Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Germany (probably north east, made)
    Aachen (made)

  • Date:

    1650 - 1700 (made)
    1853-1890 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Vasters, Reinhold of Aachen (enameller)
    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Amber with enamelled copper mounts and a steel blade

  • Credit Line:

    Salting bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

The handle is made from three pieces of carved amber mounted in three bands of enamelled copper; a steel tang runs through the whole, connecting it to the balde. The top is in the form of the head of a soldier helmeted in enamelled copper, while the length of the handle is incised in low relief with raised ovals.

Place of Origin

Germany (probably north east, made)
Aachen (made)


1650 - 1700 (made)
1853-1890 (made)


Vasters, Reinhold of Aachen (enameller)
Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Amber with enamelled copper mounts and a steel blade

Marks and inscriptions

Cutler's mark on the blade


Length: 16.8 cm, Length: 7.3 cm

Object history note

Previously in the Spitzer Collection (lot 1000 in the Sale Catalogue of 1893)

Historical significance: The mounts are the work of the 19th century restorer and forger, Reinhold Vasters of Aachen (1827-1909, active 1853-1890) whose drawings for goldsmiths' work are now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum and include these mounts. The amber however may have been carved in the 17th century: the pattern incised on the handle corresponds with other 17th century handles, and possibly the enamel mounts conceal earlier breaks; Vasters may have decided to improve the appearance of a damaged amber in need of restoration. It is conceivable that the amber too was carved in the second half of the 19th century, to imitate the 17th century style, although the chipped appearance means that it is impossible to be certain.

Descriptive line

Steel knife with a handle of amber and enamelled copper mounts by Reinhold Vasters of Aachen, probably north east Germany, 1650 - 1700, the enamelled mounts, 1853-1890.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Trusted, Marjorie. Catalogue of European Ambers in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985. 119 p., ill. ISBN 0948107138.
C. Truman, Reinhold Vasters - the last of the goldsmiths'?", Connoisseur, CC, no.805, March 1979, fig.8

Production Note

The knife and the maber handel date from the 17th century and were made in Germany. The enameeld mounts are a later addition by Reinhold Vasters of Aachen at some time between 1853 and 1890.


Amber; Copper; Enamel


Enamelling; Carving; Forging

Subjects depicted

Helmet; Soldier


Tableware & cutlery


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.