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Scottish Basket Hilted Broad Sword of early 17th century transitional type

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Price: £4,450

Ref: 061.17

Item Description

A scarce and attractively proportioned early Scottish basket hilted broad sword dating to the second quarter of the 17th century, and the Civil War periods in England and Scotland. The hilt is of an evolutionary type that sits between the earliest forms of Scottish basket hilted sword, known in historical sources as the “Irische” type, that appeared towards the end of the 16th / early 17th century, and the arrival of the fully formed Scottish basket hilt in the later 17th century, which was mounted with larger pierced and engraved guard plates.

This example, is formed with butterfly side guards and flattened guard panels to the front filed with decorative crescents to the sides. The “door-knob” shaped pommel has an integral grooved button on top and a pronounced neck beneath. The three upper guard bar terminals tuck into three slots cut into the front and sides of the pommel. The pommel profile is reminiscent of the type found on some Scottish two-handed swords dating to the late 16th century.

A groove cut underneath the cross bar secures the ricasso shoulders of the blade in the usual Scottish manner. The baluster shaped wooden grip is covered with shagreen and an old leather liner is also present.

The double-edged blade is of high quality, of gently tapering form, and of flattened lenticular section with a rounded tip. A ricasso of 1.5 inches (4 cm) length extends from the hilt with two wide fullers either side near the blunt edges and with narrow incised lines running in parallel to the inside. From the end of the ricasso a single, broader, shallower, fuller extends along the middle of the blade either side, the shoulders of which are highlighted with incised lines. Between these lines the armourer’s marks “ANDREA” and “FERARA” are present with thumbnail and dot marks imbetween and flanked by further dot designs.

The overall length of the sword is 37.25 inches (94.5 cm) and the blade length is just under 32 inches (81 cm). Overall the sword is an attractive item, well-balanced in hand, and in particularly good condition for its age and type.

The hilt of this sword resembles those illustrated in “British Basket-Hilted Swords” by Cyril Mazansky, Boydell Press 2005, pages 78 to 84, housed in various Scottish and other collections.

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