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Ricardo S.





Joined: 23 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 8:22 am    Post subject: Help with a war sword.         Reply with quote

Hi, does anyone knows which auction house sold this sword? Thank you.

Description:

An Extremely Rare and Important German Medieval sword (Passau?) circa 1300
Double edged blade grooved on both sides, a central brass inlaid crook mark on either side. Straight quillons, wooden grip covered with leather. The iron wheel shaped pommel inlaid with a brass eagle and a brass lily. Length 112 cm.
Lit.: R.Ewart Oakeshott; 'The Sword in the age of Chivalry', 1964, pp. 41 and 95. Type X-a.

Images attached below.



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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know but that really is an attractive sword. I wonder if that really is brass or bronze? The brass? detailing is very nice.
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Ricardo S.





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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 11:57 am    Post subject: War sword         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
I don't know but that really is an attractive sword. I wonder if that really is brass or bronze? The brass? detailing is very nice.


Indeed that is a magnificent sword. All inlays are brass. Happy

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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 7:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Indeed its a nice looking sword, but I'd be cautious about its authenticity. It just doesn't look right to me.
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Peter Johnsson
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Nov, 2011 12:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am also not convinced about its authenticity.
It has the same character as many swords that has surfaced over the last few years, being sold on various auction houses.

To me it seems someone is very busy changing our history by producing spanking new medieval swords.
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Josh S





Joined: 15 Oct 2011

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PostPosted: Tue 15 Nov, 2011 1:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree. My first impression was that I like the blade -looks a little wide towards the tip but not too excessively so- but the grip and, in particular, pommel look a little blockish to me. Then again, not every historical sword was perfect Happy
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 15 Nov, 2011 1:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a nice looking sword, but the fleur-de-lis makes me wonder about it, too. This particular design on the pommel seems a little too neat, the same way a Crusade sword with a pommel on the cross is a little too neat. I know the fleur-de-lis was a medieval symbol, but it still feels a bit "off" here. Also, the bronze around the edge of the pommel and on the guard seems a bit wrong.
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Danny Grigg





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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2011 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a war sword.         Reply with quote

Ricardo S. wrote:
Hi, does anyone knows which auction house sold this sword? Thank you.

Description:

An Extremely Rare and Important German Medieval sword (Passau?) circa 1300
Double edged blade grooved on both sides, a central brass inlaid crook mark on either side. Straight quillons, wooden grip covered with leather. The iron wheel shaped pommel inlaid with a brass eagle and a brass lily. Length 112 cm.
Lit.: R.Ewart Oakeshott; 'The Sword in the age of Chivalry', 1964, pp. 41 and 95. Type X-a.

Images attached below.


I think its this auction house:

http://www.hessink.nl/index.html

Danny
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2011 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wel, I trust you guys, I must have been tricked!

I, too, thought the fleur de lis looked odd, but other-wise it looked fine so. . .
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Ricardo S.





Joined: 23 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 2:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with a war sword.         Reply with quote

[quote="Danny Grigg"]
Ricardo S. wrote:


I think its this auction house:

http://www.hessink.nl/index.html

Danny


thank you very much Danny

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Ricardo S.





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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting thoughts guys, thank you. Do you have any more information about this sword? Could it be one of those carefully preserved indoors? Could the date be wrong?

Ps: i'm sending the other side of the pommel attached bellow.

Take care everyone.



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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Strange that the description calls it an Xa, and then refers to pages of Oakeshott that provide general descriptions of XIII swords and disc/wheel pommels.

My original suspicion about this sword was not based on its good condition per se. There are very well accepted swords in better condition than this. My hero Oakeshott always said you cannot judge a sword by its condition. My initial suspicion was rather an overall gut feeling that it did not look right. Trying to analyze that impression, I think its a due to a collection of features that are both unusual in themselves and unsual in combination, plus a few red flags:

The overall outline of the sword is typical XIII, but if you look at the blade, its not a typical XIII. It does not have the geometry one expects in the profile and tip, and possibly thickness (from what one can tell from the shading in the photo). The blade profile looks more like an earlier Xa, although the fuller is about midway between the typical length of an XIII and and Xa. One might speculate that a more modern hilt was put on an older blade, but I doubt they would lengthen the tang, and why would someone put such a kingly hilt on such a plain old blade? A type 2 cross is pretty typical on XIII swords, but this one is on the thickish side (which one sees more often on sword replicas than real swords). The preserved handle is not unknown, but is unlikely. The gilding (perhaps not the right word) on the cross is very unusual. The matching pommel decorations are relatively rare for such a simple warsword. I don't know this particular fleur de lis symbol, but others have questioned it above. Together these decorative features of this general type are quite unusual in real medieval swords, although apparently commonin 19th century fakes (sword fakers can't seem to resist making things look special). Then there's the overall condition - a very uniform light pitting, from what one can see. This could be from hanging up a long time indoors, but one also sees patterns this in known fakes.

