thank you all
In face of so many coments, i decided to take off my cuff links and do a bit research myself, trying to instantly catch pace with those, like you, whom gathered a lot of luggage in this subject through long time.
I will in any case continue researching and try and join as most material as i can on this item, as i usually do.
Concerning Norman's sugestion about the crucifix; considering he is right ... or half way to it. We can even go as far as imagining that this mark is a composition made with the smith punction and the client's symbol. But i am not personaly inclined to it, until further evidence ... or until we find this mark in some book or picture.
I went into the unusual (for me) adventure of dismounting the guard; fortunately the pommel is the screw type. Now the mark is as clear as possible. A real chalenge; besides the classic christ in a crucified position, as may be seen in Pedro Hernandez mark, there is a peripherical double beam cross, upon a sort of calvary and with an aureole on the top.
I wonder whether this is a Patriarchal or a Lorena Cross, or a 'modified' setup created by the smith.
I couldn't yet confirm if and what inscriptions Pedro Hernandez and other eventual crucifix mark smiths used to inscribe in their blades, but suddenly i realized that the phrase MIN SINAL HES EL SANTISSIMO CRUCIFICIO is not an abstract allusion but an objective one, that is, the signal (sign) they refer is the mark they punction on the blade recazo: the crucifix.
I don't think i assimilate the sugestion that this sword is Caribbean ... or Spanish colonial, or the like; much less a rapier .
I am totally convinced that this sword is Peninsular; either Spanish or Portuguese ... or both; like a XVII century Spanish blade with a XVIII century Portuguese hilt ... for instance .
I have just checked the digital copy of a catalogue published to cover the Ornamental Art Exhibition held in the Lisbon Academy of Fine Arts in 1882. There were four swords with the inscription MIN SINAL HES ... all (syntomaticaly) with the same spelling, and all dated by the catalogue author as being from the XVII century. And, two amazing things: one of them was a schiavona sword and another, a cup hilted one, had the marks of famous Alonso Sahagun on the blade forte.
Except for the schiavona, the other three were quoted to have a crucifix on both sides of the recazo.
I agree with Manolo that the blade shape of 'bulk' cup hilt battle swords was the dos mesas (two convex faces cross-section); i have one myself and also find one pictured and described in a book i have. But i guess this doesn't eliminate other shapes, does it? I eventually have a similarly fullered specimen in the same book, precisely with the MIN SINAL HES motto ... and in the same lettering as my example; and also dated XVII century, although i can't guarantee the author's rigour; it belongs to his own collection.
... And, Manolo, i don't think the blade is too heavy for the pommel size . Remember the blade is fullered and of short length; the point of balance is 8 cms away from the guard. What do you think?
Concerning the dimension of the rumpe puntas (quebra pontas) Jim, i see plenty like this one, as still being within the 'norm'; but here between us two, i think such implement was more on the fantasy side, rather than an operational device .
My best wishes to everyone ... and thanks a lot for your participation.
Fernando

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Old 19th October 2017, 11:56 AM   #166
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Old 21st October 2009, 01:48 PM

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Meet the crucifix used by Pedro Hernandez.
Fernando
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:56 AM   #167
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Old 21st October 2009, 03:35 PM

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Hi Nando, I forgot to take into consideration the weight of its hefty cup guard, it should help the pommel maintain the balance.
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Old 19th October 2017, 11:57 AM   #168
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Old 21st October 2009, 09:37 PM

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Superb research work Fernando! and thank you for sharing the progression of your work with observations, thoughts and details. This is very much textbook in pursuing the identification of weapons and learning the history as well, and truly the joy of them as they tell us thier stories.

The fact that these have the cuphilt feature simply reflects the traditionalism inherent in Portuguese and Spanish swords, much favored by the brilliant swordsmen who wielded them. I agree that the rompepuntas feature is indeed vestigial, or reflecting the presumed purpose on the earlier cuphilts. I think it is simply a more finished appearance rather than practical purpose such as catching blade points.

With the cuphilt rapiers of the 17th century remaining in use for so long, and these arming or military versions coming into use in the early 18th, it does not seem surprising that ambitious assessments for 17th century are made for them. I am inclined to agree for the Peninsular identity for this 'copos de tigela' and it is interesting to see that, as you have noted, the inscription seems to correspond to this 'double beamed' crucifix cross. With that it seems that this seems to suggest a 'type' of blade imbued with this talismanic element. Interestingly blades made in Solingen seem to have spurious markings employed for appeal to certain markets, i.e. the well known ANDREA FERARA blades, primarily found on Scottish baskethilt type broadsword blades; the SAHAGUM (N) blades, which seem prevalent on the Continent; and even in degree the true rapier form blades marked with inscriptions presumed Aiala et al. (JESUS MARIA) which were produced it seems even into the 18th century (these are not as clearly determined).
We have generally held for some time that the hexagonal (dos mesas) military blades with the ' no me saques sin razon/ no me envaines sin honor' motto, are most likely Solingen produced and intended for colonial consumption, being sent to New Spain in huge volume. These blades seem to correspond somewhat concurrently in the placement and style of thier inscription.

