Half Suit

Half Suit circa 1590

Composed. Etched in the Pisan fashion. Pieces well matched in size and etching pattern. Consisting of a gorget of two plates (upper lames missing), a breastplate of deep peascod form, asymmetrical pauldrons, arms and a gauntlet for the left hand. Composed of items A-149, A-235, A-242, and the left gauntlet from A-244. [inv. num. A-249]

Half Suit

Half Suit circa 1600-20

Augsburg. Well composed, quite possibly mostly from parts from a single series of similar munition armours in an arsenal. Consisting of a burgonet, breast, back, tassets, munions and a pair of elbow gauntlets. Rough from the hammer and with an overall blackened finish with areas of wear. Helmet with one piece bowl with high comb with integral peak. Neck of a single lame, cheek plates with bottom flaired to continue the neck lame. Peak with heavily struck Augsburg pine cone mark and less distinct maker's mark (possibly WH). Some remains of lining leathers. Neck lame, cheek plates and hinges appear to be originally part of the same helmet (not associated). Breastplate with central crease with a small, but definite peascod at the waist. Inward turned rolls at the arm and neck holes. Single fauld lame secured to a narrow flair at the bottom of the breast by three rivets and formed with a shallow arched cut out at the center. The edge of the arch with an inward turned roll, nicely terminated to align with the tassets. Marked near the neck with Augsburg pine cone mark and maker's mark (a small, crisp HR inside a recessed rectangle) and on the right side with a 9. The breast also has punched marks on the outside that indicate the location of the waist and the center and approximate locations of the arm holes and three notches on the edge of the left side of the inside of the waist flair and matching notches on the right side of the fauld lame. Signs of delamination in various parts of the breastplate. One piece backplate with a tall separate waist lame with integral flair forming a simple culet. Backplate with inward turned plain rolls at the arm holes and an inward turn (over wire) at the neck that rises to a point in the center. Culet with plain inward turn at the bottom rising to a shallow point at the center and with small points at the sides. Inward turned rolls at the top and arm holes. Marked with Augsburg pine cone mark and maker's mark (a somewhat less distinct BN inside a possibly round recessed area) at the neck. No signs of internal construction markings, but with some external punch marks indicating the waist line and the center of the bottom edge of the main back plate. The back appears to have come from a somewhat taller armour than the breast. Tassets of 4 lames secured to the breast by three buckles each. The bottom edges of the tassets and the front edge of the upper plate each with plain inward turns. Each plate centrally creased and the top edges beveled. Secured by sliding rivets at the outside and leathers at the center and inside. The tassets match the fauld well enough that they may be original to the breast plate. The buckles are attached to the tassets by buckle plates with simple punched decoration. The tassets and culet show no signs of having buckles or straps moved, but they have been reattached with later rivets. Munions of one plate front and back the upper edge rolled at the neck. Shoulders protected by five lames formed to the shoulder and arm and the last extending at the back to form to the elbow and with an inward turned rolled edge. The right shoulder associated. The main front plate coming to a deep point and with an aggressive central crease. One set of shoulder plates creased at the center, the other plain. The central front plate chiseled with the large inventory number 37. Apparently less closely associated gauntlets. Gauntlets with long, tapered cuffs extending to provide additional coverage at the elbow. The cuffs formed of an outer and separate inner plate. The back of hand covered by five metacarpal plates secured to the cuff by a wrist lame. Knuckle plates formed with a transverse rib and shaped to the fingers. Finger plates secured to leathers. Base of thumb covered by large plates secured to the last metacarpal plate by a leather hinge, extended over the thumb with scales. Some terminal finger lames decorated with a stylized finger nail. The cuffs bordered by brass capped lining rivets retaining portions of what appears to an original strap that secured the gloves (showing signs of the original stitch lines). Back of hands and fingers not as nice as the cuffs. They may have been added. Armour overall releathered long enough ago that the leathers are breaking. This could easily be composed from pieces from a series an arsenal (probably with the exception of the gauntlets), the main parts are all consistent with the same date and style. Augsburg marked pieces are rarer than Nuremberg ones, and munition pieces with additional marks identifying the maker are even rarer. This is a very nice example of a late 16th to early 17th century munition armour. No signs of replacement or restoration in the burgonet, munions, breast, back and tassets other than leathers and some rivets and a few buckles. [inv. num. A-272]

Italian Pauldron

Italian Pauldron late 16th cent

Large main plate overlapping those above and below. 2 plates above, 4 below. Main edges with inward-turned rolls and recessed borders. For use with a floating elbow or with elbow gauntlets. Brass-capped rivets. Leathers and some rivets replaced. Top plate cracked at the center with a modern riveted patch.

