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Don Dillon




Location: United States
Joined: 16 Dec 2019

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon 16 Dec, 2019 10:43 pm    Post subject: Assistance with a ID'ing an axe         Reply with quote

I am new to the forum, though in need of assistance. I have an axe head that has been in our family for over 30 years. My father is an antique arms collector (mostly US Civil and Rev War) and came across this piece through a very close family friend. The friend was a WWII veteran and claimed that he had picked up the axe head outside of a bombed out museum in Germany. He brought it home with him and it stayed in his collection until he sold it to my father. My father had already found a buyer for the axe though his 10 year old son (me) was convinced it was a knight's axe and he ended it giving it to me. Over the years we have had a couple amateur medieval collectors look at the axe and both felt strongly that it was not medieval axe. One thought at best it was a victorian era reproduction (wall hanger), while another thought it was a middle eastern tabar axe. I am wondering if anyone has seen anything similar? I believe that the family friend picked this up from a museum. He had no reason to lie and sold it to my father for under $50, though it could be possible he picked up a victorian era wall hanger rather than an actual piece. Some info regarding the axe - no proofs that I could find (though I may be missing somthing), not symmetrical...there are areas where the dimensions differ (handle hole), some of the engraving upon the falcon's crest appears rough as if scratched in crudely, appears to have some hammer marks at the top of the head where the handle would fit, the hole for the axe head is square, weighs "roughly" four pounds, and patina is not just surface patina that can be scratched off. Let me know if there is any other information that would be helpful and I will try and provide. If you are unsure but could give me advice on how to proceed with ID'ing this please let me know. With the story behind the axe with my Father and me, I am not interested in selling. Merely would like to figure out the history behind it and be able to pass it down to one of my sons one day. ---- Thank You in Advance


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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 1,061

PostPosted: Mon 16 Dec, 2019 11:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Based on the weight and looks I'd say it's an Indian inspired, European made decorative thingy from the late 19th or early 20th Century.

I'm far from an expert, though.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,405

PostPosted: Tue 17 Dec, 2019 6:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, have to agree that it's some kind of fairly modern decorative piece. Being from an early-20th century museum doesn't make it old, unfortunately! Hundreds of castles and manors in Europe were filled with 19th century stuff like this, mixed with some older artifacts, to dress them up.

Sorry, but the shape, the decoration, the weight--it's just not medieval European.

Doesn't mean it can't be a family heirloom!

Matthew
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Michael D C Wilkinson




Location: Lincolnshire UK
Joined: 13 Dec 2019

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 18 Dec, 2019 2:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A genuine historical axe designed for fighting would be as light as possible. A woodsman's axe relies on its weight and momentum to split wood, but a weapon has to be nimble in use. With the weight concentrated at the far end of the shaft, weight saving on an axe is crucial.

This does not look like it was designed as a weapon.

Looking at this, it is clearly more decorative than practical. At 4 Pounds weight, with such a thick blade, and the decorative back, at best it was part of the equipment of a statue, but was more likely just an ornament of fairly recent manufacture.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 19 Dec, 2019 3:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don,

This article focuses on Viking axes, but many axes in the High Middle Ages had similar forms: http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manu...ng_axe.htm. If you spend some time carefully scrutinizing the shapes and forms, you'll have a much better sense of what medieval axes looked like. It will also help you to personally decide whether your axe belonged to a knight.

P.S.Some of the axes shown in the article are meant to be used as tools, which can be discerned from their shapes and thickness. Most of the axes, though, are antiques or replicas of war axes.
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Thu 19 Dec, 2019 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm no expert on these things but the styling and manufacture of this (it looks like cast iron) would preclude it being European. I think maybe an Indo-Persian battle axe (there are lots of styles but some seem to have this bladeshape, engraved detail on the blade and square block with sculpted back spike). Googling suggests these were made from the 17th century into the 19th, so it could be one of these. Or it may be a decorative piece from that part of the world influenced by the design.
Anthony Clipsom
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 1,061

PostPosted: Fri 20 Dec, 2019 4:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Remember, Orientalism was a hugely influential thing in Europe around the turn of the century. Also, while the overall shape has elements of Indo-Persian weapons, particularly the Indian tabar, the actual construction and all the details look very European to me. Victorians and Edwardians were fond of displays of arms and armor, and produced tons of decorative items very much like this, indeed often in cast iron. They're still very easy to find in antiques stores and similar places, often misidentified as Medieval weapons.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Fri 20 Dec, 2019 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Remember, Orientalism was a hugely influential thing in Europe around the turn of the century. Also, while the overall shape has elements of Indo-Persian weapons, particularly the Indian tabar, the actual construction and all the details look very European to me. Victorians and Edwardians were fond of displays of arms and armor, and produced tons of decorative items very much like this, indeed often in cast iron. They're still very easy to find in antiques stores and similar places, often misidentified as Medieval weapons.


I think on balance I'd agree Mikko. Definite oriental/asiatic design influences but possibly made to meet demand for that style in Europe in the later 19th century, either in Europe, India or even further East.. If Don could manage a clearer picture of the design on the blade, it may help to narrow whether artistically it is closer to Indian sub-continent or Far Eastern motifs.

Anthony Clipsom
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Don Dillon




Location: United States
Joined: 16 Dec 2019

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun 22 Dec, 2019 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First off, just wanted to say thank you to everyone for commenting. As I have grown older, I have come to realize that the axe is more than likely a repop from the not too distant past. When I compared the axe head to my wife's cast iron pan, there were alot of similarities that I haven't noticed before. Someone had told me that cast iron should not be overly magnetic. The axe head is magnetic, though I also applied a magnet to my wife's cast iron pan and guess what, it was magnetic too. Comparing the two metals, it does appear to be somewhat similar. I think I am going to write this off as a repop (deep down I suspected it was true, just didn't want to admit it). It will be treated as a family heirloom and a symbol of my Father and I's relationship when I was little. I have attached some other photos that hopefully show a clearer picture of the floral pattern upon the head, as well as the falcon head. I don't think it is going to change anything, but I know they were asked for. Lastly, again I want to say thank you to everyone for their input. I do have a couple of other blades that I may post on here later this week. I am not a blade collector by any means, though if my Father happens to obtain one or two through trade they usually end up in my hands. These blades look much more authentic with the tang exposed (diff amounts of patina compared to blade), good patina, etc. Thanks again


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Anthony Clipsom




Location: YORKSHIRE, UK
Joined: 27 Jul 2009

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Sun 22 Dec, 2019 10:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It does look increasingly tabar-like. The foliage decoration on the blade is fairly common in that style. Still don't know if its an authentic weapon or a decorative repro. There is no reason why it isn't an antique repro though, rather than a modern one - an expert would be able to tell but that looks like real patination.
Anthony Clipsom
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 1,061

PostPosted: Sun 22 Dec, 2019 6:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No, it's much too bulky to be a real weapon - there's enough material for two or three weapon axes, there.

I could easily believe it's an antique, though, meaning over a hundred years old. Like I said, probably Victorian or Edwardian if I'm any judge (which I may or may not be).

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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