In June of 2002, Caja Castilla-La Mancha acquired the collection of clasp knives belonging to Rafael Martínez del Peral y Fortón, Marquis of Valdeguerrero. It was formed over 33 years by visiting auctions, antique dealers, flea markets, urban markets, towns and villages in Spain and abroad. An activity that the marquis describes as “a little folly” to which he devoted time and finances.
The result of this effort was a varied and rich collection of 500 pieces, whose value is derived from its antiquity, its beauty, the nobility of the materials, the ornamental details, the diverse types and the fact of being folding knives made by artisans from Spain and from other countries. Caja Castilla-La Mancha Collection has a great scientific value. It gives us a global vision of the European knife making production and allows us to establish similarities, concordances and identities, ranging from the local to the global level.
The pieces of this collection come from different countries and populations and date from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. These pieces constitute a rich and diverse set that includes: “navajas de espejillos” (pocket knives with little mirrors), classic folding knives date from the nineteenth century, aristocratic and luxury ones, seafaring, peasant, rural and folding knives of scribes. All of them have been made with different materials and decorated with different ornamental techniques.Pocket Knives from Albacete
The artisans of Albacete have left their expertise reflected in several kinds of folding knives: popular, classical, “de espejillos” (with little mirrors), rural or peasant, aristocratic or luxury and large or display folding knives. The art of these masters went beyond their confines and such was the fame of the forging process and the beautiful decoration of the handles, that Albacete’s knife making became a benchmark for many craftsmen of other places.Folding knives from other Spanish populations
The folding knives, made in Toledo and in Albacete, were the most famous, but other Spanish populations also contributed to the great prestige of our craft. This is the case of the folding knives from Santa Cruz de Mudela, Málaga, Jerez, Sevilla, Huesca, Sástago, Zaragoza, Bilbao or Solsona, all of them represented in this collection.French Clasp Knives
In France, cities such Nontrón, Châtellerautl, Caen Tinchenbray, Cosne-Sur, Langres Nevers, Nogent, Périgeux, Thiers, Toulouse and Saint-Etienne were Cutlery Centres. Some of them disappeared with the French Revolution, but others, like Thiers, have survived to this day.Clasp Knives from other countries
We can highlight the folding fruit knives made in Sheffield and Birmingham, characterized by their small size. In the Museum, there is also folding knives “vendetta corse”, manufactured in Corsica. Germany is another country dedicated to the knives production, highlighting the city of Solingen. And finally, you will find folding knives of Chilean origin, oriental pieces and a Yugoslavian folding knife.