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Thread: Id'ing a grip

  1. #1

    Id'ing a grip

    Hello all

    Maria Blumberg posted a question on the old A&M forum about the identity of a sword grip (original query copied below). I posted the jpegs for her, and Juan Perez suggested I repost the query here on the new forum. So, here you go...

    Paul

    (P.S. as an aside, when is the old forum going to get canned? I didn't realise the new one was up and running until Juan's comment).


    "Hello

    I have lurked on and off the various forums since May 2001. This is my first post on this forum. I
    would like assistance in identifying a blade grip for a friend. The trouble is PhotoPoint.com is no longer in business. Does anyone know of an alternate site to post photos and jpgs that I can post photos of this grip on? Otherwise I will have to send the jpg files to parties interested in helping me individually. This much I can tell you. The grip was found with out blade, guard or pommel in brackish water in an ocean estuary. Although metallurgic analysis has not been done it is likely gold or steel with heavy gold plating. It is not brass. The design on the grip is quiet elaborate.The person who sent me the photos is, a historian who, trying to determine the period and national origin of it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you all for you consideration

    Regards Maria"

    P.P.S The grip looks like brass to me: on what grounds is this discounted? I wouldn't have thought someone going to the expense of gold (even plate) would have left visible casting flaws.


  2. #2

    Sword Grip

    If it was a sword grip it would be from a smallsword, but the proportions are not right. Also is that a square lug off one end? If so my guess is this is somekind of decorative grip for a reproduction bedwarmer or toilet pull something like that. I doubt this is a sword grip and it looks pretty new.

    Craig

  3. #3
    Agreed - these pictures recently were sent to the Rapier-L discussion list. No one recognized it as necessarily being part of a sword. Is there any collaborating evidence that points to it's swordly origins? As of the last guesstimate on the mailing list, we figured it might be the grip from a fireplace poker or some other ignoble utensil ...

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    IDing grip

    Hi

    I am Maria and I'd like to thank Paul for posting the photos of the grip. First some information on this item. A request for help identifying this grip was sent to a e-list I am on for those intersted in the study of piracy and was posted by a noted Maritime historian named Ken Kinkor. He is the historian on the Whydah project (the 1st confirmed pirate shipwreck)and the Adveture Galley (Captain Kidd's 1st. ship). If you would like to read some of his writings check-out "Baditis at Sea: A Pirate Reader" Edited by C.R. Pennell and the essay "Black Men Under the Balck Flag" pg.195.

    I have been told it's from an excavation in an ocean estuary in Latin America. For site security reason (theft etc.) I have not been give the exact location of the excavation nor who is operating it.

    I have been told by Ken that although no metalurgic tests have been done it has been identifyed, so far, as either gold of steel with gold plating. From what I have been told it is not new. It has proably been give conservation treatment and that is why it's so clean and shiny. Please note the gold ring to the top of the grip in the first photo. It was found from the same excavation.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thank you very one for your consideration
    Maria

  5. #5
    Thanks for the extra information, Maria. Why does Mr. Kinkor believe that this is a part of a sword?

  6. #6
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    Iding grip aka Get a grip!

    Hal

    I have e-mailed Ken with your questions and remarks and am awaiting a reply.
    Maria

  7. #7

    Context

    Hello Maria

    If it is from the context of a ship wreck it will tell us a few things. One is it is probably not steel under the gold. For the gold to survive so well I am inclined to say it is all gold. A simple weighing of the item should be able to deterimine this. If there were steel or iron as a base I think the gold would show some deteriation of the underlayer.

    I did some figuring at the shop and if it where to be a sword grip it is of a strange size. The shape is not one usually seen (ie the ratio of the upper and lower ends to the girth of the middle and in relation to the length). The length is quite long for such a use.

    If it was cast gold this may give an answer for the square post on one end, this could be the sprue. I do not think this is correct though.

    My guess is it was some sort of part for a larger object, wether a candle stick or a handle of some sort I do not know. But with out further inspection or evidence it just does not ring true as a sword grip.

    Is the item hollow or solid?

    Craig
    Last edited by Craig Johnson; 03-01-2002 at 09:07 PM.

  8. #8
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    I'm getting about 3.5" for the actual length of the gripping area, Craig.

    I agree that it should be very easy to distinguish between plated 'steel' and solid gold--just pick it up! That is if those are the only two choices. Not sure why cast brass or cast (plated or gilt) iron aren't being considered?

    There's something very familiar about this object, but I can't place it.
    Sikandur~~Aim Small, Miss Small

  9. #9
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    IDing grip

    To all interested parties


    The grip is 126 grams and is solid. The identification as a sword grip was made by two archaeologists, I assume, at the site. I also beleive that an archaeologist can tell brass from gold. Also brass would have disintegrated in brackish water it was found in. I think the archaeologist would have figure out if it was something like a candlestick.

    I imagine the reason Ken was contacted is that the wreck is a Golden Age of piracy one (1660-1740). That's his area. But he is well versed in other ages and areas of pirate/maritime history.