None of this is proof - but as a collection of unusual features, multiplying out all the very low probabilities, and dividing by the suspicious features, one is left with a very very very low probability that this is a real medieval sword.

However, I'm not a professional in these matters, I'm just an enthusiast who has spent years staring at pictures of swords in books and on the interent, collecting replicas good and bad, and alas, occassionally peering at originals through glass.

Only laboratory tests could show for sure.
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Ricardo S.





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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2011 8:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow Mr. Crawford, thats a good deal of information. Thank you very much. Indeed the descriptions they provide at the auction houses are often wrong or misleading. I shall carefully to study what you told about this sword and try to identify the points in question. Since your knowledge about the matter is much greater than mine (and the other fellows are suspicious also) i will consider that probably this sword is a fake. Thank you again for taking time to answer my questions in such detail.
Take care.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov, 2011 6:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The inlaid twisted wire around the faces of the guard and pommel is extremely odd and not the kind of decoration usually seen. I'm dubious about the hilt.
Happy

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov, 2011 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not 100% confident about it, but the two pommel side designs; fleur de lis, and the German eagle don't seem to logically belong together. I could understand if the blade had been rehilted that the pomel design might not fit with a blade design, but the pommel should have been done at one time.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Ricardo S.





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PostPosted: Fri 25 Nov, 2011 7:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
The inlaid twisted wire around the faces of the guard and pommel is extremely odd and not the kind of decoration usually seen. I'm dubious about the hilt.


Interesting Mr. Arnow. Thank you for the information. What kind of decoration would be the usual? This twisted wire inlay is typical from what period?

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Ricardo S.





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PostPosted: Fri 25 Nov, 2011 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I'm not 100% confident about it, but the two pommel side designs; fleur de lis, and the German eagle don't seem to logically belong together. I could understand if the blade had been rehilted that the pomel design might not fit with a blade design, but the pommel should have been done at one time.


Mr. Smith this is a most peculiar and relevant point. Thank you. It is quite likely that sword is a fake or something like that.

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 25 Nov, 2011 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ricardo S. wrote:


Mr. Smith this is a most peculiar and relevant point. Thank you. It is quite likely that sword is a fake or something like that.


I agree it is a peculiar way of looking at it, but it's probably relevant.

It looks roughly plausible to be an 11th through 14th century era style of sword. During that era, the two designs on opposite sides of the pommel were competing allegiances. You might find owners affiliated with both of those designs at one location; such as William Marshal and visiting English companions seeking tournament employ as far East as Cologne, which is mentioned as actually happening in period texts. However, for one owner to openly display both allegiances at one time would have been in poor taste, if not politically risky. I looked through an external hard drive of period art, book images, etc, and even checked some heraldry designs for border regions such as Alsace Lorraine, Luxemburg, etc where individuals would have had associations with both of these. The examples I have typically chose the Imperial Arms / Eagle, or a neutral image such as the cross of Lorraine. A trefoil is often on the Imperial Arms, but it is not the distinctive fleur de lis design that we see on the pommel. Mixing the two was very rare, if it was even done. If the sword is authentic, the unusual mixture of designs might help identify its providence.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Ricardo S.





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PostPosted: Mon 28 Nov, 2011 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Smith, again you amazes me, thats a nice amount of evidence that we are talking about a fake. The points you have enunciated are, in my opinion, very relevant. But i wonder if there is at least a tiny chance this sword is an original collection of oddities... But yet again i remember the points you brought to light and i grow even more dubious about the sword. Thank you very much.
Take care.

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Cornelis Tromp




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PostPosted: Tue 29 Nov, 2011 7:10 am    Post subject: Re: Help with a war sword.         Reply with quote

Ricardo S. wrote:
Hi, does anyone knows which auction house sold this sword? Thank you.

Description:

An Extremely Rare and Important German Medieval sword (Passau?) circa 1300
Double edged blade grooved on both sides, a central brass inlaid crook mark on either side. Straight quillons, wooden grip covered with leather. The iron wheel shaped pommel inlaid with a brass eagle and a brass lily. Length 112 cm.
Lit.: R.Ewart Oakeshott; 'The Sword in the age of Chivalry', 1964, pp. 41 and 95. Type X-a.

Images attached below.


HI,
it is indeed sold by Hessink for Euro 28960, -

This auctionhouse has gone bankrupt in february last year!

Euro 28960,- is a lot of money, I would like to advise the owner to have all the metal to be tested for authenticity, and if necessary also have the patina tested. Take the sword to a reliable well known auction house (Thomas del Mar, Bonhams) and remove the later grip and see what is under it.


There are three possibilities:

1. The sword is authentic with 19th century decoration; roping, pommel plates and tang knob.

2. The sword is a forgery.(made from old steel?)

3. The sword is authentic.

In my humble opinion 3 is the least likely, but that you have never seen it means nothing unless you have seen them all, those hundreds of thousands of swords (Oakeshott)

I leave all three options open.

best,
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