Exceptionally rare steel instrument set in decorated leather etui from Albacete Spain. Set features finely decorated scissors with bird motif handles signed “Albacete” on one side and “1770” on the reverse; a pair of intricately engraved tweezers with spoon tip; a large knife with file worked curves and incised designs; a small shovel-shaped scraper with floral and geometric details; and a “Puntilla” or short dagger featuring a perforated heart and engraved bird motif typical of Albacete. This type of short dagger is also known in Spanish as the “Puntilla de Miserecordia” or “Mercy Dagger”, similar to those used for the final death blow in bull fighting. The wood and leather case was custom made for each tool with fitted compartments and is decorated with painted details and geometric incised lines.
Located in the south-east of Spain, Albacete was a center of blacksmithing from the 16th through 19th centuries and was known for scissors and knives of exceptional beauty and quality. Each object in this case was handmade in the iron workshops of Albacete and decorated using typical etched floral patterns and animal motifs.
This set is highly significant as the only known intact five-piece etui signed and dated from Albacete. The dagger piece with bird motif is especially significant as one of very few examples confirmed to be from Albacete. The set was recently published in an excellent 2019 book on writing instruments of Albacete by expert Jose Sanchez Ferrer (see final image in the image gallery).
Further information on Albacete cutlery can be found at the following reference:
In museums and past sales:
And at the very fine Museo de la Cuchilleria in Albacete which may be visited virtually here:
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Instrumentum is based in the United States and specializes in high quality 17th and 18th century scientific instruments for architecture, mathematics and navigation. We have collected antique instruments for over 20 years with a focus on early and rare European architectural drafting sets, dividers, and rules. If you are interested in something particular please contact us at email@example.com. Image galleries of our inventory can be viewed on Pinterest and Facebook at the following links: