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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Medieval Sword - Fake or Real? *Updated Pics* Reply to topic
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David Davidson





Joined: 21 Apr 2013

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 3:07 am    Post subject: Medieval Sword - Fake or Real? *Updated Pics*         Reply with quote

I was at a local auction today (I’m in Australia) where they had an amazing piece – A 15th Century Medieval Sword. The (unlisted) reserve was not met and it is now in negotiations which I am interested in. This is the description below and I also have some pictures too. Would you be able to give any opinion on what a good price would be to purchase this? I’ve never seen anything of this sort in Australia before. Of course there is also the question of authenticity. It does not come with a COA, but has been with the same family for decades and was brought back from overseas. Do you think it looks as old as claims? Can't find anything on Google on why it would have the date written on the sword though - seems suspicious?

Crusader look with blade inscribed to both sides “MOGUNTIA : A: D: 1492” with sword maker’s mark & “Running Wolf” in gilt inlay & a further gilt inlaid “orb” (circle and cross). Blade with shallow fuller & the hilt with flower-shaped pommel & the cross quillons with bud and urn shaped ends.

Classification: Type XVIII
BLADE Length: 80cm
Pommel : V
Cross Style: 4

There is reminiscences that there may have been gold on the handle.

Display
http://imageshack.us/a/img341/2418/pic1zk.jpg

Handle
Front http://imageshack.us/a/img41/88/pic2to.jpg
Back http://imageshack.us/a/img266/1903/img1182i.jpg

Blade Markings
Front http://imageshack.us/a/img805/3199/pic4os.jpg - running wolf
Back http://imageshack.us/a/img221/8673/pic5r.jpg - orb

Blade Writing
Front http://imageshack.us/a/img694/3970/pic3ce.jpg
Back http://imageshack.us/a/img19/8484/img1185ft.jpg

Blade Point
http://imageshack.us/a/img51/380/img1189o.jpg

(Smaller variations below)








Last edited by David Davidson on Sun 21 Apr, 2013 9:07 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Peter Johnsson
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Location: Storvreta, Sweden
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 4:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that could possibly be a genuine theatric sword of the 19th century.

Or to allow a more sinister interpretation: a blatant fake.

One thing is certain. It is *not* a medieval sword.

It is made up of composite parts.
The blade may be a genuine antique, but it is not dated to the 15th century. Many later period sword blades from Solingen had numeric inscriptions in the blade. The blade *might* be a 17th century Solingen blade. The words that are etched into the fuller are added later to make it look like something it is not. I think the "date" is part of the modern etching and if so it does not say anything about age, but rather prove the sword is a modern contraption. If you look carefully you can see the raw bite of the acid in the groves of the lettering. This is the typical result of a strong acid biting into steel. Originally such an inscription would have been cut into the blade with chisels, stamps or gravers. Normally the inscription would also have been inlayed with yellow metal.

The guard is pure fantasy. That might have been taken from a theater prop or a souvenir piece, or possible have been made to dress up that blade to look like something medieval.
The pommel looks cast to me. There are original swords with pommels like that, but I think this is a replica of such a pommel. Possible cast from a mold taken from an original sword. Difficult to say from looking at a photograph.

The grip is also modern. Probably made at the same time as the grip. It is very curious in its shape, made to look somewhat like 15th century sword grips, but missing the goal by a wide margin. It is also distressed and antiqued to look old.
This might not have been made with a sinister intention originally. Perhaps the sword was made to look like an antique, but originally was sold as a replica. It has a 19th century or early 20th century feel to it.
Over time its true identity has been lost and it is now being described as something that it is not. This process can have taken place with good faith and no ill intent.

It does not change the fact it is a modern piece. A composite of parts where only the blade possibly has some age to it. The etching of the fake lettering has in any case destroyed any value the blade might have had as an antique, but it is a nice blade all the same, as in being a good sword blade.
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David Davidson





Joined: 21 Apr 2013

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 4:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Peter, that is an exceptional reply. Thank you so much for the detailed information. Not what I would have liked to hear, but it did seem a little too good to be true.
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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any luck on interpreting the blade inscription? To my eyes it looks like:
"MOCUNTIA:A:D:1892", preceded by a makers mark (alchemical looking thing, mars or mercury?)
Mocuntia may be bowdlerized "Mogontiacum", being Mainz Germany back during the Roman days.

