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Old 15th November 2021, 12:14 AM   #1
cel7
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Default VOC hanger advice

Hi,

had some luck today and bought this VOC hanger with the A for Amsterdam. Unfortunately it had a rough life. I think that the grip is not original.
Should I try to clean it (and take the risk that it won't get better and maybe even worse) or leave it as it is?

Thanks
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Old 15th November 2021, 01:23 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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My personal opinion, as everyone here knows, is do not overclean, simply stabilize with something light like WD40 which will clean and show the wonderful patina.
As a historian, this is well earned over time and I feel it should remain. a weapon garishly cleaned into shiny awfulness to me is bad.

The grip is indeed not very good, but it is something, otherwise this would simply be a 'relic'.

As many of these as were in service, its amazing how hard they are to find. Always tried to find anything with VOC markings but never did.
These blades were produced in either Solingen or German shops in Netherlands, I forget the names of the cities. They were not issued, as VOC was private company so were sold to the individuals, as I have understood.
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Old 15th November 2021, 03:50 AM   #3
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The stampings seem so crisp compared to the surface condition...
Agree w/Jim, leave it as it is.
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Old 15th November 2021, 09:49 AM   #4
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I would only treat it with crystalline wax, if you remove the patina it doesn't get any better. I would recommend to remove the wooden grip, this is a recent addition of the wrong model, it looks weird.

it should have a thin spiral grip on it. fe see attached example of a 1790 VOC Rotterdam cutlass and for others please see the thread:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22313

best,
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Old 15th November 2021, 12:07 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the advice! I'll just leave it as it is. I will also leave the grip alone for now.
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Old 16th November 2021, 11:05 PM   #6
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Red face

I'm with Rick - compared to the corroded surfaces, the stamping seems exceptionally crisp. This may suggest a later (though also apparently not recent) addition.

If it's done later, it's a pretty good attempt. It does look more like a VOO (rather than VOC) though! Since these stamps were never standardized, maybe the C was just missing from the tool set and they had to use the O twice...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 17th November 2021, 08:19 AM   #7
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The corrosion is quite deep but uniform and consistent with its age.
The stamp is crisp but it is also corroded consistent with the rest of the blade so I am pretty sure it is original and not a later addition. Also the marking shape and style are correct confirming they are the original.

I am not very knowledgeable in tackling this type of corrosion but I would only clean it with bronze brushes & steel wool and WD40 to remove the active rust.

Last edited by mariusgmioc; 17th November 2021 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 17th November 2021, 09:43 AM   #8
Peter Andeweg
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Agreed with all mentioned above, a nice blade but too deeply corroded to have it polished, the same for the guard. I think that some handy fellow had made this new hilt, but it sure does not add any value nor aesthetic pleasure.
The shell guard cutlasses or hangers are very scarce, I often encounter VOC marked blades with tribal or European military hilts, but rarely with the clam shell guard.

A good find!
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Old 17th November 2021, 03:10 PM   #9
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Hi
Lovely item in condition I prefer my items to be
Can you post a picture of the peening so we can see if handle replaced recently
Regards
Ken
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Old 17th November 2021, 03:49 PM   #10
cel7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmaddock View Post
Hi
Lovely item in condition I prefer my items to be
Can you post a picture of the peening so we can see if handle replaced recently
Regards
Ken
I don't think it happened recently but it won't be very old either. The man I bought it from clearly had no idea. He'd had it in the attic for years. It had belonged to his father-in-law, who collected sharp weapons at the time. He may have mounted it on it at some point. At the top of the pommel you can see that it has been welded.
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Old 18th November 2021, 09:01 PM   #11
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Interesting sword.

I would leave the metal as it is. Crystalline wax sounds good.

The hilt. It would be nice if someone could reshape it into a thinner spiral hilt without removing it. A smart carver should be able to do this.

I am very surprised about the crisp markings on the "left" side.
But as left and right are the same stamps and on the right side they show erosion that is more consistent, I find it hard to draw a conclusion.

Best regards,
Willem
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Old 19th November 2021, 03:14 PM   #12
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What I have seen of these VOC swords, blades are not unusual but they have been often rehilted into any kind of Asian swords (maybe they reached Asia as spare blades anyway).
Original hilts and pommels are much rarer.
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Old 19th November 2021, 03:55 PM   #13
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Being overwhelmingly utilized in colonial settings and the VOC disbanded over 200 years ago, it stands to reason that many survivors crop up locally as recycled blades.

