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
Silver smallsword, Inspecteur aux Revues
This sword, dating from 1805-09, would have been carried by an Inspecteur aux (or 'des') Revues (the equivalent of Commissary in the British Army), responsible for pay, provisions (hence the ears of wheat on the guard and knuckle bow) and the depot system. Before this sword, they simply carried an ordinary infantry sword. The sword is rare.
Tinder lighter by Simmons
A small quantity of tow or wood shavings would have been placed in the pan, from which to light a candle. This Georgian example is marked 'Simmons' on the lock plate, which could refer to a Birmingham or London maker. 'G S' is lightly stamped in a dog-tooth-bordered rectangle on the left side of the stock, which could refer to the maker or owner.
.32 Whitneyville five shot revolver, single action rim fire
This was made at the Whitneyville Armory, Connecticut, USA, and is marked accordingly on the top barrel flat. It has a 3.25" barrel, stub trigger and lacquered rosewood grips. It fired a rim fire cartridge with a soft lead slug and a black powder load. Some 30,000 were made in various barrel lengths and other calibres, notably .22 and .38.
Army dagger, model 1936
This dagger, maker marked Tiger Solingen, is a classic pre-war piece in a high quality EPNS finish. It would have been worn by army officers in the late 1930s and the early years of WWII until 1942, when the high command ordered the officers to discontinue wearing them and replace them with a handgun.
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.
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.
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.