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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > European hauberk? Opinions greatly appreciated! Reply to topic
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 77

PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2015 3:47 am    Post subject: European hauberk? Opinions greatly appreciated!         Reply with quote

Hi fellow enthusiasts- I am keen to get some opinions on this item that I have seen for sale on an English dealer's website.

The dealer has this listed as a European mail hauberk, circa 14th-15th century. I have no reason to doubt this, and the dealer is, in my experience, completely trustworthy. My enquiry is simply on the basis that I am totally ignorant when it comes to mail. I have studied a lot of pictures of Indo-Persian, European and Ottoman mail, both in full items and in detail of the links, and am not any the wiser for it. Eek!

My question is- is this a good 14th-15th century European piece, or is it possibly Ottoman/Indo-Persian, or of a different date?

Thanks in advance!



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Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2015 4:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It looks Ottoman to me.
ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2015 6:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yep. Turko-Persian would be my first guess too. Anywhere from 15th to 18th C. The inward-facing point on the overlap is not typical of European mail. Dealers claim that their mail is European because they can get more money for it.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 77

PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2015 7:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan and Matt- thank you very much gents for your thoughts, very much appreciated.

I have been very tempted by this so-called "hauberk" for about a year, and had been thinking about acting on my temptations.

I would be very frustrated to be burnt by buying some 18th century Turkish scrap iron in ropey condition!

Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2015 7:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What size are the links? If the OD is smaller than 8mm then it might still be worth a few hundred dollars even in that condition. If the links are larger than this then it isn't worth much at all. If you want to practice making riveted mail then it might be worth buying it as a restoration project.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Tom Wolfe




Location: East Anglia, England
Joined: 10 Aug 2015

Posts: 77

PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2015 8:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
What size are the links? If the OD is smaller than 8mm then it might still be worth a few hundred dollars even in that condition. If the links are larger than this then it isn't worth much at all. If you want to practice making riveted mail then it might be worth buying it as a restoration project.


Hi Dan

I don't know the size of the links- the dealer hasn't stated. It would look to me like being about 4mm or 3/8 inch. The item is priced on the basis of it being a mediaeval European hauberk, so we're taking $10k+ pricewise. Definitely not a fun restoration project!

I really appreciate your opinion on this- as I say, I could hardly be more ignorant when it comes to mail!

Collector of original 16th-17th century European arms and armour. Would like to collect earlier, but budget doesn't allow- yet!
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2015 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So tell the dealer that it is not European and likely dates later than he thinks. Then offer what you consider to be a fair price. If, as you say, he is reputable and trustworthy, he will be accommodating and adjust his price accordingly. If he was scammed and paid too much for it then he will try to recoup his cost even if it isn't really worth that much.

Those links are not 4mm. There would need to be 250-300 rows for it to be made of links that small. My guess would be 8-10mm OD.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sat 15 Aug, 2015 1:40 am    Post subject: Re: European hauberk? Opinions greatly appreciated!         Reply with quote

Tom Wolfe wrote:
Hi fellow enthusiasts- I am keen to get some opinions on this item that I have seen for sale on an English dealer's website.

The dealer has this listed as a European mail hauberk, circa 14th-15th century. I have no reason to doubt this, and the dealer is, in my experience, completely trustworthy. My enquiry is simply on the basis that I am totally ignorant when it comes to mail. I have studied a lot of pictures of Indo-Persian, European and Ottoman mail, both in full items and in detail of the links, and am not any the wiser for it. Eek!

My question is- is this a good 14th-15th century European piece, or is it possibly Ottoman/Indo-Persian, or of a different date?

Thanks in advance!

Tom, most dealers just do not have enough knowledge of riveted mail links in order to tell with any certainty were the mail originated from. In order to have a better chance of figuring this hauberk out we would need larger resolution images. Can you get some larger images and upload them to a photo gallery such as Photobucket etc and post a link here. Photos of both the inside and outside of the links would be very helpful.
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sat 15 Aug, 2015 10:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Yep. Turko-Persian would be my first guess too. Anywhere from 15th to 18th C. The inward-facing point on the overlap is not typical of European mail. Dealers claim that their mail is European because they can get more money for it.



