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Old 18th July 2006, 04:54 PM   #1
Marcus
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Default Spanish Dagger comments please

I just bought this "Castillian Dagger" in Toledo. Believe me, it was hard to find anything in Toledo that was not tourist junk. It has a Toledo mark and is dated 1870. If anyone can offe more insights, I would appreciate it.
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Old 18th July 2006, 10:18 PM   #2
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Marcus,

That looks like it might be a modern reproduction. It is hard to see the tang stamp on the knife. Do you have a better image?

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Old 18th July 2006, 10:35 PM   #3
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Default mark

I believe the dealer was very reputable. We talked for an hour. He knew the difference between old and new and did not misrepresent his pieces. He did tell me that he thought the inlays that look like bone were probably bakelite or some other early synthetic.
Here is another picture of the proof mark.
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Old 18th July 2006, 10:45 PM   #4
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It's an "Albacete" dagger, named such because this pattern is considered typical from the city of Albacete, in the actual Spanish region of Castilla La Mancha
The pictures are not clear enough to pass a truly accurate judgement about the age of this specimen, but if its indeed old, the style would coincide with the second half of the 19th. - beginning of 20th centuries.
I would not place much hope in the blade's inscriptions. Decoration on these blades used to be punched with geometrical patterns of dots or etched with foliage and inscriptions. Featuring the manufaturing date is not unheard of, but it normally appars as an etching. The "Toledo" mark is even more spurious. In short, they are good candidates to be later additions.

Despite of this, if it's indeed old it's a nice exemplar. My congratulations on actually finding a weapon really worth buying in the city, it's not easy, as you've already pointed out. And the few places with some genuine material are freakingly expensive...
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Old 19th July 2006, 05:50 AM   #5
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Thank you Marc. By the way, the dealer's name is Julio Linares Graciani.

My wife and I are on our first visit to Spain and will soon go on to Barcelona. Are there shops or districts there you might recomend I visit? I collect edged weapons but my greater interest is in antique pistols.
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Old 19th July 2006, 10:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
Thank you Marc. By the way, the dealer's name is Julio Linares Graciani.

My wife and I are on our first visit to Spain and will soon go on to Barcelona. Are there shops or districts there you might recomend I visit? I collect edged weapons but my greater interest is in antique pistols.


Yes, near the Synagogue of Santa Marķa la Blanca, I know the shop...

On the other hand, sadly, in the few years that have passed since I left Barcelona, the two most important antique shops specialized in arms and armour have closed their showrooms. They're not out of business, but now you can't just walk in... anyway, if you have time and your wife is in the right mood, you could make a stop at the Army Museum in Montjuļch Castle, or the Ethnological Museum, which is relatively close.
While in Madrid, and related to the Arms and Armour field, don't miss, in this order, The Royal Armouries (in the Royal Palace), the Naval Museum, the Ethnological Museum, the Lįzaro Galdeano Museum (I think the Arms and Armour section is only open in the weekends, phone them to check), the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan (only by appointment) or the Cerralbo Museum. Any touristic guide worth its salt should fill you in with the details of the places I mentioned...
Send me a PM if you plan to visit the Archaeological Museum, by the way.
Oh, and, please, enjoy your stay I hope these days' heat wave isn't making things too difficult...
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Old 20th July 2006, 08:33 AM   #7
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Hi Marcus,

Not2sharp has summed it up pretty neatly. It is a dagger in the Albacete pattern, but its date of manufacture is a puzzle. If the inserts are indeed synthetic, as you suspect, (the handle looks too white to be bone) then that would date is as post WWI and daggers such as your were still being manufactured as late as 1960 for the tourist trade. I also find that "1870" highly suspect, and by way of comment can add that the practice of falsifying dates of manufacture as well as brands was not uncommon amongst Spanish cutlers. The all too ubiquitous "Toledo" can be found in any number of junk Spanish navajas, knives and swords, being a generic brand intended to beguile tourists, trading on the justly famous reputation of the sword blades manufactured in that city before the 20th cntry.

I could not identify the logo-brand from my books

Is the blade hardened?

Cheers
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Old 20th July 2006, 07:15 PM   #8
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Default Is the blade hardened?

