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Thread: Colichemarde with unknown marking

  1. #1
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    Colichemarde with unknown marking

    Hello everybody,

    my newest acquisition is a wonderful Colichemarde epee (ca. 1880 I guess). The blade is unmarked except for the attached marking on the tang. Now I'm trying to identify the forge/vendor and after checking every book I have and googling my brains out I'm not much further than before.
    So: does anyone recognise the marking and knows more about it? Or is able to tell me on which weapon it was also found?
    Right now I'm tending to think that the blade could be of Solingen origin because the entwined letters were used there.

    Thanks alot in advance and have a nice day.

    William
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    C-Trainer Fechten

  2. #2
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    Unusual and very nice, a rather longer re-enforced section than most of the colichemarde blades that I've seen.
    Last edited by Mel H; 01-15-2018 at 03:26 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
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    Glasgow Forsyth, R.W. is the only RWF I found and I know nothing about him.
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  4. #4
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    Hello you two,
    thanks for the comments. The style (also the long reinforced blade) made me think of a late 19th century weapon.
    Somehow the mark reminds me of various Solingen markings I have seen....
    Thanks Eric for your idea. I've googled Forsyth and found some pictures of Scottish clothing he sold on pinterest. Somehow I don't think that this is the right track. The marking would have been on a more prominent position (especially because the area in front of the guard is blank and big enough for nearly any kind of marking). But thanks nevertheless for your thought.

    Have a nice day

    William
    C-Trainer Fechten

  5. #5
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    Hi William, It's not a style of sword that I'm familiar with, I've seen a lot of smallswords / gala degen and a fair few fencing foils, yours seems to come somewhere between. I would agree that it looks to be a late 19th C. product but am unsure of what its intended use would be. Is it possible that it could be some variation of a 'mensur schlaeger'.
    Last edited by Mel H; 01-16-2018 at 09:34 AM.

  6. #6
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    Could be a dueling epee.
    "Ancora imparo - Michelangelo Buonarotti"

  7. #7
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    Hi Mel and Rob,

    collecting fencing and dueling weapons for some time now I can say for sure that it's a dueling epee (so you're right Rob ). Even though the Colichemarde style went out of fashion in dueling in the late 19th century. It even was forbidden according to some Codes de duel and in some cases the seconds ruled the Colichemarde out before the actual duel began.
    Having seen a sharp mensur once and been in contact with a few members of fraternities (e.g. Mr Amberger) I can say, that a "Mensurschläger" or "Glockenschläger" looks quite different. But nevertheless an idea.
    Basically I know what it is.... I just don't know who made it because it's devoid of any other markings except the one on the tang.
    C-Trainer Fechten

  8. #8
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    Interesting subject. Here in the U.K. swords from that time period, intended specifically for the duel don't seem to exist, I've not seen any.
    I spent a lot of time in Germany over the years so saw a good selection of Mensur swords and although they never appealed to me from a collectors point of view, I thought the whole subject was quite fascinating. Thinking about it I suppose the use of a stiff and deadly piercing weapon would not fit in with the concept of giving or receiving the desired facial re-design available from a sharp sabre.
    Mark Twain's book, The Innocents Abroad, gives an outsiders account of such a duel that he was invited to watch. A good read.
    Last edited by Mel H; 01-16-2018 at 03:35 PM.

  9. #9
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    You're right, the English online sources offering swords rarely sell dueling epees. Over the years I have only seen a handful of them and even these were often imported from France. My theory (and it's really only a theory): Epee fencing came to the British quite late. IIRC in the late 19th century by a group of fencing masters (one of them being Anthim Spinnewyn) visiting London to demonstrate the art/way of fencing with the "dueling sword". Before that there was only foil fencing (I have found no evidence so far to see it otherwise) in England. So there was no real time to evolve a dueling culture using epees because when the war broke out in 1914 there was enough violence to end all tendencies in this direction. In France the duel was part of the daily life (taking the average there seem to have been duels every week going on) during the 19th century and even in the French culture where dueling was deeply rooted the war brought it to an end. And after the war it stayed (more or less) that way.
    In addition to that I know that dueling with the military was stricly forbidden (I think there was something about being dishonourary leave for all participants and loosing all rights to a pension for those left behind by the looser). So this might also have been a factor. But now that I think about it, I remember that people went to the Channel Islands where there was no authority so that duels could be fought.
    By the way: in Germany it was the same. Hardly anyone taught epee fencing, so no dueling culture evolved. Or: with a similar massive influence of the military on the German culture, there was most probably a similar ruling regarding duels as in England. Germany (and especially Solingen) provided a mass of fencing blades for epee and foil but only in 1862 the first German civilian fencing club was founded...
    The student fraternities are of course much older. I'm no expert on this matter but the idea behind it (at least today) is not getting your face "redesigned"
    It's more about facing the danger of getting hurt without flinching... meaning that you're a person who stands behind his words and actions and takes the consequences. Of course there is also a sporting and competiting part to it (hey after all they are all boys in their best years with a lot of testosterone), so this was a was a way of letting off steam in a more or less safe surrounding, because those duels are highly ritualised.
    At least that's my point of view on this matter.
    Thanks for the hint to Mark Twain, I've already ordered the book
    C-Trainer Fechten

  10. #10
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    Hi to all,

    In 19th century Spain there was also quite a culture about duelling. The reason behind that was the good-old way of setting honour issues among Spaniards (having them political, economic or passional roots) through the skill at arms. The tradition comes directly from the Middle Ages, never coming to an end until the 1920's, or more.

    However, the change introduced after the Napoleonic wars was the preeminence of pistol in contrast to old times, when rapiers were customary. In fact, most Spanish duels after 1850 were fought with pistol or sabre (knife or navaja for the humble class), the sabre being considered quite suitable for the Spanish mood both for civilians and military, once the old tradition of Destreza was gone. In comparison very few duels were carried out with the epee.

    Very nice piece, indeed. Quite rare to find this blade type in such a late epee.

    Best,
    JJ
    SI, SI
    NO, NON

  11. #11
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    Hello,

    I didn't know about the Spanish dueling history. Thank you very much for the clarification.
    When I think about 19th century fencing in Spain I always think about Arturo Perez-Revertes "The fencing master" and the very
    good movie adaption of that book.

    I'm somehow still hoping that someone chimes in and tells me that he has got a different weapon with the same maker on the tang.
    I wonder if it's going to happen one day... ^^

    All the best to you

    Will
    C-Trainer Fechten

  12. #12
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    AN APOLOGY.

    I have to apologise for a misleading mistake that I made in a recent reply to this thread.
    I recommended a Mark Twain book having read his two travel adventures, 'A Tramp Abroad' and 'The Innocents Abroad', more than thirty years since. Afterwards I decided that it was time to read them again and was fortunate to find them in the local bookshop.
    Having them in my possession I now realise that the part covering the student duelling was actually in the first book, A Tramp Abroad.
    Sorry for any inconvenience caused, Mel.

    Edit. It may be worth looking at www(dot)gutenberg(dot)org for a free download. It seems to be listed in several parts, the relevant pages relating to the duelling ( with illustrations ) are in part one.
    Last edited by Mel H; 01-28-2018 at 07:37 AM.

  13. #13
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    Hi Mel,

    thanks for the clarification.
    I will check the link.

    Have a nice day

    William
    C-Trainer Fechten

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