- 20th-century Decorative Art
- Arms and Armour
- Books, Manuscripts and Maps
- Classical Antiquities, Coins and Medals
- Clocks, Barometers and instruments
- Jewellery, Snuff Boxes and Miniatures
- Medieval art
- Modern Art
- Oriental and Asian Art
- Paintings, Drawings and Prints
- Porcelain, Ceramics and Glass
- Tribal and Pre-Columbian Art
- Textiles, Carpets and Tapestries
- Works of Art
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Arms and Armour
With ‘Arms and Armour’ we consider collectible weaponry dating before 1900. This varies from firearms which were intended for military use, up to cultural weapons from Africa, Middle-East and Asia.
It was my love and understanding of world weapons and culture that sparked a desire for me to properly understand African weapons and culture. My somewhat tenacious studies of African arms have been strenuous, enduring six years. The radical complexity that one encounters involving African weapons are not encountered with weapons from many other cultures. This is spawned from the flux of artistically expressive ceremonial weapons commonly seen in most publications (books or the internet) and auction houses rather than functional examples. African weapons can be separated into three basic categories: functional utility, functional expressive, and ceremonial weapons.
“Dha” (or “dah”) is a generic term for a sword or knife of the various ethnic groups that make up what was formally Burma (now Myanmar), Siam (Thailand), Cambodia and Laos. It actually is a Burmese term that simply means "blade." The corresponding term in Thai is "daab," or "darb." We in the West tend to use it to refer to a variety of sword and dagger-length weapons that are used by a variety of people in continental Southeast Asia. Thus, what are referred to here as “dha” are those swords used by the peoples of mainland Southeast Asia, defined as present-day Burma, Thailand (exclusive of the Malay peninsula), Yunnan, Laos and Cambodia, and in places like Assam and Bengal, to the extent the foregoing peoples have settled there.
From the 15th to 17th centuries, the Castillian city of Toledo in central Spain, flourished with an exceptional blade making industry, surpassing other Spanish cities like Valencia, some villages in Basque Country, or even the capital, Madrid. Toledo was considered as the standard of excellence for European blade production, and there were only a few places, like Solingen or Passau in Germany, that surpassed Toledo in terms of production volume. Blade production in Toledo was the responsibility of individual smiths, associated in a guild. It was a rather disperse and personal activity, although the guild was in charge of keeping production quality at a high level.
A gun with a known historical association is a tangible connection to our collective past, and such connections are rare and precious things. Precious implies value, value implies price, and the question always arises for a collector – exactly how much is history worth?
The "faking" of firearms is not a new phenomenon. Back in the 1800’s the practice of peddling shoddy merchandise marked so as to fool the unwary into thinking he was purchasing a quality gun was not unusual. Witness the many 19th century single shot percussion pocket pistols marked "Derringer" or "Deringe" or some other variation of the famous Deringer name, or the European copies of S&W Model 3 Topbreak revolvers that even went so far as to duplicate the S&W barrel address markings.