    If you don't think it's a sword grip what do you think it is?

    Thank you for your responses.
    Last edited by Maria Blumberg; 03-04-2002 at 11:00 AM.
    Maria

  10. #10
    Hi Maria

    Either I'm confused or there's something wrong with the figures. Gold has a specific gravity of around 19 g/cm3, so your weight of 126g would make a solid gold object of approx. 7 cm3 volume. But, looking at the pictures, the thing has a volume of roughly 28 cm3 (length 9cm, mean radius ~ 1 cm). Brass has a S.g. of 8 so it's a bit closer, but still not quite heavy enough by my very rough calculations.

    Whatever, if the thing is solid then it's not likely to be a sword grip as every one I've ever seen has a hollow center to take the tang of the blade.

    Wouldn't like to say what it is though!

    Regards

    Paul

  11. #11
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    Maria, I sense were playing a bit of a game of 'telephone' here.

    Is it Mr. Kinkor's opinion that this is a sword grip?

    If so, perhaps you might ask him to visit here, and post the info directly. The members here would be glad to help solve the mystery, but at this point it's hard to see this as part of a sword.

    What makes you think brass would disintegrate in brackish water?
    Sikandur~~Aim Small, Miss Small

  12. #12

    Solid core

    Maria

    The solid core means this is definitely not a sword grip. I have seen many grips from this period and they would have been constructed differently then cast solid and drilled out.

    Is the item full round in cross section through its entire length?

    Craig

  13. #13
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    Wink Trying to get a grip

    Originally posted by Scott Bubar
    Maria, I sense were playing a bit of a game of 'telephone' here.

    Is it Mr. Kinkor's opinion that this is a sword grip?

    If so, perhaps you might ask him to visit here, and post the info directly. The members here would be glad to help solve the mystery, but at this point it's hard to see this as part of a sword.

    I have forward this to Ken and maybe he will come online. I know he's pretty busy on several projects.


    <What makes you think brass would disintegrate in brackish water?
    The copper in brass corrodes and turns green when exposed to water. Even more so in brackish water like and ocean estuary. Although not as salty as sea water it still would turn a brass object first green and then it would begin to deteriorate. The reason brass is polished on ships isn't so it looks spiffy but to keep it from corroding.

    I am not trying to be contentious I am just trying to help a friend out. I really appreciate all of your input and patience.

    Maria

  14. #14
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    Hi Maria. While brass would get surface corrosion, I don't think it would make serious inroads into the interior of the object, even after several centuries in saltwater.

    The exception to this would be if there are ferrous objects nearby in the debris field, in which case the brass could be eaten entirely away by electrolysis.

    I could be wrong, though.

    Never thought you were trying to be contentious, just wish we could be of more help.
    Sikandur~~Aim Small, Miss Small

  15. #15
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    Talking ID'ing the what the heck is it 'grip'

    [i]
    Never thought you were trying to be contentious, just wish we could be of more help. [/B]

    Scott

    I wish so too. This is driving Both Ken and I up the wall. I am one of those I-have-to-figure-it-out-type-people and this conundrum has me annoyed. Ken in his searches is having problem with the shape too. However he did e-mailed me this and I quote"

    "Me too-but I did find a french naval smallsword c.1801 on the net of
    roughly the same proportions"

    Anyone have anything on naval smallswords?

    Again I do appreciate whatever helps have and will offer.

    You're all a fine group of gentleman
    Maria

  16. #16

    Smallswords

    Yes it is much closer to one of these later smallsword grips. I will dig up a pic of one I have some where.

    Also I can check a source on construction to see if I can find a reference to the square peg on the end of this thing.

    Craig

  17. #17

    Comparison to a similar smallsword grip

    Here is a side by side with a similar styled smallsword grip from a private collection.

    Craig





    Notice the bulkier shape of the gold grip. Also the rings at the top and bottom.
    Last edited by Craig Johnson; 03-07-2002 at 07:25 PM.

  18. #18
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    Smallsword grip

    Craig

    I am sorry for not responding sooner. Although the gold grip is bulkier I don't think that rules it out as a smallsword grip. How uniform were smallsword grips? What if the gold grip is for a ceremonial sword and not a practical one?

    The center motif is almost the same. What period and from where is the grip you posted?

    Ken Kinkor has signed up and will be posting later on. Up until now I have been forwarding everyone's comments to him. He has been busy.

    Thanks for the nice photo.
    Maria

  19. #19

    Hello Maria

    Howdy

    Yes there is a bulkieness that is not there in the smallsword grips usually, but I think even more telling are the ribs at the top and bottom of the grip and the fact that it is solid and has the square peg on the end. They sometimes used alignment insets but they are much shallower and usually rectangular and on the large(lower end) of the grip.

    The variation in smallsword grips is pretty good overtime and place but the piece found on the wreck seems to me to be more in the line of a grip to be held like a pan handle then a sword grip.

    Is the larger end of your grip finished or rough? this would tell us alot.

    Craig

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