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English Duelling Rapier of the early 17th Century

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Price: £3,650

Ref: 010.15

Item Description

An English duelling rapier mounted with a chiselled steel hilt of superb workmanship dating to circa 1620 to 1645. The dish guard is pierced and engraved on its convex surface with five circular concentric bands of different design of typically English execution.

The first, in the centre, is a solid roundel through which the tang passes and is chiselled with scrolls and foliage in raised relief against a stippled background of punched dots. The second is a finely formed delicate band of pierced open work quatrefoils. The third is a ring of dots formed in raised relief against a stippled background similar to the background to the designs in the central roundel. The fourth band is a further ring of quatrefoils, with the fifth band, the outer rim, chiselled with delicate feather shapes which form a scalloped outer edge to the dish.

The quillon block is fluted, as is the tall ovoid pommel, which is forged with an integral  pronounced neck and button. A pair of straight quillons with downward scrolling terminals project from the block and are secured to the edge of the dish mid way by a pair of scrolled arms of the style seen on other English sword types of the period. The attractive grip is formed from a wooden tubular core covered with narrow copper twisted wire and ribbon, on top of which a spiral of thicker copper wire chain-work has been applied, plus “Turks” heads top and bottom.

The long slender tapering blade is of stiff diamond section and decorated with a blue and gilt finish for the first 5.25 inches (13 cm) of its length of which circa 60% remains. The blade retains its original duelling length of 42.25 inches (107 cm) and overall the length of the rapier is 50 inches (126.5 cm).

Similarly chiselled designs in concentric rings are present on the dish of  another fine English rapier illustrated in “British Military Swords”, Stuart C Mowbray, Mowbray Publishing, 2013, pages 276 and 277, now in the Victoria & Albert Museum (Ref: 58-1947) and once in collection of The Baron de Cosson.

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