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Sean Flynt

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Sep, 2014 11:49 am    Post subject: Unusual Messer         Reply with quote

I saw this in the Discovery Museum in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. It caught my eye for many reasons, but there was no useful ID. I think the card said "1400s". I checked the museum's online collections and found this:

"Double-edged, steel blade, slightly curved at the point and having an inlaid (gold ?) cockrel emblem near the tang. The two quillons incorporate a diamond-shaped centre which holds the sheath in position. The grip is wooden, edged in copper with brass rivets and has a fleur de lys shaped pommel, which is a continuation of the grip. The sheath is black leather covered wood with an embossed brass covering on the lower end. It has a wide leather loop on the back which is attached by thonging. From France or Poland, 18th century."

So, French or Polish, 15th or 18th c.! Clearly single-edged, of course. My first thought was East-Central Europe (Austria?) or Eastern Europe, and maybe 17th c. But I think I've seen hilts of that tri-lobate type much earlier in Austrian/German contexts. The coarse stitching of the scabbard does look 18th c.

What are your thoughts?

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Author of the Little Hammer novel
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Jeffrey Faulk

Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Thu 04 Sep, 2014 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It rings my bell as definitely Eastern European in fashion. The hilt style is definitely a Muslim fashion in construction (slabs with a metal fillet about the grip). The chape of the scabbard also appears to have an Islamic influence as well.

Speculatively? Old medieval falchion, or alternatively a backsword ground into a falchion shape, used as a hunting sword. Where it was hilted and/or made is quite another story.

All around, a very interesting piece to be sure!
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Lukasz Papaj

Location: Malbork, Poland
Joined: 09 Mar 2009

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PostPosted: Fri 05 Sep, 2014 5:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

1) It might be both French and Poland, as during XVIII century the Polish diaspora in France begun to grow (including figures like ex-king Stanislaw Leszczynski, seated as Duke of Lorraine )
2) That said, the execution of crossguard is fairly crude to the Polish standards of the era, and those knob terminals make it look like somebody tried to imitate the style using foreign techniques

EDIT: Straight bladed example in lower-right corner

Those are from Muzeum Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw
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Sa'ar Nudel

Location: Haifa, Israel
Joined: 02 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 06 Sep, 2014 4:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The hilt is clear turkish influence, and I had in possesion a straight dagger with an almost identical hilt, having the characters of a kindjal, and finaly idnetified as Serb or Croatian. Minding that messer-like weapons were quite common in that area (also in Hungaria), I think we can put the finger there. South-East Austria of today is close enough, and the entire region was under the Austo-Hungarian/Ottoman dispute for a long time.
Curator of Beit Ussishkin, regional nature & history museum, Upper Galilee.
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