Thickness varies between .022 and .058 in., mostly .035-.040 in. There seems to be very little pattern to the thickness variation. There has certainly been some loss due to oxidation.

Measurements: height at the crease measured over the outside 12 1/2 in. length of the top of the main plate 17 3/4 in. (9 behind the crease, 8 3/4 in front).

Weight: 1 pound 13.6 ounces (840 g). [inv. num. A-35]


Pauldron late 16th century

Main plate with embossed sworls on front and back. Recessed borders. Large main plate with 2 upper plates. And 4 lower plates.

Measurements: length of top of main plate 20 5/8 inches - 10 1/8 behind the crease, 10 1/2 in front.

Weight: 2 pounds 0.8 ounces (930 g). [inv. num. A-132]

Arm harness

Arm harness circa 1540-60

Formed of an upper and lower vambrace articulated by means of one lame below and one lame above to the bracelet cop. The upper vambrace includes a turning collar which was originally directly attached by a sliding rivet at the back and two leathers to the pauldron. Rolled and roped borders at the wrist and on the edge of the wing. Simple outward rolls at the inner edge of the upper and lower vambraces (at the elbow). Elbow of very pointed form with full bracelet wing. Horizontal raised and roped ridge on the outside from the point of the elbow to the center of the wing. Iron rivets with brass caps articulating the plates and attaching the hinge for the lower vambrace.

Turning collar 4 3/4' in diameter. Lower vambrace 9 3/8' long at the longest point.

Upper cannon .030-.050' thick, lower cannon more even .030-.040' thick. [inv. num. A-27]

Arm harness

Arm harness circa 1600

Left arm formed of a tubular upper cannon fitted with a turner of 3 lames, the upper lame retains 3 rivets which secured a leather tab to lace the arm to the sleeve. The upper and lower are secured by a raised ridge in the upper that is engaged by a flare in the lower plate. The cop of bracelet form joined at the back with a single lame above and below. The vambrace formed of an inner and outer plate secured by two external hinges on the inside and a pin on the outside. The main edges with inward turns. The surface is rough from the hammer with remains of oxide finish. There is a pin on the outside of the main plate of the turner to secure the arm to the pauldron and a rivet on the inside securing a piece of leather that would originally have been a loop to secure the pauldron strap. The main edges are decorated with incised lines. Many of the rivets retain dapped brass caps. Ex. Royal House of Hanover.

Weight 3 pounnds 5.2 ounces (1,510 g). [inv. num. A-173]

Arm harness

Arm harness circa 1600

Left arm formed of a tubular upper cannon fitted with a turner of 3 lames. The upper and lower are secured by a raised, roped ridge in the upper that is engaged by a flare in the lower plate. The cop of bracelet form joined at the back with a single lame above and below. The vambrace of slight tubular form constructed from an inner and outer plate secured by one inset hinge on the inside and a pin on the outside. The main edges with roped inward turns. The surface is rough from the hammer with remains of oxide finish. There is a pin on the outside of the main plate of the turner to secure the arm to the pauldron. The main edges are decorated with incised lines. Many of the original rivets with dapped brass caps remain. The upper plate retains the leather tab used to secure the arm to the arming doublet. The hole at the inside of the turner plate would have secured a leather loop to secure the pauldron strap. The cop is cracked in 2 places. Ex. Royal House of Hanover.

Weight: 2 pounds 15.6 ounces (1,345 g). [inv. num. A-174]


Arm early 17th c.

Italian. Rough from the hammer. Vambrace with very slight tulip shape on the outer plate, inner plate secured by an inset hinge at the back and a pin engaging a hole in the outer plate at the front. Deep, broad cop with slight pointw at the center of the top and bottom. One lame below and above securing the cop to the vambrace. Upper formed of two large plates and two further smaller plates. The bottom two forming a turning collar. The top two secured to each other and the remainder by sliding rivets at the back and with leathers at the front and center. Leathers secured by pairs of rivets in each plate (leathers lost). interior edges of vambraces, cop and lames with pairs of chisel assembly marks. Engraved lines generally trippled parallel to the edges. Edges with inward turned plain rolls except at the elbow of the upper vambrace plate where the roll is turned outward.

Measurements: weight: 4 pounds 9.6 ounces (2.090 kilo).