As Manolo has noted, the grip style seems to favor remounts in the colonial sphere, throughout the 'Main' and to the Phillipines.

I think the use of the cross or crucifix, is much like that of the cross and orb, used with mottos, inscriptions and invocations as talismanic enhancement, with particular devices or forms often associated with certain makers as they appear along with marked work by that maker. They are not makers marks in themselves, as you have well surmised.

Again, I really enjoy the teamwork and discussion really sharing ideas and observations in learning more on these weapons. While I've been on these trails for more years than I care to reveal, I'm still trying to learn, and I always encourage those out there reading to come in with us! One never knows where the vital clue may be found!!

All best regards,
Ji.

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Old 19th October 2017, 11:58 AM   #169
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Old 26th October 2009, 07:49 AM

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I don't know if I understood well, but on the contrary, the wide central fuller 'a dos mesas' in the first two thirds of the blade is common on the spanish military swords from the 18th Century, just see this:

http://www.catalogacionarmas.com/public/49-Conchas.pdf
.


The number of mesas is the number of 'facets' a blade has in one side of the blade, not counting the fuller. So, the flat diamond shaped blade has two (dos) mesas in one side, and a flat hexagon has tres (three) mesas. Usually, a rapier has a short fuller, and when it ends, you can count the number of mesas. There are flate hexagonal blades without fuller, and they are also tres mesas. But I personally believe this sword from Fernando is technically not a rapier under spanish terms, but a transition form, since it is not a civilian weapon, and the widht and form of the blade does not correspond to a rapier, since is too broad in the beginning (as a good military sword from the period) and very 'triangular' and pointy. I don't think those quillons were only vestigial. They were used also in cup hilted rapiers, and very large, due the needs imposed by the fencing techniques. In this case, the quillons are shorter but I don't think useless.
Regards

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Old 19th October 2017, 12:00 PM   #170
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Old 26th October 2009, 09:51 PM
Posted by:
Jim McDougall
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Hi Gonzalo,
Its good to see you back, and much appreciated as I know the difficulty you experience in getting access at times. I think many of us take for granted the things we often regard as simple such as computer access, and just wanted to say thank you for always extending the effort.

Also thank you for the excellent observations on the 'mesas'. I had not heard nor understood the use of the term in the nomenclature, and appreciate the detail you have added.

I believe we pretty well ascertained that Fernando's sword was a military 'arming' type sword, and the rapier term here is used rather superficially, noting its similarity to the traditional cuphilt rapiers.
The 'vestigial' term here also was in reference to the 'rompepuntas', which we seem to agree was unlikely to be of use operationally as intended, in catching the point of a traditional rapier in the quite different use from combat with these heavy bladed swords.

The vestigial term used with regard to quillons was a reference I was making to a Mexican 'court' sword I have, which has the cross quillons mounted underneath the dish guard. While the sword is certainly made for fashion rather than actual use, the application of both type guards seemed redundant, and I considered the elements vestigial in representation.

The quillons on these military cuphilts, may have perhaps served a limited degree of purpose, but the style of fighting with them was certainly quite different than with the traditional thin bladed cuphilts.

All the best Gonzalo!
Jim
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Old 19th October 2017, 12:01 PM   #171
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Old 27th October 2009, 07:15 AM

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You are right, Jim, I am sorry for not reading well what you meant by 'vestigial', I completely agree with you.
My best regards

Gonzalo
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Old 19th October 2017, 12:01 PM   #172
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Old 28th October 2009, 07:46 PM

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At least i could have the crucifix mark recognized, if still not (yet) identified.
A reputed Catalunian arms dealer has already sold two swords with this mark; both cup hilted and with the same blade inscription. He doesn't know however its origin, although his guess goes for the German provenance.
This is a reasonable guess; zillions of blades were imported from Germany into the peninsula, in a major scale to Spain, in the context. It is also more reasonable to think that blade inscriptions like the one in my example, would be made by German smiths; they were known to fancy writing such phrases in spanish, but couldn't avoid the wrong spellings. I guess there are three errors in the phrase " Min Sinal Hes el Santissimo Crucificio "; and i don't think the reason is that at the time, the orthography of these words was different.

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Old 19th October 2017, 12:01 PM   #173
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Old 29th October 2009, 03:48 AM

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No problem at all Gonzalo In the text of my ramblings and sometimes my choice of words could be better.

