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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Sun 04 Oct, 2009 1:28 am    Post subject: custom Spanish rapier from Toledo         Reply with quote

Friends,
I was recently in Toledo, that fabled sword-making city, determined to stock up on wall-hangers. Instead, I came away with this rapier, which (I was told) was made by a local smith early in his career -- the uncle of the shop's manager. I don't have any reason, at the moment, for disbelieving that claim.




It's an unfamiliar hilt design, and one would think it's a fantasy piece like many swords now made in Toledo, except that this rapier is virtually identical to one in the Armeria Real Madrid, attributed to the famous Count-Duke of Olivares. (That includes the non-tapered ricasso, which I thought at first was a design flaw.) I can't but think this sword is a specific replica of the Olivares rapier, though the manager/nephew himself seemed unaware of it.
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Hector Mendoza





Joined: 14 Oct 2006

Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun 04 Oct, 2009 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since I learned they made swords there I've wanted to visit Toledo.

May I ask, how much did you pay for that sword?
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Oct, 2009 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very unfamiliar hit design for sure, but the blade looks incredibly vicious.

M.

This space for rent or lease.
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Sun 04 Oct, 2009 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

* I suppose what makes the hilt look visually arresting is the disc, with its crown-like rim. Without that rim, it resembles some more sober-looking dish-hilt rapiers. The serrations looks like they would catch an opposing rapier point nicely. From my brief tour through a number of Spanish museums, I get the impression that disc-hilt rapiers weren't common in 17thc Spain, and that this design might've originated elsewhere (eg. Germany).

For those wishing to compare, a photo and description of the Olivares original in the Armeria Real appears in:
Armería del Palacio Real de Madrid. 1987. ISBN 8471201186
Note that the edition I have is in French, even though it retains its original Spanish title.

* Hector, it cost about what a comparable Del Tin would. I saw some of this maker's more recent work; much higher in price, but not much higher in quality.
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Oct, 2009 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Ruel, looks like a nice sword!

May I ask who the maker was? Or the shop where you bought it? I visited Toledo a few years ago, and did quite a bit of research on makers there. I came to the conclusion back then that there were a lot of makers, but only very few reasonably good ones.

Have you tried disassembling your sword yet? It's almost certainly a screw-on pommel (nothing wrong with that) but I'm interested in the tang construction.
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Paul,

* I didn't get a name on the maker, but the shop was called, rather generically, Artesanía de Toledo or some such; if you'll give me time to look through my papers, I'll get an exact name and address for you. My impression was the same as yours regarding the craft there -- I didn't find many bona fide makers, though their decorative craftsmen (gold damascene, enamelling, jewel-setting) were top rate. Indeed, I went there hoping to stock up on decorative wallhangers, so was pleased to find a "custom" sword for not much more. If I'd been there longer, I probably would've left the sword with a local damascene artisan to dress up the hilt.

* I hadn't tried dismounting it yet, and it's currently with fellow forumite Tom Carr to have a scabbard made. I'm certain as well that it can be unscrewed from the pommel, and that its tang will prove to be almost a rat-tail in width -- I don't see how it can't be, given that the ricasso doesn't taper. But again, that's a feature present in the original, so that was probably an intentional choice. The ricasso is fairly thick, so I'm hoping the tang is thick to, to help compensate for its narrowness. Fortunately, the rapier as a whole didn't show any indication of structural weakness in any of my dry handling.

* When you were in Toledo, had the Army Museum reloctaed there yet? Probably my biggest disappointment of that entire trip was finding that this museum (and the entire Alcazar) was closed for renovation, and that I didn't get to study its extensive arms and armor collection.
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Oct, 2009 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Artesanía de Toledo does not ring a bell immediately. I would appreciate it if you could find the name, but it's not so important.

When I was there, the army museum was still in Madrid, but I didn't have the chance to visit it then either, unfortunately...

I also bought a sword there, from a small souvenir-type shop. I think it was made by a company called "Swords from Toledo", www.swordsfromtoledo.com, but I'm not 100% sure. If you are interested, I posted a review and some pictures here: http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t...ght=colada
It's quite a while since I wrote it though, and now have a different perspective on some things.
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