Maybe this thing is contemporary with Ernst Schmidt and the industry/market he served, a collector's repro of reasonable or even high quality, styled for the late 19 C Medieval Revival tastes. If we could ID the maker this piece might be of some historical value, tho something quite different from the original interest here.

Cheers!
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Blaz Berlec




Location: Podgorje, Kamnik, Slovenia, Europe
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, that's a gothic 4, it spells "MOCUNTIA : A : D : 1492".

Could the "Mocuntia" be Spanish or Portugese "translation" of the city name Mainz? I googled the name in a Portugese book about early editions of printed bible, and it lists one of the editions as EDIÇÃO DE MOCUNTIA (Mocuntia edition, 1462), among the German bibles.

Not that it helps authenticating the blade. Happy


Extant 15th Century German Gothic Armour
Extant 15th century Milanese armour
Arming doublet of the 15th century
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Cornelis Tromp




Location: Holland
Joined: 03 Jan 2010

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sorry but I can not agree with the opinions as above.

I've seen pictures of this sword a few years ago, I think it's an authentic sword

it is likely a sword from the 15th century, with a re-used 14th century blade of type XIIIa.

the pommel and cross are not surprising for the period , both, the pommel and the guard can be found on historical examples.

see for example the sword of carlosV in real madrid armeria.
for guard with similar finals and fish tail pommel.

MACUNTIA is indeed mainz, this, together with the year 1492 has been engraved in the older blade later.

there are Original 14thC inlays in the blade a running wolf and orb, inlayed/hammered in brass.

best,
Jasper



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Craig Johnson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 1:42 pm    Post subject: Swords of this style         Reply with quote

The gothic revival period was quite enamoured of this style of sword. The blade may be of the period but I feel the hilt is of the 19th Century. Peter covered the issues well. Some of the details that stand out to me include the form of the grip, which appears to be made in the style of a grip for a larger sword. This piece is only 31 inches long if the spec is correct. The placement of the rings on the grip are incorrect for a sword meant to be used and would only be on a grip that was long enouch for two handed use. If the length listed is correct I expect this grip would be quite uncomfortable.

The guard does have elements of the period swords but also exhibits elements that are usually associated with the later replicas of the gothis revival.

It is always a challenge to understand a piece with out the sword in hand. But I see several points that cause pause on this item.

Best
Craig
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Eric W. Norenberg





Joined: 18 Jul 2008

Posts: 265

PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blaz, thanks for clarifying the gothic "4", your post made me go back and read all of the original post, apologies to all for being foggy-headed while posting...(won't happen again, of course)!

Cornelis, what do you make of the "foot" or pedestal on the top (grip side) of the cross? I've never noticed that on other genuine medieval swords, it's the kind of thing that folks often point out as a stylistic error on certain modern reproductions. Seems a hard shape to forge, putting the casting process in mind... any precedent for casting of this kind of cross in the 15th C.?


Last edited by Eric W. Norenberg on Mon 22 Apr, 2013 9:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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David Davidson





Joined: 21 Apr 2013

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks everyone! I have some more and larger pictures if these might be helpful.

There is reminiscences that there may have been gold on the handle.

Display
http://imageshack.us/a/img341/2418/pic1zk.jpg

Handle
Front http://imageshack.us/a/img41/88/pic2to.jpg
Back http://imageshack.us/a/img266/1903/img1182i.jpg

Blade Markings
Front http://imageshack.us/a/img805/3199/pic4os.jpg - running wolf
Back http://imageshack.us/a/img221/8673/pic5r.jpg - orb

Blade Writing
Front http://imageshack.us/a/img694/3970/pic3ce.jpg
Back http://imageshack.us/a/img19/8484/img1185ft.jpg

Blade Point
http://imageshack.us/a/img51/380/img1189o.jpg
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
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Posts: 481

PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not an expert at all, but the whole hilt looks quite overbuilt for the blade--and displays none of the usual fluidity of lines or thinner, proportional elegance that can be seen with a cursory search for weapons of almost any period.
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cornelis Tromp wrote:
I
the pommel and cross are not surprising for the period , both, the pommel and the guard can be found on historical examples.r


Note how the cross guard on the piece in question has a section extending in towards the hilt. This to me is a sign that it may have been cast, while I am under the impression that originals were most likely forged and formed. None of the specimens you show exhibit a similar 'ring' atop the cross guard. This seems to be the sign of a reproducer's mistake and remnants of casting.

