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Old 2nd August 2021, 03:46 PM   #1
fernando
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Default Rapier and marks for ID ... please

A topic initially posted by a new member in "The EARLY MAKERS TRADE MARKS" thread ... to be continued here, for further discussion.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...826#post264826
(As from post #302)

Anyone to give some light on the marks of this beautiful rapier ?

Last edited by fernando; 2nd August 2021 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 4th August 2021, 02:19 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Still working on the inscription, but really hard to see the markings clearly as they are somewhat worn or poorly executed. Any way Robert that you could describe them as seen from hands on examination?

Also, as noted by Fernando, it would be good to see the ricasso to look for markings, and images of the pommel as well as inside of guard would help.
What is the blade length.
While screws seem unusual, and I am inclined to think these appear modern, Norman ("The Rapier and Smallsword", 1980) does describe various means of attachment where screws are used. Since they were often used inside the cup for securing the guardopolvo (dust cover) it would seem possibly for arms as well.

The only part of the inscription I can make out is the 'PERO' noted by Fernando and possibly that is a misspell of Pedro. The symbols with horned circle in appearance could be the letter D or E, as similar cases in Spanish inscriptions used similar devices in place of those letters.
This glyph has uses in zodiac (=bull) or the number 8, but not sure if applicable here.
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Old 4th August 2021, 02:33 PM   #3
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A certainty ... and an attempt ...


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Old 4th August 2021, 06:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
A certainty ... and an attempt ...


.

Very good attempt I would say! and almost too tempting, given that those symbols I mentioned in the inscription resemble the zodiac glyph for bull. (Toro=bull).
It seem that in many inscriptions regarding place 'in Toledo' etc. use various spelling and abbreviations.
In one case N T O L is used and the separation of the entire phrase or wording ends up on both obverse and reverse on the blade.
Interestingly a number of the Solingen smiths who went to Toledo in the 17th century were appointed espadero del Rey (maker to the King) and often EN ALAMEIN (Germany) was in the inscription.
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Old 4th August 2021, 09:33 PM   #5
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More photos as requested.
As far as my own impressions go I think the photos capture everything I observed. The museum got out 10 swords for us to measure weigh and photograph but they prefer to do most of the handling themselves. We were only scheduled for an hour and a half which we went over by half an hour thanks to keeping the curators interest with what we were able to identify just off the top of our heads. It still meant a bit of a rush though.

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Old 5th August 2021, 03:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
... Very good attempt I would say! ...
Jim, i am glad that you fully read my posts ... don't you ? Just kidding .
I mentioned a 'certainty' and an 'attempt'. The attempt was to guess that the 'TOL' letters could be a short for Toledo. And the certainty went for 'TORO' (the smith's name).The only letter that could look suspicious, the 'R', leaves no doubt when compared with the 'R' of Pero.
Still we need some member familiar with this blade (and marks) to show up.


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Old 5th August 2021, 04:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall View Post
... While screws seem unusual, and I am inclined to think these appear modern, Norman ("The Rapier and Smallsword", 1980) does describe various means of attachment where screws are used. Since they were often used inside the cup for securing the guardopolvo (dust cover) it would seem possibly for arms as well...
Fixation of the cup bowl by screws is rather common; so much or more than the system of welding the cup to the quillons. Screws with a modern look may (may) exist because the old ones fall off and people replaces them with the ones at hand. While Robert's sample has a modern one, is it my eyes or is also missing another in the fixation arms.


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Old 5th August 2021, 05:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Fixation of the cup bowl by screws is rather common; so much or more than the system of welding the cup to the quillons. Screws with a modern look may (may) exist because the old ones fall off and people replaces them with the ones at hand. While Robert's sample has a modern one, is it my eyes or is also missing another in the fixation arms.


.
In looking into the late Nick Norman's fabulous book on rapier and smallsword hilts, he lists I believe seven methods of these kinds of affixation, so well noted on the use of screws. The old screws certainly may have been lost, or perhaps destroyed in the dismantling of components typically required in maintainence or refurbishing these swords experienced over their long existence.
You're right, another is missing inside the cup.
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Old 6th August 2021, 04:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
Jim, i am glad that you fully read my posts ... don't you ? Just kidding .
I mentioned a 'certainty' and an 'attempt'. The attempt was to guess that the 'TOL' letters could be a short for Toledo. And the certainty went for 'TORO' (the smith's name).The only letter that could look suspicious, the 'R', leaves no doubt when compared with the 'R' of Pero.
Still we need some member familiar with this blade (and marks) to show up.


.
LOL! YES, I do !! and usually several times to be sure I havent missed something as you include a good deal of content, and my attention span is not great.
It seems like that R in Toro corresponds to the other R, but like the loop is flat or missing. It has to be an R though.
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Old 6th August 2021, 09:14 PM   #10
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Here are some plates from "Cut & Thrust Weapons" (E. Wagner, 1967) which illustrate the Spanish omission of letters D and E in inscriptions to be replaced by sigils, glyphs or Hermetic symbols.
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Old 7th August 2021, 02:17 PM   #11
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Good stuff Jim. Hortuņo de Aguirre, which he spelled HORTVNO DE AGVIRE in one sword kept in the Real Armeria, and inscribed ESPADERO DEL REY in another. The Aguirre family, Hortuņo the old, Domingo his son and Nicolās the grandson, used more than one mark, including the To for Toledo.
Interesting, the inscription in the blade shown by E. Wagner; FREE ME GOD FROM MY ENEMIES, per psalm 59.
It occurs that this kind of inscriptions may (may) not be of smith/s iniative but ordered by customers with religious vocations (read fears). We better digest a customer educated in Latin than a bladesmith.



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Old 7th August 2021, 07:40 PM   #12
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Right Fernando,
I added these pages as key reference primers on this topic which seemed very pertinent in examining these rapier blade inscriptions.
I do believe as you say, clients had their own personalized choices for slogans, invocations and various inscriptions.

I have always understood that in most cases, blade makers depended on engravers or similarly skilled artisans to apply inscriptions and blade markings.
With punzones of course, these were stamped in by the smith.

While Palomares is probably one of the most useful resources on Toledo smiths, it is known that there were certain duplications, other makers not included of course, and in many cases, as you note, several marks were used by many makers.

I have been fascinated by blade markings for most of my time involved with arms, and beyond the identification of makers etc. the beliefs and ideals of persons associated with inscriptions is so intriguing.

Although in these times magic, occult and superstitions are often scoffed at, in the time of these swords these imbuements were most real to people.
I have always said, we do not to believe what they believed in, but we most certainly must learn just what it was that they believed.

This is what makes the study of arms, especially swords, so exciting.
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