Fine Antique Arms & Armour

German Military Rapier Of The 30 Years War Period Ref: 012.17


Price: £3,350

Item Description:


A well balanced and dextrous German Clam Shell Rapier dating to the second quarter of the 17th century. The complex hilt is formed from rectangular and square section bars of varying widths, depending on function,  and is formed around a robust vertically fluted quillon block, shaped with downward facing triangular langets which hold the blade tang tightly in place. Two tapering horizontal quillons emanate from the block to form a cross guard and terminate in waisted swollen knops.


From the centre of the cross guard two horizontal guard rings are forged. From underneath the middle of the cross bar two pas de ane rings curve in convex manner downwards to meet and form a secondary cross bar to which is attached two smaller, horizontal, outwardly upper sloping guard rings. The attachment of these is reinforced by the addition of four counter-curved guard bars which reach downwards from the primary guard rings above. Each secondary guard ring is covered below by a scallop shaped shell guard with the concave sides facing upwards. Underneath, the shells are outwardly fluted with radiating lines to complete the "scallop" appearance.


The oval pommel is formed with six flattened sides. Front and back, the sides are similar in size and larger than the others with two decorative vertical grooves filed top to bottom with the middle ridges further filed into strings of small squares. The integral neck is decorated in similar manner and the waisted vase shaped button is also integral. The other four sides of the pommel are smaller than those front and back, left plain, and are of similar size, creating the horizontal six sided oval shape to the pommel in cross section.


The blade is double edged, of stiff diamond section, possesses a short ricasso and tapers to its point. From the hilt, either side, a central fuller 8.25 inches (21 cm) long extends from the hilt with the place of manufacture, "SOLINGEN", deeply impressed either side. The consistency of the taper shows that the blade retains its original length. The wooden grip is spirally fluted and covered with a decorative wrap of alternating bands of twisted wire. "Turks Heads" are present top and bottom.


Overall the sword is in good original condition, stained with age, without deep rust wounds or pitting. Munitions grade swords of this type were produced at the hiatus of the 30 Years War when demand was highest and speedy production essential. Whilst the architecture of the hilt is typical of the first half of the 17th century, complex and aesthetically pleasing, to save on cost and time in the process of manufacture, "finishing" is largely absent. In this respect, the sword is a fine representation of one of the most caustic periods of European history.  The blade length is: 36.75 inches (93.5 cm) and overall is: 44 inches (111 cm) long


To enquire about this item please click here:

Click a photograph for a large version