Provenance: Ex. JW Higgins Armoury (inv. no. 927). Dr Bashford Dean, Riverdale, New York, purchased from his estate 28 September 1929. [inv. num. A-238]


Breastplate circa 1580

One piece with deep peascod form. Narrow sliding gussets at the arms. Fauld of two lames. Tassets formed of nine plates. Primary edges formed with inward-turned roped rolls. Secondary edges with single engraved lines. Breastplate and tassets with additional raised and roped ridges on each side. [inv. num. A-306]

German/Austrian (possibly Gratz) Breastplate

German/Austrian (possibly Gratz) Breastplate circa 1590

Including 2 buckles at shoulders. Rolled edges at arm holes and neck, full flare at waist - used without any fauld lames. Simple peascod shape. This breastplate is relatively light and most likely sword proof and not shot proof. This item is very similar to large numbers of breastplates in the Arsenal in Graz. Its original blackened finish has been removed by cleaning with acid. Originally it would have been used with a pair of tassets suspended directly from the wide flare at the waist of the breastplate - taking the place of the fauld. The holes for the tasset straps are evident. Each tasset would have been suspended by 3 straps and buckles - the ones nearest the edge and center of the breastplate were attached by 2 rivets, the central one with a single rivet. Weight 3.5 lbs.

rough inner and outer surfaces, but roughly .050-.060 inch thick overall. [inv. num. A-15]

Shot proof Breastplate

Shot proof Breastplate circa 1600

Simple one piece breastplate with central crease which droops to form a peascod at the waist. Arm and neck holes with simple outward-turned, lightly roped rolls. Flaired at the waist. Pierced with holes for shoulder straps at the shoulders and with pairs of holes for three straps on each side to secure tassets. Rough from the hammer finish. Proofed with a musket in the chest. Marked with an unidentified mark resembling '8Z'. Minor delaminations on the outside and some major delamination in the inside near the center of the neck.


Weight: 16 pounds 9.2 ounces. (7,520 g).

Thickness at the center of the bottom half up to 0.340 in. but generally closer to 0.290-0.320, in the top it reaches 0.350 inches near the center, tapering down to 0.250 in. at the shoulder, and down to 0.130 in. at the sides. [inv. num. A-209]


Breastplate circa 1610-20

Black. Heavy shot proof. with good full-form pinched peascod. Full inward turn at the neck. Simple flares at the arms and flared at the waist. There are signs of delamination on the inside. This breastplate seems to be formed of 2 layers of iron/steel. See ""Duplex armour: an urecognized mode of construction"" by de Reuck et. al. in Arms and Armour: Journal of the Royal Armouries Vol. 2 Number 1, 2005. Formerly in the Granscay collection (sold as part of lot 101, Sotheby's European Works of Art, Arms and Armour, Furniture and Tapestries New York - Jan 13 and 15, 1992 - the second item in the lot).

Height 14 in. from the base to center of the neck hole. Width 11 in. at the waist and 13 in. under the arm holes.

Thickest part is at the base near the waist just outside the center on each side where it reaches .240 in. There are very few hammer marks in these thick areas. Generally thins to .170 in. near the edge and .110 - .140 in. at the upper corners and around the arm holes. Mostly .200 to .220 in. in the upper center. Peascod thins at the center (likely from forming the very aggresive crease) to app. .170 in. [inv. num. A-17]


Breastplate circa 1610

Deep peascod form. Plain inward turned rolls at the neck, arms and at the base of the flair. Point relatively flat but drawn out to a narrow point. Holes for rivets along the edge of the flair. Rough from the hammer finish. Fitted with two pegs for shoulder straps and a paur of winged turning pins. Suggesting that it has been refitted for use in more than one configuration.

Measurements: 13 3/4 in. wide below the arm holes, 11 3/8 in. wide at the waist, overall 18 1/4 in. tall. 6 1/2 in. tall from waist to under the arm. Fauld flair 1 3/4 in. long. Thickness .17 in. at the neck, generally .12-.15 in. at the center and tapering to .-08-.09 in. at the sides. [inv. num. A-302]


Gorget circa 1600

Formed of one large main plate front and rear with two neck lames front and rear. The upper neck lame with an inward-turned rolled and ropped upper edge. The upper plates secured by an integral hinge on the left and a pin engaging a hole on the right. Expertly releathered with buff leather. [inv. num. A-159]


Burgonet circa 1580

Once piece skull rising to a high comb and extended at the front and back to form a brim and tail. Small cheek plates at each side. Etched in the Pisan manner. When purchased coated in old, browned varnish with some rust underneath. After cleaining, the surface is in reasonable shape with most of the etching remaining with good detail. There is some brazed repair to the top of the crest and a larger soldered repair to a small portion of one side of the crest. The point of the brim is slighly bent. Cheek plates not quite a pair. Nice full form with high comb and small cheekplates typical of the style. Currently displayed on the half suit A-249. [inv. num. A-301]


Burgonet Late 16th c.

