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Old 1st July 2021, 12:27 PM   #1
Lee
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Question Katzbalger - request for assistance in identifying blade mark

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This katzbalger is from my Collection.

Does anybody know where the inlaid smith's mark comes from?

On both sides is the Upper Reichsapfel sign that I have seen on different German and Swiss Parts from the time around 1510/20.
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Old 2nd July 2021, 06:08 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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This is a positively breathtaking sword!
From what I can find, the cross and orb if I recall, was typically regarded as a South German affectation and used in a kind of talismanic sense I believe, acting as a religious invocation.
In "European Blade Makers, Their Marks" by Staffan Kinman , 2015, there is a remarkably similar mark in the configuration of these 'arms', which seems among many of such type in variation. It seems the same type marking was used from early 16th c. on Swiss weapons, but the same type of armed devices found use in Passau as well.

The mark I refer to also notes it is from unknown maker, as most Passau attributed marks are, and c. 1560-80.

It is a salient point to note that it is mentioned these marks were inlaid in brass (latten).
ref" W.M. Schmid, "Passauer Waffenwesen"
'Zeutschrift fur Historische Waffenkunde", 1902-05; 1918-20
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Old 2nd July 2021, 08:32 PM   #3
df1967
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Default Katzbalger

Thanks for your informative answer, its a very Interessting Field if we try to Figure out where the Marks came from and who was the marker, many work is there still to do….

Attached nice Example of the Passauer Wolf on a Katzbalger and a Reichsapfelmarke on a Bidenhänder from my collection. I do Realy Prefer swords with Marks on it, Even when they often give me more miracles than answers….
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Old 2nd July 2021, 08:35 PM   #4
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BTW, would you also Date the Katzbalger on around 1520?
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Old 3rd July 2021, 01:11 AM   #5
Jim McDougall
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I do not feel qualified enough to specify dating that specifically, but I am inclined to regard this as more to mid or slightly later 16th. As I have noted, the specific notation of latten in many of these markings seems to be a characteristic of these Passau weapons of that period. This applied to the famed running wolf as well which was later adopted by Solingen. It is thought however that the 'wolf' was applied to blades destined to Passau armorers as sort of a brand to a contract .

I know I have been fascinated by finding explanations, names etc. on markings for many years, and even after decades feel I have barely scratched the surface.

Markings such as the running wolf, for example, were never to a specific maker, nor was the cross and orb; anchor; or many such marks. While some marks might have been to a certain maker or shop, records of these may be lost, or perhaps never existed. Mostly such marks were popular talismanic or quality associated marks alluding to the power and protective character of a blade.

Passau in these times was a center for assembly of mercenary forces, including Landsknechts, who would go into service as required, and these men were understandably, quite superstitious. The running wolf itself, is believed an example of what was known as 'Passau art', which might have been a marking on a blade or other type of amulet carried by the soldier into battle (see "Cut and Thrust Weapons", Eduard Wagner, Prague, 1967).
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Old 3rd July 2021, 11:54 AM   #6
fernando
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Welcome to the forum, df1967.
... And thank you so much bringing to us such splendid Katzbalger.
A slight obstacle could be that the inlaid mark is so fragile that parts (ends) of it might have fallen off, making it harder to identify ... at least for those not so knowledgeable, like me .
I assume that the Bidenhänder you show is already identified; a copper inlaid cross and orb of the same type is seen in a Swiss example dated 1580. (courtesy Scheizerischen Landsmuseum).


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Old 3rd July 2021, 12:28 PM   #7
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That’s a stunning katzbalger sword! Very Germanic looking. No doubt it once belonged to someone of great importance.

The orb is a Globus cruciger, a Christian symbol of authority since the Middle Ages. The double cross is a patriarchal cross (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_cross_variants), also called an Archbishop cross. German Erzstift ruled by elect Prince-Archbishops were: Cologne, Mainz, Trier, Bremen, Magdeburg, and Salzburg.

I found a similar trident mark in Zygmunt S. Lenkiewicz, 1000 Marks of European Blademakers (1991), but his identifications seem a bit hit and miss. The bibliography reference is to Gyngel’s Armourers Marks.

There is a double cross orb symbol ascribed to a Solingen smith in both Kinman and Lenkiewicz above, but the orb looks different.
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Last edited by Victrix; 3rd July 2021 at 01:18 PM.
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