welcome to antique militaria!
I have been a military antiques dealer (based at Grays Antique Market in London's West End until Christmas 2008) for over 40 years: antique swords, weapons, guns, uniforms, helmets, equipment, medals, belt buckles, bayonets and almost all other items of general militaria. British, German, European and worldwide items... I have provided all kinds of arms and armour and military collectibles to both private customers, trade and museum clientelle all around the world!
featured antique military items
Heavy cavalry officer's levee sword, 1796 pattern
This sword was introduced, by regulation at any rate, as the 1796 pattern heavy cavalry officer's levee sword. The hilt design was taken from a commonly used continental type, principally Austrian and German, from the middle of the 18th century, and then married to the infantry officer's blade of 1796.
Maximilian stirrups, fluted wrought iron
This is a classic pair of early 16th-century stirrups, made en suite for a fluted Maximilian armour of the era. Remarkably few of these seem to have survived, in private collections at any rate. They were probably made at Innsbruck, or just possibly at Graz, so, strictly speaking, of Austrian rather than German origin.
Model cannon, possible Creusot manufacture
This fine model of a French or German field gun dates from the WWI era. It comes complete with a small black powder cartridge with a recess for a primer in its base to enable it to be used as a signalling gun or a rather posh toy.
Velo Dog revolver, hammerless .25 centre fire, double action
Designed as aids for cyclists in Europe against the danger of being chased by stray dogs, the .25 centre fire cartridge was not to be trifled with; the case alone was 3 cm long and the slug was copper jacketed with a soft lead core, certainly capable of dealing with a stray dog! These pistols would have been popular for household defence in the UK.
Gordon Highlanders broadsword, ERII
This is the 1832 pattern model, which has been used continuously through the 19th and 20th centuries into the present. It is a Wilkinson sword, numbered 90,733, which dates it to 1967 according to Wilkinson's records.
Prussian breast plate (cuirass)
This clean example is marked '2' and 'Hartkopf', very probably a retailer's mark, Hartkopf being an early 19th century firm of arms dealers and sword cutlers. Its construction suggests a date nearer to 1760 than later. They were, in any case, proscribed (specifically forbidden) in 1790 by the Prussian army.
a little history on my antiques interest
I have been a collector of military antiques since the age of 12, starting with bayonets and moving gradually on to swords, finally entering the broader military antique dealing arena in about 1970. At that stage, I rapidly started to learn about antique English pistols and revolvers.
In about 1980, I broadened my dealing coverage from mainstream militaria to include English campaign medals. The arrival of powerful auction houses in this field drove me back to my original interest in general militaria (swords, bayonets, dirks, guns, pistols, etc).
However, I still maintain a lively interest in all military objects, especially the rare and exotic, eg Imperial Russian and Austrian.
Throughout my dealing career, I have built up my personal collection of antique military prints and drawings and a substantial selection of early military photographs up to 1945, principally German and English. To aid both my dealing and collecting, I have a huge library covering all military aspects of antiques going back to the Middle Ages, and many aspects of antiques in general, especially early English silver.