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A functional swept hilt rapier dating to the second quarter of the 17th century and the period of the European Thirty Years War. The rapier retains its original blade length of 41 inches (104 cm) and is well balanced, elegant, solid and comfortable in-hand with attractive flowing curves to the hilt which complement the strength of its construction. The overall length is just under 47 inches (119 cm).
The hilt is formed from gracefully rounded bars which give a smooth and contoured appearance. The hilt platform is the strong quillon block from which the thick front and back quillons extend with rounded terminals. To the front a bold knuckle bow extends upwards from the block top to the pommel front. From midway along the knuckle bow counter guards and looped side guards extend downwards either side to join with downward pointing semi-circular lower guard rings which emanate from beneath the cross guard to create a secondary guard ring structure below.
The pommel is of bold truncated cone shape with a button on top, rounded edges and a pronounced and swollen ribbed neck beneath. The grip is bound with wire.
The fine quality blade is of stiff construction. The ricasso is 2.25 inches (5.5 cm) long and terminates at the level of the secondary guard ring through which the blade passes. Thereafter the blade is of flattened diamond section and gently tapers to the tip. Either side the ricasso is shallowly hollow ground with lines cut along the sides punctuated with dots and an armourer’s mark consisting of a letter “P” struck in raised relief inside a recessed shield with a crown above.
A deep and broad central fuller extends from the end of the ricasso for 8.25 inches (21 cm) along the blade. The ridge-like raised sides of the fullers are incised with lines punctuated with dots. A stylised cross is cut into the blade just after the fuller terminates each side. Within the fuller on one side the letter “S” is followed by a space and a scroll-like symbol then “BASTIAN”, the whole inscription flanked by quatrefoil patterns of dots. On the reverse side the pattern is repeated with a letter “H” followed by a scroll design then “RNAN”, two further scrolls then the letter “Z”. The mark in the fullers is typical of those used by Toledo trained, or influenced smiths, and the blade was probably manufactured in a workshop in territories in Northern Italy under the jurisdiction of Spain, or nearby in the blade-making centres of Southern Germany satisfying the insatiable demands of the War.
For a similar example see “The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons”, Leslie Southwick, Antique Collectors’ Club, 1982, page 40, Fig 76.