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Thread: Felddegen 17thC

  1. #1
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    Felddegen 17thC

    I filled a gap in my collection and recently acquired this felddegen, presumably German, from 17thC. Overall length is 103 cm, with the hilt 15cm and the blade 88cm long. The blade is pretty flat but ever so slightly lentilar in cross section with no fullers. The blade carries the mark of Johannes Wundes of Solingen on one side. The grip is covered by brass wire with turk’s head knots. The guard plate is pierced with holes and there’s a thumb ring instead of inner guard on the other side. I will clean the sword and try to remove some of the rust before giving it a good oiling.

    Any comments or observations will be much appreciated.
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    Some more pics.
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    The length of the sword indicates that it’s a horseman’s sword. The guard and thumb ring does’t give much protection for the hand. The sword could have been rehilted at some stage. The fit is not perfect, but the hilt is very firmly attached to the blade and there is no movement and there are no fresh scratch marks. The pommel has a very slight movement with a peened tang. The movement shows that the spherical pommel is one with the cylindrical base just before the grip. The pommel has an interesting horseradish/onion bulb shape that brings my mind to Italy for some reason. The grip has a grove top and bottom. The brass Turk’s heads knots shows shine where the metal is worn so it doesn’t look like recent work. The blade shows some damage and repair?
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    Last edited by Magnus K; 04-18-2019 at 04:20 AM.

  4. #4
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    It appears to be an earlier fashion than mine and the pommel definitely of an older type. It has been pointed out with both of my Wundes marked swords that the blades were affixed by various furbishers, so we may never know for sure who might have assembled them. Your hilt seems to more follow what we see of the Dutch and western vs the variants we see of mine.
    http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=13795

    Lots of mine on page 3 of that thread and another Wundes sword just recently there.
    http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=37623
    An example like yours on page 2 of the other thread 13795
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    My sabre another century later and just before Weyersburg bought the crowned king.

    My felddegen mark kind of spooky


    A few pics of marks and various examples as well.

    Cheers
    GC
    Last edited by Glen C.; 04-18-2019 at 06:52 AM.

  5. #5
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    Difficult to tell with online photos but the blade does not appear to be repaired, probably corrosion and subsequent cleanings can make odd marks on hand forged blades.
    Period blade repair would not butt together two pieces as this would be a weak point.
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 04-18-2019 at 09:03 AM.

  6. #6
    Beautful. Congrats Magnus! That thumbring is quite something.
    Peace, Love, SWORDS!

  7. #7
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    Thank you very much for your comments. In the meantime I looked to see if I could trace the blade mark more narrowly but difficult. The mark is not that clear/detailed and many different versions of the mark seems to have been in circulation for the same maker. The blade is fairly worn and the mark on the other side of the blade may be worn off as there is a smudge in that position. Then there are several members of the Wundes family. I can’t discern if the head in the mark has a beard or not but I would guess it’s the mark of Johannes Wundes the Younger based on the shawls on the neck, which would match the time period pretty well. The print is from Staffan Kinman’s book European Makers of Edged Weapons, Their Marks (2015), which is highly recmmended.
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    Last edited by Magnus K; 04-23-2019 at 06:52 AM.

  8. #8
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    Your blade mark is quite similar to my mid 18th century sabre, a sword attributed to Sweden circa 1750 by the director of the Higgins Armory (Jeff Forgeng) museum

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    My hunch is that these squat guys with a collar are the later generation(s), with Peter Wundes selling off the mark to Weyersburg. by the 1770s Interestingly enough in the early Klingenthal history shows one or more of the Wundes clan going to work with them.

    Cheers
    GC

    A PS re the 2015 book page, the marks and text are identical to the late Richard Bezdek's German Makers title from an earlier compilation. Several threads on a few forums all share these crowned king marks.
    Last edited by Glen C.; 04-23-2019 at 11:47 AM.