Both the pommel and cross guard also exhibit quite hefty qualities. It would be interesting to know the weight of the specimen to compare to period examples... Victorian era reproductions were often far heavier than originals.

-Gregory
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David Davidson





Joined: 21 Apr 2013

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 8:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gregory J. Liebau wrote:

Both the pommel and cross guard also exhibit quite hefty qualities. It would be interesting to know the weight of the specimen to compare to period examples... Victorian era reproductions were often far heavier than originals.

-Gregory

I wish I knew the exact weight.. but holding it yesterday I would say it was at a very maximum of 2kg


Last edited by David Davidson on Sun 21 Apr, 2013 9:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 8:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's very heavy for a sword of this sort. It should be closer to 1kg, perhaps slightly more, but not by much at this length.

I'd definitely ask to have it weighed. If it's really even very close to the 2kg mark then there's far too much mass for an 80cm sword. I suspect it's mainly in those fittings, which look cast... Also check the balance point if you can. Properly it would be at least a few centimeters out into the blade.

-Gregory
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David Davidson





Joined: 21 Apr 2013

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 9:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh gee I just noticed that 'Length: 80cm'. I screwed that up. It should be 'BLADE LENGTH 80CM'
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 9:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Even so... Late medieval swords with a total length often well over 100cm would weight substantially less than 2kg. In fact many swords right in the ballpark of a meter in length could weigh right in at a kilogram. This blade looks relatively substantial down its length, so I wouldn't doubt that it weighs in at nearly 1.5kg, but if it's much more than that and the balance point is almost at the hilt then I'd reckon things are very amiss...

-Gregory
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Apr, 2013 11:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm certainly no expert..but there's one thing that makes me suspicious, if I'm reading it correctly. The 'date" on the blade, to me..is reading A.D. 1492 ?? Back then..would anyone have written a date on an object, prefaced by AD ??. I *can" imagine a late 19th, early 20th C 'reproduction" using an old, un-engraved blade being marked in such a way to add 'more ' authenticity ?? Also..is there any indication of how the pommel is attached..peened, or screwed on ??
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David Davidson





Joined: 21 Apr 2013

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PostPosted: Mon 22 Apr, 2013 1:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I might be able to go take another look at it. I can check the exact weight, but any other things which someone help might recommend inspecting?

I was also provided this image which shows a bit more of a similar looking (authentic) sword if it has any bearing

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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Mon 22 Apr, 2013 2:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it would be worth acquiring this sword, provided that it be paid as an historismus item and no more.

Further investigations could be taken by carbon dating the leather of the grip, as long as it be feasible from an economical point of view.

I would contact for that an australian archeology faculty.
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David Davidson





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PostPosted: Mon 22 Apr, 2013 4:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I heard back from the dealer and the owner wants at a minimum $14000, so still going to be an expensive piece regardless.
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Cornelis Tromp




Location: Holland
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Apr, 2013 5:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric W. Norenberg wrote:

Cornelius, what do you make of the "foot" or pedestal on the top (grip side) of the cross? I've never noticed that on other genuine medieval swords, it's the kind of thing that folks often point out as a stylistic error on certain modern reproductions. Seems a hard shape to forge, putting the casting process in mind... any precedent for casting of this kind of cross in the 15th C.?


Gregory J. Liebau wrote:

Note how the cross guard on the piece in question has a section extending in towards the hilt. This to me is a sign that it may have been cast, while I am under the impression that originals were most likely forged and formed. None of the specimens you show exhibit a similar 'ring' atop the cross guard. This seems to be the sign of a reproducer's mistake and remnants of casting.
-Gregory


@Eric
@Gregory
This "foot" reinforces the suspicion that the hilt is from the end of the 15th century, made ​​in 1492.
this is a feature that frequently occurs at the end of the 15th century (last 2 decades) on cinquedeas, katzbalgers, swords, and messer guards !

see fe the 15thC hybride sword/messer http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?...ght=messer

post #22


furthermore in the updated pictures you can clearly see the difference between the older and newer "marks" in the the 14thC XIIIA blade.
both technique and handwriting differ.

the older marks; the Passau Wolf and the Orbs,here the brass inlay is hammerd in and anchored with short transverse wire.

The later engraving is much coarser and never had an inlay.


best regards
Jasper


Last edited by Cornelis Tromp on Mon 22 Apr, 2013 5:54 am; edited 2 times in total
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