South German. Black and white. One piece skull with high comb. The comb, a band along the face and an arched band on each side polished, the remainder black and rough from the hammer. Cheek plates hinged at the sides of the skull in the normal fashion, but extended to join under the chin where they overlap and are secured by a pin and hook. Each cheek plate with a raised polished area over the ear pierced with 5 holes connected by engraved lines. The front edge of the cheek plates continues the raised, polished band from the skull. Moveable peak pivoted at the sides of the skull. The bottom of the skull and cheek plates continued by separate plates - two over the neck and one on each cheek plate. These are secured to the skull by internal leathers and to the cheek plates by a sliding rivet at the back and leathers at the front. Edges of the peak and neck plates with a recessed border and inward, roped turns. Lining rivets at the base of skull along the neck continuing across the cheek plates and at the face hole. Most rivets of brass mimicing some (probably) original iron capped rivets. Nice, higher end example. [inv. num. A-274]

German Burgonet

German Burgonet late 16th century

One piece polished skull. High roped comb and integral brim. Separate neck lame and hinged cheek plates. Lower edge of the neck lame and cheek plates with inward-turned roped roll. Front edge of the cheek plates with simple turned in border. Cheek plates pierced with 5 holes over the ears in dice formation. Edges of the cheek plates and neck lame beveled. Nuremberg guild mark on the brim near the center. Right cheek plate stamped with Solothurn arsenal inventory numbers x 126. This helmet retains its original plume holder. Hinges appear to be original. Most remaining rivets appear to be original. The rivets that secure the leather loops at the chin of the cheek plates are replaced (as is the leather). The finish shows signs of areas that have rusted and it has been cleaned, but many parts of the surface show signs of the type of scratches that are typical of old munition polished surfaces. Similar, even more aggressive marks can be seen on the munions A-292 in this collection. Provenance: Bischoff Collection, Vienna. [inv. num. A-5]


Burgonet circa 1600

South German, probably Augsburg. One piece skull with high comb and integral peak and (atypically) neck flair and a pair of cheek plates. Inward turns at the edge of the peak, neck and lower edge of the cheek plates. The face edge of the cheek plates with a simple raised edge. Each cheek pierced with 5 holes at the center. Retains lining rivets at the face and neck. Rough from the hammer. One large hole in the back of the crest and an H pattern of smaller holes above the neck in the skull. The larger hole likely from how the piece was mounted in a display. Purpose of the smaller holes unknown. Retains blackened finish refreshed with paint. The integral neck flair is very unusual. It is present on some higher end burgonets often ascribed to an Augsburg origin, but generally the shape is more sweeping and less similar to the form of the burgonets with a neck lame. [inv. num. A-273]


Burgonet circa 1600

Augsburg. One piece skull with high comb and integral peak. Single neck lame and a pair of cheek plates. Rough from the hammer. [inv. num. A-276]


Burgonet circa 1600

South German Probably Augsburg. Two piece skull with high comb and separate inset peak and separate neck lame. A pair of cheek plates (the left probably associated and slightly worked to fit at the bottom). The hinge badly replaced on the re-worked cheek plate. The two piece construction is much nicer than many helmets. The two halves fit, are at the same level and the seam in the comb can be confused with an engraved line (which it was in the auction description where it was described as having a one piece bowl). Rough from the hammer. Edges with plain inward turns. Lining rivets at the face and neck lines. [inv. num. A-284]


Gauntlets circa 1480-90

Gothic Gauntlets. Nicely formed 'Gothic' gauntlets typical of the late 15th century in Germany. Fluted, engraved and pierced overall. Formed of a large metacarpal plate joined to a wrist lame by another, smaller lame. The cuff is also attached to the wrist lame. These plates are attached with sliding rivets allowing the wrist to flex in all directions. The knuckle plate is formed into a blunt point over each knuckle. The fingers are covered by 4 articulated plates fluted over each of the fingers. These gauntlets have been cleaned and re-assembled, but they are basically a complete pair of gauntlets. The thumbs have been restored and the left cuff is associated.

Thickness varies .020-.033 in. Generally thinner in the cuff and back of hand.

