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Old 5th January 2021, 03:12 PM   #1
MacCathain
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Default Felddegen with pewter grip

I've seen quite a few felddegen over the years, but when I had an opportunity to acquire this example with a spiral pewter grip, I jumped at it. I gather that felddegen with metal grips were more common in the Low Countries and Northern Germany than elsewhere in Europe.

Otherwise, it seems typical of the breed with the double-edged blade bearing the auspicious numbers + 1414 + and the running wolf of Passau on both sides.

The hilt bears a stamp of the letter F next to what I think may be an outline of a mark that resembles a man swinging a hammer. I freely admit I may be seeing things, but it looks to me like it depicts a smith at work.

Perhaps the knowledgeable people on this forum can tell me more.
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Old 5th January 2021, 05:27 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your felddegen! I especially like the ones with the running wolf and auspicious numbers on the blade. I haven’t seen many with a pewter grip like that and wonder if it was a replacement at some time (even contemporary)? Typically those grips are made of wood, and wrapped in wire or covered in leather with beautiful wire in the recesses. It may once have been covered by some skin or would have become slippery when wet. Most felddegen have thumb rings as well on one side as these were mainly cutting/hewing swords. By the 1600s the running wolf is typically the sign of Solingen. I read somewhere that blade inscriptions enclosed by crosses would be connected to ecclestial estates. There were a number of German ecclestial states and cities etc in the 17thC. I see no man swinging a hammer, and could be mistaken, but it looks to me like “F 53” which could be some sort of rack or armoury number? It would be nice to see the whole blade with inscriptions.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
... It would be nice to see the whole blade with inscriptions...

Yes indeed. Let us see the entire blade, MacCathain .
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:48 PM   #4
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The numbers are tough to capture in the lens, but I added text below them to guide the eye. The thumb ring is there, but wasn't visible in the pictures I initially posted.

I didn't take an overall shot, but will do so.
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Old 5th January 2021, 07:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCathain
The numbers are tough to capture in the lens, but I added text below them to guide the eye. The thumb ring is there, but wasn't visible in the pictures I initially posted.

I didn't take an overall shot, but will do so.


Yes, there’s the thumb ring. Certainly looks like a Solingen blade. Lovely inscriptions. The crosses look more like x and have been stamped into the sword so look less ecclestial than I expected. The longer blades are for cavalry and the shorter ones are infantry swords.
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Old 5th January 2021, 08:09 PM   #6
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Not a great shot, but you get the idea.

Overall length is 90 cm/35.5 inches and the blade itself is 77 cm/30.25 inches.
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Old 5th January 2021, 11:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
...it looks to me like “F 53” which could be some sort of rack or armoury number?


I thought the same when I first examined it, but the "F" is so well-defined that I doubt the following stamp, sloppy as it is, is alphanumeric or it would have been equally clear as the "F". Surely, whomever stamped the "F" would have done a better job of imprinting "53," should that have been their purpose.

That aside, I doubt that "rack numbers" we know from the Victorian age would have been used in the last half of the 17th century.

It strikes me as a stamp that was not cleanly impressed, perhaps indicating that it was one that may have been used on many other weapons before being applied to this hilt, hence the lack of detail. That's all conjecture, of course.

I'll try to render the graphic that I see, and I will post it in a bit.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 7th January 2021, 09:38 AM   #8
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Great to see this sword in all its beauty. At first glance it looks like a “35” clumsily inscribed on the guard. The rounded bits of these digits are obviously challenging for a non-professional without the right tools. Judging by the condition of the sword it’s possible that it had its working life extended into the 18thC.
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Old 9th January 2021, 02:07 PM   #9
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Fair point, Victrix.

I can now confirm that whatever the image may be -- numerals or a graphic -- it was not made by a stamp. Close inspection with a high-power loupe shows the edges are slightly undercut, which could only mean that they were incised rather than stamped.

Comparing the felddegen to other similar examples, it seems the blade on this example is more narrow across the ricasso (27.5 mm/1.1 inches) than most.

Could that be a clue as to its age? If a wider blade equates to an older weapon, perhaps this one is a later transitional piece?
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Old 9th January 2021, 03:07 PM   #10
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Given the modest length and probable stiffness of the blade it is likely an infantryman’s sword. It would be used for close quarter fighting and need thrust and well as cut capabilities. It looks like a 17thC felddegen. I would not rule out that the sword continued to be used into 18thC when the armoury number might have been added (town/castle guard sidearm?). I love these swords with the auspicious number and running wolf on the blade.
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