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Thread: Help identifying antique fencing foil

  1. #1
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    Help identifying antique fencing foil

    I just picked this foil up for $38. It was advertised as an 1800's foil from Solingen Germany. Can anyone help me identify it's likely date and maker?






  2. #2
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    The pommel says early 1800s. I have a similar pair in my collection, although the fittings are iron. The tip looks peculiar, is there a button on it?

  3. #3
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    Here is a better picture of the tip:


  4. #4
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    The style of pommel was used into the early 1900s--so not necessarily an early 19th century foil--actually probably late 19th or early 20th century based on the form of blade--earlier foils had flattened blades, later ones squared blades. Good foil for the price!
    Tom Donoho

  5. #5
    I have a very similar one, same type but an other maker. The initial in the circle refers to the swordmaker. S refers to "Samuel Hoppe", he was a swordmaker circa 1850.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by P. Schiettecatte View Post
    I have a very similar one, same type but an other maker. The initial in the circle refers to the swordmaker. S refers to "Samuel Hoppe", he was a swordmaker circa 1850.
    At least I think it's an "S", it should be marked on both sides. Any other symbols?

  7. #7
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    I think the thing in the circle is a 5 and indicates the size of the blade. Makers mark would be near the cross or even under the grip.
    La vida amable, el enemigo hombre fuerte, ordinario el peligro, natural la defensa, la Ciencia para conseguirla infalible, su estudio forçoso, y el exercicio necessario conviene al que huviere de ser Diestro, no ignore la teorica, para que en la practica, el cuerpo, el braço, y los instrumentos obren lo conveniente a su perfeccion. --Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javier Ramos View Post
    I think the thing in the circle is a 5 and indicates the size of the blade. Makers mark would be near the cross or even under the grip.
    If it is a 5 (and I think it is) then this denotes the largest allowable blade size. The standard for adult competition fencing; 90cm blade. I believe the use of this numeric indication of blade size began in the 1850s.
    The journey not the destination

  9. #9
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    I reached out to Malcolm Fare (Britain’s National Fencing Museum), and he was kind enough to help with the identification:

    "Your foil is, as you say, probably early 19th century, although it could be late 18th. It is very difficult to date weapons unless they have a mark on the blade that connects to a known family. Your blade has a typical Solingen mark of a letter in a circle linked to arrow-head clusters, but the old Solingen blade makers were notoriously secretive and, although some family marks have been identified, many, including all those with a letter in a circle, have not. There are other clues: an oval-shaped handle would be a strong indicator of mid-18th century or earlier manufacture, as by the late 18th c. authors of fencing manuals were recommending square handles as being more practical; the acorn-shaped pommel on your foil suggests it was made some time before the 1830s when a cone-shaped design began to take over. However, there was a revival of the acorn shape in the early 20th century, particularly popular with US importers, such as Lau of New York, who stamped their name on blades imported from Solingen."

  10. #10
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    I had my information on the pommel shape given by Christoph Amberger, glad it's been confirmed elsewhere. The mark is also not a size marker but that of the smith. Mine has a letter K.
    Last edited by Max C.; 01-19-2016 at 06:43 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Javier Ramos View Post
    I think the thing in the circle is a 5 and indicates the size of the blade. Makers mark would be near the cross or even under the grip.
    I would be very suprissed. These kind of foils are marked with the makers initials in a circle while the size is indicated at the top.All example which I have seen are very similar. Ill post an example of my foil which is the same model.

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