  9. #9
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    Glen, I’m surprised that your sabre was identified as Swedish. Maybe he meant Swiss?? Sabres arrived in Sweden fairly late when a hussar regiment was set up in the Pomeranian war, equipped with the m/1759 sabre but this had a strong Hungarian look. There is a similar m/1791 model. These sabres had langets, which your sabre notably lacks.

    The mark looks similar to yours but frankly mine is so faded that it’s hard to see. As I mentioned, the blade is quite worn. The swords don’t look contemporaneous at all so it would be surprising if they had the same marks. I’m not that obsessed with marks because I realize that they are usually quite ambivalent, but it’s fun to research regardless. I love the history and the handicraft of the swords.

    I don’t have the Richard Bezdek book unfortunately but I believe Staffan Kinman’s book is a very useful compilation of European makers’ marks (neatly organized) which is easily available and doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
    Last edited by Magnus K; 04-23-2019 at 01:47 PM.

  10. #10
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    With sabre in hand and with a book some four inches thick open, Forgeng's attribution was Swedish. Your hilt though does seem quite early though. The Bezdek pages shown in the recent Wundes thread at myArmoury linked above #37623. I believe most of the Wundes marks were etches, rather than stamps, so one reason we see such variations.

    Cheers
    GC

  11. #11
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    Glen, as is the case with the other makers’ marks I guess the Wundes mark might have been widely admired and copied.

    I attach a pic of the Swedish hussar m/1759 sabre. This is quite attractive in my opinion, and I was tempted to buy one but decided to focus on the original Austro-Hungarian style instead. Note the presence of langets. Absence of langets often suggest (but not exclusively) an artillery sword. On your sword I also note the unusual counter guard on the side. Have you ever considered the possibility that the sabre might be...Mexican??
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  12. #12
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    It is interesting that you would bring up the Mexican connection, as it was a standing joke here for awhile. The heart counterguard on mine appears over the course of two centuries and has been seen on everything from an English silversmith, to the East India Co, to US Ancient&Honorable Artillery sabers of the 1880s. However, the sabre I pictured was acquired from a European dealer sold to an Englishman, then me. Confirmed as likely Swedish and the 1750 period in a session at the Higgins with the director and curator, and then only after opening a thick volume (I do not recall the book). The text was regarding hussar hilted swords with counterguards and imported German blades.
    http://www.swordforum.com/vb4/showth...s-and-thoughts

    The Mexican chuckle began with the ring hilted vaquero saddle swords and then became a standard response for awhile re any unidentifiable.

    Cheers
    GC

    I have an ebony hussar hilt with the remains of a similar counterguard
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    Last edited by Glen C.; 04-24-2019 at 06:57 AM.

  13. #13
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    Glen,

    I don't think that any Swedish weapon expert would attribute your sword as Swedish. Swedish society always was very conservative, and army wasn't an exception. People do this, wear this and carry this, not that; people do not break the Law of Jante.
    Overall style totally contradicts even to Gustavian swords, not talking about Adolf Fredrik period.
    I would say it's British, or may be Dutch

  14. #14
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    I found a Dutch horseman’s sabre allegedly dating to around 1660-90 with a similar thumb ring, and heart shaped guard plate (now missing) compared to my sword. I also found a German felddegen allegedly dating to around 1680 with a similar groved brasswire covered grip.
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    Last edited by Magnus K; 04-24-2019 at 11:22 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan B. View Post
    Glen,

    I don't think that any Swedish weapon expert would attribute your sword as Swedish. Swedish society always was very conservative, and army wasn't an exception. People do this, wear this and carry this, not that; people do not break the Law of Jante.
    Overall style totally contradicts even to Gustavian swords, not talking about Adolf Fredrik period.
    I would say it's British, or may be Dutch
    Thanks Ivan, I'll definitely take your thoughts into consideration. What date would you place on it?

    Cheers
    GC

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen C. View Post
    Thanks Ivan, I'll definitely take your thoughts into consideration. What date would you place on it?

    Cheers
    GC
    I would say 1770-1790, with blade made by Weyersberg just after he bought trade mark from Wundes.

