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shayde78 15th August 2017 06:02 PM

Assistance requested for ID of smallsword
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Hello all,

I'm hoping some of you will be able to provide some information on the item pictured below. Approx 38" overall, 31" straight/single edged blade. I haven't seen this hilt form before, but my experience is VERY limited. The guard is totally unadorned. There are simple (but cleanly executed) oak leaves rendered on the pommel and finials. There also are nearly invisible oak leaves on the blade, but I cannot get them to show in a photo.

I initially assumed it was a repro, but am not so sure. Even so, is it intended to represent an actual model? Fingers crossed.

As always, thank you for sharing your expertise.

ulfberth 16th August 2017 11:58 AM

Hello Shayde,

its no repro but a German or better Prussian model of 19th C small sword.
These were also made for export to other countries at the time.

Kind regards


Roland_M 16th August 2017 12:54 PM

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as Ulfberth said, this sword looks like a german IOD aA (Infanterie Offiziers Degen alter Art), which means Infantry Officer Epee old type.

The short ricasso means normally around 1860 or earlier but there is no signature and other decorations and the hilt is not the same as on my IOD.



kronckew 16th August 2017 04:01 PM

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looks like a german infantry officer's sword, 2nd half 18c. i suspect the wood hilt was once wrapped in twisted or braided wire.

the general hilt style was common in europe and GB and even the USA used them for NCOs up to the civil war. officers of course bought their own swords and they thus vary a bit.

Saxony, it appears, was fond of the finger rest.

here's one from the saxony electorate:

shayde78 17th August 2017 05:34 PM

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Would an authentic example have (gulp) a threaded tang?

Also, the singular finger rest (can it rightly be called a pas d'ane given its position?) seems a very practical feature for a single edged weapon as it allows for easy indexing. A double edged blade can have a more symmetrical layout. Is this a fair thought?

kronckew 17th August 2017 09:31 PM

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the pas d'ane is usually loops on both sides, the single one is as mentioned usually found on single edged blades. other weapons can have them too like my espada (pic below)

many sabres have this feature as a leather loop, sometimes missing in older swords, polish sabres may be found with thumb loops rather than forefinger ones. it aids control and improves the grip.

the pas d'ane on some smallswords is more decorative and not large enough to insert a finger. small swords with triangular blades do not really need indexing. the example i posted appears to be double edged, tho of course it's mostly a thrusting weapon that can cut a bit if sharp. with the full bow guard, the upper edge, while useful for back cuts, is not the main edge.

when i was fencing, i liked an italian grip, you could put two fingers thru the pas d'ane and strap the pommel to your wrist, aided and locked & strengthened the grip and as it was not a cutting weapon, did not need or benefit from having the wrist flexible.

shayde78 19th August 2017 03:40 AM

A gilded cousin, perhaps. here

I'm embarrassed to say, but even after four years of German classes, I need help translating the description:

Preussischer Infanterie Offiziersdegen "IOD" alter Art [this I can understand]

Einschneidige Klinge, beiderseits mit Hohlbahn und Hohlkehle
Klingenrücken mit Händlername und Herstellungsort bezeichnet:
Keibel in Berlin
Gefäss aus Messing vergoldet
Griffhilze aus Holz
Griffzwinge mit einem Bügel um Finger aufzulegen, was den Degen troz seiner stattlichen Grösse führig macht, ähnlich wie die öfters anzutreffende Fingerlasche aus Leder

kronckew 19th August 2017 08:49 AM

translation from google (my technical german ain't all that hot either, neither is google's). i added a missing bit from your source page ;).

Single-edged blade, on both sides with hollow path and hollow flute
Blade back with dealer name and place of manufacture:
Keibel in Berlin

Brass vessel gold plated
Hand grip made of wood
With a strap around the fingers, which makes the sword troz its great size, similar to the often encountered finger-lobes of leather

Total length: 105cm
Blade length: 89cm
Grip length: 16cm
Weight: 926g

shayde78 25th August 2017 06:54 PM

HERE is a document about this type of smallsword. It is in German, but I thought others might find it interesting. I'm going to take the time to re-learn the language a bit and translate what I can, but thought I'd park the link here for future reference.

By the way, from what I can tell my example pictured seems to be early 1800s, with some similar examples having been used in the Freiheitkrieg, which I'm thinking if the American Revolutionary War, but could refer to another war for independence of which I'm not familiar. Still, the dates given for this 'krieg' are late 1700s.

Cheers, all.

Victrix 25th August 2017 07:41 PM

There was a Freiheitskrieg ("Freedom War") a.k.a Befreiungskrieg ("Liberation War") in Germany against the Napoleonic Empire 1813-15. A loose German Confederation was formed after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815. This paved the way for the creation of the German Empire under Prussian leadership in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian war. I think it might be challenging to talk about "Germany" as a country before 1871 but could be wrong. Might be more helpful to say Prussian, Saxon, Bavarian, etc before that year. Of course these were all Germanic states where the German language was spoken.

corrado26 26th August 2017 09:38 AM

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For those who are able to read and understand German text here a copy out of "Gerd Maier, Preussische Blankwaffen, Volume I (of 12)".

kronckew 26th August 2017 11:19 AM

danke schön. ;)

drawing indicates it is a special or alternate infantry officer form. (sonderform), with the shell about to explode on the grip wrapping. grenadier?

corrado26 26th August 2017 11:29 AM

The owner belonged to one of the Prussian Guard Grenadier Regiments

shayde78 24th October 2017 03:48 AM

Revisiting the piece in the original post, any advice on how to restore the missing wire wrap on the grip?

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