Peter Finer

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A German Military Horseman’s Rapier (Reiter), c. 1580

Item Ref: 1196 Price on application

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Germany. Steel, iron, wood and fish-skin.


The Dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Clarence H. Mackay
Hans von Schulthess, Schloss Au, near Zurich, Switzerland

The fine untouched condition of this hilt is complemented by its historic provenance and its subsequent inclusion in two renowned private collections of the 20th century.  

A series of military rapiers with closely comparable hilts is preserved in the historic armoury of the Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria, in Schloss Ambras near Innsbruck. These are distinguished from otherwise closely related series by the inclusion of a thumb-ring within the inner-guard: see Norman 1980, inner guard type 12, of which Norman cites an example dated 1579 and another made prior to 1583. One such example with a hilt for the greater part identical to the present one is in the Royal Armoury, Turin (G 13). Another is in the Royal Armouries, Leeds (IX-1029). A further hilt of this type, thought to be from Schloss Ambras also, was formerly in the celebrated collection of the Baron de Cosson (1846-1929), and subsequently included in the sale of antique arms from the collection of Roy G. Cole, Christies, Important Firearms, Side Arms ….., 22 November 1965, lot 178

A.V.B. Norman, The Rapier and Small-Sword 1460-1820, London 1980

With blued iron hilt of rounded bars, comprising a pair of long horizontally recurved quillons with swelling pointed tips, upper and lower ring-guards each swelling in the middle, a pair of arms, inner-guard of three diagonal bars with thumb-ring, large globular pommel, original fish-skin covered wooden grip, and the hilt retaining much of its original finish. 

With flat tapering double-edged blade with central fuller, and the ricasso struck with a series of small marks within an incised linear frame. 

Size: Length 127 cm / 50 in