Fernando, as we have found over time, and as you have noted, these blades seem likely Solingen produced products for Spain and Portugal during the 18th century. The broad lettering with these mottos, often misspelled, and the crosses or various marks suggest that much as many of the products, certain blades and markings were meant for certain markets. It seems that for some reason, the examples marked 'SAHAGUM' are often spelled 'SAHAGUN", and these from what I recall, often ended up in the Continent, although I have seen examples Spanish Colonial. I have seen blades with this name in broad lettering with different spellings on either side.
Clearly these are German commercial products as noted.

With this being the case, it would seem the use of this style crucifix cross was intended to appeal to the market(s) for these blades, rather than being associated with a specific unit or group using these swords.

With my personal affection for Spanish/Portuguese colonial weapons, and profound weakness for cuphilts, you gotta know I think this is a beauty!!

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Old 19th October 2017, 12:02 PM   #174
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Default rose and crown mark

Old 28th March 2011, 08:51 PM

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hello all i was wondering if anyone knows anything about a rose and crown mark on a hunting sword blade.would this be english? regards napoleon
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Old 19th October 2017, 12:02 PM   #175
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Old 30th March 2011, 03:25 PM

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Jens Nordlunde
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Hello and welcome to the forum,
Could you possible show a picture of the stamp?
I am not very good with European stamps, but there are other who are, and they may be able to help you.
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Old 19th October 2017, 12:03 PM   #176
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Old 15th April 2011, 07:52 AM

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Not being a collector of weapons, but of edged tools, in particular the billhook, I can give some background to this from a different perspective. Early edge tools were made by the individual smith, for local use, and were probably never marked, other than possible decorative or symbolic markings - usually stamped with chisels and serrated gouges.

If the smith was one of a group, or had a wider market, then some form of idenification was used - usually simple marks in the form of a punch the smith could make himself, e.g. cross, star, heart.. Marks were also used on tools such as scythes as a form of quality control so that the individual workers who made that particular blade could be recognised.

In the UK iron and steel tools were often marked in the late 18th century and early 19th with three individual letter stamps - forename, surname and location of the smith. Later, c 1830 - 1850, individual word stamps were used, e.g. JOHN, FUSSELL, MELLS - sometimes stamped upside down, or in the wrong order. Edge tool makers were often also cutlers in the larger centres such as Sheffield, and adopted the trade or guild marks on their edge tools as well..

By 1850 machine cut stamps were being used which allowed all the information to be stamped on in one go... Most edge tool makers also used some form of trademark to denote the quality of their tools - the Crown was used by several as a mark of quality (e.g. by Gilpin, Brades and Swift) probably a reference to best Crown Steel as used by scythe and sickle makers.

A simple recognisable mark was of great advantage in a time when much of the population was illiterate - so many larger European edge tool works also used them, athough in France the vast majority just used a name and town, e.g. ALEXIS A ORLEANS....

Tools made and used in the centre, often Alpine, European countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Northern Italy and Hungary - often previously part of the Autsro-Hungarian Empire), often also have decorated blades - which are believed to be symbolic, e.g. to ward off eveil spirits...

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Old 19th October 2017, 12:03 PM   #177
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Old 15th April 2011, 07:55 AM

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Italian edge tool makers marks (from Roncole e Pennati by Nani Monnelli)

http://www.ciao.it/Roncole_e_pennat...onelli__1720751

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Old 19th October 2017, 12:04 PM   #178
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Old 15th April 2011, 08:01 AM

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Note in 15th century Germany the armourer was often also the edge tool maker.... The following illustration of Niclas Schweitzer (Nicolas the Swiss) who died 18 June 1504.

He was an inmate in an almshouse for retired craftsmen in Nuremberg Germany; one of two that each took 12 brothers. The first set up my Konrad Mendel in 1388, the second by Matthew Landauer in 1511. From 1425 until 1806 each brother had his portrait entered into the house-book, often with a portrayal of his craft.

Note the axe and cleaver to the right of his shop window, the spade at the left and the spears in the centre..

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Old 19th October 2017, 12:05 PM   #179
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Old 15th April 2011, 04:07 PM

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Originally Posted by Billman
... usually simple marks in the form of a punch the smith could make himself, e.g. cross, star, heart.. Marks were also used on tools such as scythes as a form of quality control so that the individual workers who made that particular blade could be recognised ... (Quote)


Like in this Portuguese example?



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Old 19th October 2017, 12:11 PM   #180
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Old 15th April 2011, 10:19 PM

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Yes, although in this case it seems to be decorative rather than for identification (of course it could be both).... Now for the $64,000 question - tool or weapon?? To me it is a very nice early example of a hedging bill - this type is common throughout Europe - I have examples from Wales and France, but they are also found in Spain, Italy and Croatia...

Known in Portugal as a foice, in Spain as a roçadora, in France as a croissant (also a coujard) and in Croatia as a rankun - the shape of the blade varies from region to region, but the back hook to push loose branches back into the hedge is common to all types...

A few illustrations....

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