Question: Anyone recognize this engraving?

wowilson

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Hello all, my customer showed me this Colt 38 Super from his collection. I was impressed with it and thought it was likely done by a professional engraver. There are no obvious signatures or marks, not even under the grips. Do any of you recognize the work? The date of manufacture puts the gun at 1965 so who knows, maybe the artist is still around, maybe they are on this site. Thanks for looking.
 

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Roger Bleile

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That gun was definitely cut in a style common to German and Austrian engravers. Japanese engravers use a similar style but the technique of cutting and shading is not Japanese. Two things don't look like they were done by a German or Austrian. One is the use of wriggle tooling around the animals. The other are the animals themselves. Any engraver trained in Suhl or Ferlach would cut a better representation of those animals. So we may have a self taught American engraver who learned to work in that Germanic style. That's my best guess.

Look at the letter B on the left side of the trigger guard. Does it look like it was made with a stamp or hand cut?
 

wowilson

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Wade,

That gun was definitely cut in a style common to German and Austrian engravers. Japanese engravers use a similar style but the technique of cutting and shading is not Japanese. Two things don't look like they were done by a German or Austrian. One is the use of wriggle tooling around the animals. The other are the animals themselves. Any engraver trained in Suhl or Ferlach would cut a better representation of those animals. So we may have a self taught American engraver who learned to work in that Germanic style. That's my best guess.

Look at the letter B on the left side of the trigger guard. Does it look like it was made with a stamp or hand cut?
Looking at the B under the microscope. It is deeper on one side like you often see on stampings which makes me think stamp. However there is also a definite "stop" blemish where the bottom loop meets the top. So, I guess what I'm saying is that even after looking at it I'm not 100% sure. I would lean toward stamp, though.
Thanks for taking a look at it. I really thought that it might be a known artist.
 

Sam

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I was going to guess maybe Japanese, but defer to Roger's expertise. The ornamental work itself is well done and balanced and is the work of an experienced engraver. The animals however, look like grade school work. It's obviously production engraving cut quickly without attention to minute detail, but is still a rather pleasing design if you overlook the critters.

I think it's a good example of the artwork carrying the design when the cutting isn't so great, as there are plenty of overshoots and irregular lines. In the hand I'll bet it looks pretty good. Just don't loupe it.
 

John B.

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Like Sam, I bet Japanese engravers. Probably engraved in the US or the PX in Japan, they worked both.
A group of these Japanese engravers, trained in Germany and Austria, who came to the US in the '80s.
They did quickie, reasonably priced engraving jobs, mainly at gun shows and trap clubs.
Usually, not bad scrollwork, quickly shaded, lousy animals and poor backgrounds.
No way to be sure but this one has all the MO of those guns.
 

T.G.III

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Just a question, the slide release looks as though it was cut by a different hand, is this due to the background not being relieved?
 

John B.

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Just a question, the slide release looks as though it was cut by a different hand, is this due to the background not being relieved?
Hi T. G. If you have ever have to cut one of the slide release you would find how hard they are.
That is probably why it is lighter cut, not much shading and no background.
 

handengraver

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Whoever did this job must have been a seasoned engraver. His scroll work has remarkable quality. Most likely he was not quite familiar to draw wildlife. I guess that was a one time adventure to please a client. Objectively, those images are far from perfection - still the client might have been pleased...
 

T.G.III

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Hi T. G. If you have ever have to cut one of the slide release you would find how hard they are.
That is probably why it is lighter cut, not much shading and no background.
Thanks for the information John, it just looks so different to my untrained eyes. As far as my experiences with cutting on firearms, I've none, not near enough practice time with the pencil and eraser to feel comfortable enough to try my hand at that, I consider that work to be the pinnacle of achievement for me.
 

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