In addition, there are also a lot of spurious "VOC" marks on indigenous blades to be found. And downright later fakes in the European setting.

Regards,
Kai
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Old 20th November 2021, 07:09 PM   #14
Ian
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I think Rick and kai have each (gently) raised the issue of whether the VOC and A stamps on this blade may have been added at a later time. The 1790 date stamp would indicate that it was made late in the existence of the VOC, a mere 10 years before it was dismantled and replaced by the Dutch government.

Looking at other examples posted in this forum of VOC blades made in Amsterdam, I would add that the stamped majuscule "A "found on this blade is of a form not shown on other VOC Amsterdam blades of a similar period. On the example shown here, the A has a straight cross piece, whereas on the examples shown in the link to other Amsterdam swords the A has a two-part cross piece that is angled ("v"). (This letter has a specific name that I don't recall but was in use throughout the period of the VOC as best I know.) This feature was mentioned here by Jim.

I agree with kai's sentiment that the date, VOC, and A stamps could have been added after manufacture, albeit many years ago.

Last edited by Ian; 20th November 2021 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Added another link
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Old 21st November 2021, 07:41 AM   #15
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Thank you for your input. I don't completely agree because from the thread below (no. 55) by maurice, a similar "A" can be seen on a blade with provenance.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...t=18159&page=2
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Old 21st November 2021, 07:53 PM   #16
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Direct link to Maurice's post #55: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...1&postcount=55
An another pertinent one (#44): http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showpo...6&postcount=44

There is substantial variability with these marks since they apparently did not got struck in any consistent manner (possibly by each chamber before entering them into service - maybe only if deemed really needed); many VOC employees did bring their own weapons though.

Museums are well-known to have fakes and other non-genuine pieces in their collections. Like with any other collections, we'd have to carefully establish any single piece being legit before relying on it. I believe VOC marks on blades is a research topic that still needs to be addressed in detail.

BTW, most ethnographic pieces did not enter collections before the late 19th c. - way too late to exclude any "rework" of wannabe VOC blades...

I can't give any definitive opinion on this piece without examining it in person (and likely not even then). Just keep in mind that collecting VOC blades is considered quite a quagmire.

Pending further research regarding the VOC mark, the importance to me would lay in the period blade with proper mounts (except for the replaced grip). Those are rare to begin with...

Regards,
Kai
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Old 23rd November 2021, 05:58 PM   #17
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I have to join the skeptical crowd here on the authenticity of this mark. I suppose it is possible that the edges could have survived this well over all these years, but i must say that after taking a look at dozens of other examples this is the sharpest, deepest cut VOC mark that i have yet to see, even though this blade displays more corrosion than many of the blades i was looking at.
I am not put off by the A for Amsterdam not having the (v) as a cross line for the "A", but i do notice that the "C" of "Compagnie" looks almost identical to the "O", while on all the examples i have looked at there is a concerted effort to make the "C" look like the letter it is supposed to be. So it looks like it says VOO instead of VOC.
Even in years past i believe that people placed a certain high appraisal of VOC blades so this may not be a recent addition, but i suspect it may well have been added at a later date to increase the perceived esteem for this blade. Though i believe i can see some corrosion in the grooves of these marks i do not see the same level off corrosion i see on the surface of the blade.
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Old 23rd November 2021, 06:18 PM   #18
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I hadn't noticed that before, but you're right. The C is very similar to the O.
Thanks for your comment!
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Old 23rd November 2021, 08:32 PM   #19
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel7 View Post
I hadn't noticed that before, but you're right. The C is very similar to the O...
As per post #6 .
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Old 25th November 2021, 06:35 PM   #20
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I don't think there's anything wrong with the inscription, not with the C that looks like an O, not even with the A without a small v.
compare the inscription of a sword in the Visser collection now in the Rijksmuseum. see pictures. (overall 752, blade 624, 31mm wide at hilt.)
The 1 the 7 the VOC and the A are identical to the ones in post1

These types of cutlass are called ship cutlasses because they belong to the ship's stock, rather than a personal weapon.

I would really adjust the grip, it looks ridiculous.

best,
Jasper
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Old 25th November 2021, 08:54 PM   #21
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Thanks for your comment! I also think the handle is a monster, but since this doesn't quite fit in my collection, I'm probably going to part with it. I then leave it to the new owner to embellish the handle.
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Old 25th November 2021, 10:25 PM   #22
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I sent you a pm
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