Dan, from what I have seen, most dealers simply can not tell European riveted mail from the riveted mail of other cultures, just like many forum members with an interest in mail can not, this is way different than being dishonest. The images provided do not prove that the links are inward pointed, non inward pointed links can sometimes appear to be pointed due to lighting and camera angle etc. On the true inward pointed riveted links that I have see, all of the links are very clearly and distinctly pointed. Without better images of the links from this hauberk I do not think you can conclusively say what it is exactly.

Below I have placed arrows pointing so some of the riveted links from this hauberk which do not appear to be pointed.

The second image shows 16th century or earlier Ottoman riveted links, both the inside and outter links. As you can see, they are not inward pointed but they can still be identified as Ottoman and not European due to how they are made.

The bottom image clearly shows what true inward pointed links look like, each and every link has a distinct inward point.

One other note, for all we know, inward pointing riveted mail links may not be Ottoman at all, they could indicate Persian mail or some other near by region, well known auction houses often label inward pointing riveted mail as being "Ottoman" but they do not necessarly know what they are talking about.



16th century or earlier Ottoman riveted links which connect armor plates to each other, these links are very distinctly Ottoman, the difference between these links and European riveted links is very distinct.
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/28/d7/81/28d781b93e85408d2816feca0e25f09c.jpg


Indo-Persian riveted mail links, note how the overlap has a distinct point towardss the inside of the link (inward pointing), this is a feature which does not seem to show up in European riveted mail.
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/0d/ab/81/0dab811e03c6f42b3d80ce3a00e33dc2.jpg
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Sun 16 Aug, 2015 1:32 am    Post subject: Re: European hauberk? Opinions greatly appreciated!         Reply with quote

Eric S wrote:
Tom, most dealers just do not have enough knowledge of riveted mail links in order to tell with any certainty were the mail originated from.

If this were the case then an honest dealer would simply say "unknown origin".

Quote:
One other note, for all we know, inward pointing riveted mail links may not be Ottoman at all, they could indicate Persian mail or some other near by region, well known auction houses often label inward pointing riveted mail as being "Ottoman" but they do not necessarly know what they are talking about

Which is why I specifically said "Turko-Persian". There is a list of possibilites for the origins of this mail. If the list was ordered from "most likely" to "least likely", Western European would be at the bottom of the list.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sun 16 Aug, 2015 1:47 am    Post subject: Re: European hauberk? Opinions greatly appreciated!         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Eric S wrote:
Tom, most dealers just do not have enough knowledge of riveted mail links in order to tell with any certainty were the mail originated from.

If this were the case then an honest dealer would simply say "unknown origin".

Dan, not when the dealer sincerly thinks that they know what they are talking about. I know many dealers who have mis-identified items simply because they were sure that they were correct, these are not people who would purposly mislead a customer, although I am sure there are some dealers who would do that.
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 801

PostPosted: Sun 16 Aug, 2015 1:53 am    Post subject: Re: European hauberk? Opinions greatly appreciated!         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Eric S wrote:
One other note, for all we know, inward pointing riveted mail links may not be Ottoman at all, they could indicate Persian mail or some other near by region, well known auction houses often label inward pointing riveted mail as being "Ottoman" but they do not necessarly know what they are talking about

Which is why I specifically said "Turko-Persian". There is a list of possibilites for the origins of this mail. If the list was ordered from "most likely" to "least likely", Western European would be at the bottom of the list.


Dan, while I do not believe this hauberk is European, I do not see any evidence that it has inward pointing links either. Some better images will show this more accurately.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
Industry Professional



Location: upstate NY
Joined: 10 Nov 2005

Posts: 527

PostPosted: Sun 16 Aug, 2015 3:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have handled mail of that type that has the inward facing points that was so old and badly worn that it was difficult to tell at first glance and even second, and only a few spots where the mail was fresher helped me realize its type. No, they were not patched in bits, either.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2012

Posts: 1,276

PostPosted: Sun 16 Aug, 2015 3:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My guess is that the point is designed to keep rings from hanging at the riveted joint, reducing stress on the splice.
ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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