    Regarding Swedish swords - they have everything different. Blades are different (German blades are rare, single narrow fuller is very uncommon), hilts are different and, most important, material is different. I did not recall if I ever seen Swedish officer's sword with steel hilt. It's always brass, gilded brass. Steel hilts were only for troopers.

    Best regards,
    Ivan

  17. #17
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    Magnus,

    You can find similar swords with guard plate from one side and thumb ring from another side in different countries and in different museums. I also have one.
    But the vast majority of those swords can be found in Central Europe - Budapest, Vienna, Prague.
    Ambras castle in Austria, near Innsbruck, has plenty of completely identical swords with the same Wundes blades, same guards and even identical wire wire wrap. I think, this allowed to attribute them to Austrian heavy cavalry from Habsburg's mountain heartland. Dated around 1650 - 1700.

    Mvh,
    Ivan
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    Last edited by Ivan B.; 04-24-2019 at 09:53 PM.

  18. #18
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    Yes, and I have forgot to mention grooved grips on those swords; you can clearly see it on mine

  19. #19
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    The Ambras wall display shows examples with the plates on both sides.

    RE Weyersburg vs Wundes, I must have an extraordinary example of a blade, as I would imagine having encountered many examples of the blade type with this mark if that late in the century. Indeed extraordinary, whether Wundes or Weyersburg.

    Good notes on the brass vs steel hilts, thanks.

    Cheers
    GC

    My felddegen sword
    http://www.swordforum.com/vb4/showth...-Screws-Or-Not
    Last edited by Glen C.; 04-25-2019 at 06:29 AM.

  20. #20
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    Hej Ivan,

    Great sword! I like the guard plate with what looks like a relief of the Green Man. Quite baroque. Interesting to observe the grooves on the grip just like mine.

  21. #21
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    Thanks Magnus

    Here is an example of completely identical lovassági kard (with the same guard, plate, grooved grip and blade by Wundes János) from Hungarian book by Lugosi and Temesváry. I assume, this sword is in Budapest history museum.
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    Last edited by Ivan B.; 04-25-2019 at 11:43 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen C. View Post
    The Ambras wall display shows examples with the plates on both sides.
    Glen,

    Are you sure about this? From the picture I would say that swords are identical to mine, with plates from one side.

    May be next year I will take a ski trip to Austria instead of my usual destination in Sweden; should be interesting to visit this castle.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan B. View Post
    Glen,

    Are you sure about this? From the picture I would say that swords are identical to mine, with plates from one side.

    May be next year I will take a ski trip to Austria instead of my usual destination in Sweden; should be interesting to visit this castle.
    I am probably wrong and just seeing things. Having downloading the image, cropped, enlarged and looked again, you are likely right.

    Cheers
    GC

  24. #24
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    I’m getting intrigued by these swords. I bought mine mostly because you can get a very nice piece of history for still a very reasonable price. But now I see how they are different and questions are formed in my mind.

    The attached from Anton Dolloczek Monographie der k.u.k. österr. ung. blanken und Handfeuerwaffen... (1896) describes the type of sword generally as reiterdegen (riding sword) and the one on the left more specifically as haudegen (chopping sword) dated 1679. The fishtail ones seem to be an earlier variant dating 1630. The haudegen shows the thumb ring without guard plate on one side. So would the ones with symmetric guard plates be more Northern European or of a later date?

    I wish I had some of those Hungarian books. I highly recommend the Budapest History Museum, especially if you like hussar arms! Their collection is simply amazing.
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    Last edited by Magnus K; 04-26-2019 at 07:14 AM.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for the picture, Magnus. Interesting book, I haven't seen it before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus K View Post
    So would the ones with symmetric guard plates be more Northern European or of a later date?
    I think symmetric guard plates are from the Northern Europe and Netherlands. In Alpine region they use swords with single plate and finger loop (straight blades for heavy cavalry, curved blades for infantry and light cavalry). In Bavaria, probably, both types.
    There was no regulation at that times, but trends and fashion are always present. In any historical period.

    Regards,
    Ivan

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