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David Black Mastro




Location: Central NJ
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Sep, 2005 9:50 am    Post subject: What became of Robert E. Howard's sword collection?         Reply with quote

Pulp writer Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan of Cimmeria, Solomon Kane, and a slew of other hard types, had a small sword collection, that, IIRC, included some fencing weapons and military swords & bayonets. What became of this collection after his death?

I'm sure Michael knows the details on this, but if anyone else has pertinent info, feel free to post!

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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Michael G. Myers




Location: El Paso, Texas
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 112

PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2005 7:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leave it to you, David, to pose a question on an angle I had never before considered.

Nope, I have no idea what became of Howard's collection. Needless to say, I too would welcome any information another myArmoury member might have regarding their possible disposition.

My copy of the selected letters volume is with a fellow Howard fan, but offhand I don't recall Howard mentioning giving pieces away in trade, as gifts, or some such. Of course, there are remarks concerning incidents such as attempting to fence with the foils via the facility of empty cartridge cases (also recounted in the de Camp bio) or the odd mention of a new piece. Hmmm. I've honestly never considered the matter.

Your recollection of Howard's known edged collection is accurate, David. Most of the knowledge is culled from Howard's letters and from the reminiscence of certain acquaintances. The latter were compiled by de Camp in most cases, with notable exceptions such as that of Harold Preece. The collection is usually represented as consisting of the ubiquitous "assorted knives and daggers" [for instance, from both Howard letters and de Camp's interviews, we know Howard had carried a large, lock-bladed clasp knife of some sort with which he practiced religiously as a youth in both opening one-handed and throwing], a common Mexican machete, a WWl trench knife (1917 or 1918 is unclear, though de Camp mentions a triangular blade based on others' remembrance which would indicate a 1917), two undefined 'fencing foils', a French 1866 Chassepot bayonet, and at least one "sabre of Civil War vintage".

Worth noting is that in the well known picture showing Howard, Truett Vinson, and Tevis Clyde Smith doing the Musketeer schtick, we can see Truett Vinson clearly holding a sabre. Vintage 1860 or 1840 is impossible for me, at least, to determine. The pronounced branches are fairly clear, however. We can also make out the general description of the blade Smith is posing with as a 1796 variant of some sort; possibly an American Dragoon or some other to judge by the dark colored scabbard at Smith's waist (no real way to tell if the scabbard is blued or if it is simply patina and the photo which make it appear so, any help?). The blade Howard is holding is almost impossible to determine given the quality of the photograph. It's knucklebow (unclear in the scan but obvious in the printed photo) and general outline would definitely fall under the expertise of someone like Stephen Fisher, but the photo and angle are both so poor in this regard that it just doesn't seem liable to certain resolution. The blade in question could be anything from a Civil War NCO sword to a 19th century smallsword to an Espada Ancha! I just don't have a clue. At any rate, the picture adds at least two more possible candidates to the collection.


This is an intriguing question for any Howard fan, David. Dammit. Wink



Yours,

Mike




"In the fight between you and the world, back the world." - Kafka

"Neither flesh, nor fowl, nor good red-herring..."
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David Black Mastro




Location: Central NJ
Joined: 06 Sep 2005
Reading list: 20 books

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Posts: 279

PostPosted: Mon 12 Sep, 2005 10:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael G. Myers wrote:

This is an intriguing question for any Howard fan, David. Dammit. Wink



Yours,

Mike


LOL!

Great pic of Howard & Co. with the swords, Mike.

Now, if you don't know what happened to REH's swords, who does? Wink Big Grin


Best,

David

"Why meddle with us--you are not strong enough to break us--you know that you have won the battle and slaughtered our army--be content with your honor, and leave us alone, for by God's good will only have we escaped from this business" --unknown Spanish captain to the Chevalier Bayard, at the Battle of Ravenna, 1512
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