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Fine North Italian or German Swept Hilt Rapier of the early 17th Century

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Price: £6,875

Ref: 011.17

Item Description

A splendid swept hilt rapier in lovely original condition with an attractive consistent patination all over. The rapier retains its original blade length of 42 inches (108 cm) and is well balanced and comfortable in-hand. The weapon is an elegant example of the early 17th century armourer’s craft with attractive flowing curves to the hilt which complement the strength of its construction. The overall length is 48 inches (122 cm).

The complex hilt is formed from smoothly rounded bars which give an elegantly contoured appearance to the hilt. The platform for the hilt construction is the strong quillon block from which extend the front and back quillons, of equal length, which swell towards their rounded terminals. To the front a bold knuckle bow extends upwards from the block to the pommel to terminate in a stylised scroll. From midway along the knuckle bow counterguards and looped side guards extend downwards either side to conjoin with a guard ring which emanates from beneath the cross guard to create a secondary guard structure.

The pommel is of bold truncated cone shape, with rounded edges, and with a button on top and pronounced swollen ribbed neck beneath. The rim of the button and the lower rim of the neck are similarly decorated with linear patterns of scrolls. The baluster shaped grip is bound with alternately spaced twisted and straight lengths of silver wire and mounted with silver “Turks’ Heads” top and bottom.

The fine quality blade is of stiff construction. It has a ricasso 3.25 inches (8 cm) long which swells slightly towards its end and passes from the cross guard through the secondary guard structure beneath. From this point the blade tapers gently to its tip. A broad central fuller extends from the hilt through the ricasso for 10 inches (25.5 cm) along the blade. On each side of the fuller within the ricasso diamond shapes and dot patterns are cut. Diamond shapes are also incised into the undersides of the pads which form the convergence of the secondary guard bars beneath the cross.

On one side of the blade a copper running wolf mark is inlaid into the fuller probably indicating Solingen or Passau as the place of manufacture. Beyond the fuller terminal the blade is of flattened hexagonal section to its tip.

For a similar example see “The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons”, Leslie Southwick, Antique Collectors’ Club, 1982, page 40, Fig 76.

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