Chris,
As far as I can tell it is good steel. It has a nice sharp edge. However, I think Julio himself questioned the date. I can certainly believe that the stampings were added later to try to create a history for the piece. Anyway, when I get back to the states I will show it to my blacksmith friend and let you know what he says.
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Old 20th July 2006, 07:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
Chris,
As far as I can tell it is good steel. It has a nice sharp edge. However, I think Julio himself questioned the date. I can certainly believe that the stampings were added later to try to create a history for the piece. Anyway, when I get back to the states I will show it to my blacksmith friend and let you know what he says.
Marcus


Marcus,

There is a real one for sale at

Tienda:
Av. Paluzie, 12
17800 Olot (Girona) SPAIN
Tel.: (+34) 972 26 13 58

It is on their website here:
http://www.infobase.net/sala/index3.html

If you are still in the neighborhood; stop by and they will be able to help you identify your knife.

n2s
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Old 20th July 2006, 10:28 PM   #10
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Default what fits in the suitcase (and budget)

That is a really beautiful piece. However, what I bought is also pretty nice for only 85 euros (10% the price). In any case, it was certainly the nicest affordable piece I saw in Toledo. I only buy big ticket items when I can really afford the train fare.
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Old 21st July 2006, 02:34 AM   #11
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Hi Marcus,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
Chris,
As far as I can tell it is good steel. It has a nice sharp edge. However, I think Julio himself questioned the date. I can certainly believe that the stampings were added later to try to create a history for the piece. Anyway, when I get back to the states I will show it to my blacksmith friend and let you know what he says.
Marcus


The reason I asked is because it is very hard to stamp a hardened blade, at least to the depth of that "1870".

Be that as it may, you did not do badly at all for the price you paid because it is obviously handmade and E85 is small change in Spain for anything.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 21st July 2006, 02:38 AM   #12
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Hi Not2sharp,

Quote:
Originally Posted by not2sharp
Marcus,

There is a real one for sale at

Tienda:
Av. Paluzie, 12
17800 Olot (Girona) SPAIN
Tel.: (+34) 972 26 13 58

It is on their website here:
http://www.infobase.net/sala/index3.html

If you are still in the neighborhood; stop by and they will be able to help you identify your knife.

n2s



I just would like to give them an endorsement - They are a real nice outfit. I had dealings with them over the years. Their prices are very reasonable and the description of the goods accurate. What is more, the owner speaks and writes English fluently. Now if I could only afford one of those magnificent rapiers......

Cheers
Chris
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Old 22nd July 2006, 10:21 AM   #13
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Default ALBACETE DAGGER

I THINK IS A MODERN DAGGER, I HAVE ONE LIKE THIS, BUT WITHOUT MARKS, IT“S THE SAME. AND THE PRICE IS TOO LOW , IN TOLEDO AN AUTENTIC ALBACETE DAGGER COST MORE OF 300 EUROS. IT“S ONLY MY OPINION.
THANKS
CARLOS
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Old 23rd July 2006, 07:58 AM   #14
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Default The cut outs

Does anyone know what the purpose was for the cut-outs in the blades of these daggers?
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Old 23rd July 2006, 10:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus
Does anyone know what the purpose was for the cut-outs in the blades of these daggers?
Marcus


The shifty eyed ones will suggest that the cutout would be coated with poison, or used to inject air (promote gangerine) into the wound, or perhaps there to ease the extraction of the knife. None of which make much sense since someone locked into that level of combat would very much like to see his opponent die immediately rather then within hours, days, or weeks from some desease or toxin. Most likely they were 1) a decorative device, and 2) used by the bladesmith to ease the manufacture of the knife. The cutouts do not appear on all Abacete daggers.

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Old 23rd July 2006, 07:19 PM   #16
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Default Barcelona collection

I got to the military museum in Barcelona today (after all the Picasso exhibits earlier this week, it was my wife's turn to be patient). Here are pictures of similar weapons from their collection. Most have the cut out. One has a metal (brass?) insert in the cut out.
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Old 24th July 2006, 06:23 AM   #17
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The metal insert would have been a "bodkin" used as a crossbar to limit blade penetration.

Notice the sword all the way on the right (yes, all three shown in illustration are specialized hunting swords):



This was particularly useful when you wanted to be able to control dangerous game; to keep them at a distance rather then having them ride up the blade to within striking range. It doesn't make much sense on a knife; although, these daggers evolved from the hunting plug bayonet, so it may have been a stylistic element retained from the earlier form.

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Old 24th July 2006, 08:05 AM   #18
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Default Bodkin

N2S,
I thought it looked rather like a plug bayonet when I first saw it. For hunting, you say? I suppose after you took your one shot you had to do something if the Boar wasn't down.
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Old 24th July 2006, 08:40 AM   #19
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In this kind of daggers, the cutouts are decorative, as are the brass inserts in some of them. They tend not to be attached very securely, so the majority of them have been lost over time.

I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to the Montjüich Castle museum.
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Old 24th July 2006, 02:21 PM   #20
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Default Albacete dagger

I also saw a nice authentic one in a high level shop in Barcelona today. It had a brass insert in the cut out. Its price was, as predicted, E300.
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