Fine Antique Arms & Armour

Rare Late 17th Century English Officer's Gilt Hilted Broad Sword Ref: 01.15



Price: £2,550

Item Description:


A good, robust and functional late 17th century English officers' sword. The unconventional hilt identifies this sword as part a distinct and rare group notably illustrated in Cyril Mazansky's "British Basket-Hilted Swords", Boydell Press, 2005, (page 206, fig IIC1, page 213, fig IVB3, page 215, fig IVBC1). The hilt is of iron, originally covered with gilt all over, of which much remains.


This form of hilt was to evolve into different but related forms throughout the 18th century for the British military. The hilt is formed from a base of two moulded shell guards infilled with shallow plates. The knuckle bow is joined at the base with two scrolling bars and at the top tucks into an aperture at the base of the pommel. The moulded rear quillon is downward turned and terminates with a tear drop. Underneath the hilt two small rudimentary langets are present either side. From this feature it is clear that the sword form evolved from the earlier "Mortuary" hilt which dates to the English Civil War and Cromwellian periods.


The pommel is globular with an integral neck and pommel button. The grip is of wood and mounted with its original silver twisted wire binding and Turks Heads top and bottom. The broadsword blade tapers to its tip and has a short pronounced ricasso with short fullers next to each blunt edge. A single central pronounced fuller extends from the end of the ricasso for some 7 inches (18 cm) either side after which the blade is of lenticular section to its tip. Either side the letters ANDRIA FERARA are cut into the central fuller together with orb marks and small crosses.


The blade dates to the second half of the 17th century, is contemporary with the hilt and was probably manufactured in Solingen - still an important blade making centre for British sword makers as home grown competence in blade making was yet to properly evolve on a large scale.


Overall length 39.25 inches (99.5 cm). Blade length 32.75 inches (83.25 cm).


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