Measurements: 14.75 in. long with the slots extended, 13.875 in. long with the slots collapsed, 12 in. from the point of the cuff to the knuckles (with the slots extended and the hand drooped), 5.125 in. from the knuckles to the end of the fingers (with the fingers fully bent), 3 in. wide at the wrist, 4.875 in. wide at the knuckles, 3.56 wide aat the end of the cuff, width of the fingers at the rivets on different plates tapers from 3.875 in. down to 3.625 in. All measurements on the right gauntlet. [inv. num. A-98]

German Gauntlet (part)

German Gauntlet (part) circa 1490-1500

Finger, knuckle and 1 1/2 metacarpal plates of a German Gothic mitten gauntlet. The finger lames are fluted so simulate fingers, the knuckle plate with rounded and creased knuckles. The first metacarpal plate is fluted with v-shaped puckers to accommodate the flutes in the knuckle and finger lames. There is half of the hinge used to attach the thumb plate, and half of the second metacarpal plate remaining. Each of the articulations is formed with sliding rivets with slots app. 1/4 in. long. 2 rivets have been lost, the parts held together by bolts. Formerly in the collection of Leonard Heinrich - armourer to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

Thickness: Generally around .030 in. The back of hand plate is pretty consistently .028-.032. The knuckle plate varies more, generally .025-.030, the finger plates vary even more - .020-030. The hinge is folded over. The overall thickness of the two layers is .060 at the bend, the actual metal is likely a little thinner. The pin is .090 in diameter, the hinge is .450 wide at the pin. The partial plate is 3/4 in. wide at the center, .7 in. at near the bulge at the end, .85 at the bulge for the rivet. The second finger plate is just over 1 in. wide. The first plate is app. 1 1/16 in. wide. The main hand plate is 2 in wide at the first knuckle tapering to 1 11/16ths at the fourth knuckle.

Weight: 4.6 ounces (130 grams)

There are often questions about how the flutes can work through the range of movement, esp. where the knuckles interact with the metacarpal. The last two images posted show the interaction between the metacarpal and knuckle plates when the hand is straight and when the sliding rivets are fully compressed and fully extended. These show that they really don't work all that well when fully compressed and straight. They do look and work pretty well when somewhat bent and extended. This is just sort of the nature of movement when one plate has tapering flutes. [inv. num. A-47]

Mitten Gauntlet

Mitten Gauntlet late 16th century

Of russet steel. Hand formed of 5 overlapping plates articulated to allow the wrist to bend down and up. Fingers covered by mitten plates formed of 5 separate plates, the final one with a narrow, inwardly turned, roped roll. Hand joined to the fingers by a roped knuckle plate. Cuff of slightly tapered tubular form made from an inner and outer plate. There is a small roll on the inside of the elbow. This was most likely intended to be used without a vambrace as a simple elbow gauntlet. The end of the cuff has a line of rivets to secure a leather strip, the terminal finger plate has a line of rivets to secure the glove and there are remains of a palm strap secured to the main hand plate. Half of the hinge for the thumb remains. The articulations on this gauntlet are very well executed. The rivets appear to be original. From the George F. Harding Collection, previously ex collection Henry Griffith Keasby. 14 5/8 in long. Thickness - cuff .030-.042 back of hand .040-.050. Weight 1 pound 4.8 ounces (585 g) [inv. num. A-122]

German black and white mitten gauntlets

German black and white mitten gauntlets circa 1530-50

Short, almost straight cuffs formed of 2 plates rivited together. Cuff with rolled, roped and recessed border. Black surface rough from the hammer. White areas raised and ground smooth. Back of the hand formed of 5 plates. Knuckle plate fromed with a raised and roped ridge. Fingers covered by 5 articulated plates. Raised bands are normally associated with Augsburg. These gauntlets are relatively crudely formed, most likely for an arsenal armour. Small thumb lames replaced.

Weights: left 1 pound 2.6 ounces (525 g), right 1 pound 3.4 ounces (550 g). [inv. num. A-26]

Piece of Mail

Piece of Mail 16th century

Piece of Mail. Rings of round cross section except at the overlap. All rings rivetted. Wedge rivets. [inv. num. M-6]



Buckles 16th c. and earlier

Buckles that appear to have been used on armour The central ones are typical of buckles used on tassets or similar large armour buckles. The top right buckle shows a lower quality form with a welded in central bar. The bottom buckle retains rivets typical of 15th c. armour. It may have been used on a brigandine, mail item, or smaller piece of armour. Iron except for one copper alloy. [inv. num. L-x-buckles-16]