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Scottish Basket Hilted Broad Sword of Transitional type circa 1650

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Price: £4,275

Ref: 076.18

Item Description

A scarce and attractively proportioned early Scottish basket hilted broad sword dating to the middle years 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 mounted with larger pierced guard plates.

This example, is formed with butterfly side guards engraved with lines and hexagonal shaped guard panels decorated to the front with diamond shapes with crosses inside formed from pairs of incised parallel lines. The dome-shaped pommel has an integral button from which four pairs of parallel lines incised in similar manner to those on the guard plates radiate outwards. The pommel has a groove chiselled around two thirds of its circumference, just below the middle, into which the uppermost ends of the guard arms are secured. A short protruding rear quillon is present as is a cut groove underneath the cross base which secures the ricasso shoulders of the blade in usual Scottish manner. The baluster shaped wooden grip has a stitched leather cover.

The broad double edged blade is of high quality, of gently tapering form, and of flattened lenticular section with a rounded tip. Three deep fullers emanate from the hilt for circa 9 inches, the middle one being slightly longer and broader than the others, which are of equal dimensions. A small punched armourer’s mark is present in the middle fuller each side. The overall length of the sword is 39.75 inches (101 cm) and the blade length 34 inches (86 cm).

This sword closely resembles that illustrated in “Scottish Swords and Dirks” by John Wallace, 1970, Arms & Armour Press, fig 23, as well as fig D10a illustrated on page 82 in “British Basket-Hilted Swords” by Cyril Mazansky, Boydell Press 2005. See also a further example illustrated on pages 114 & 115 in “British Military Swords 1600 to 1660”, Stuart C Mowbray, Mowbray Publishers, 2013.

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