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AHorsa 12th November 2017 05:23 PM

French (?) rapier 17th century
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Dear All,

I want to present this rapier / small sword. The lenght over all is 102cm. The blade is 2,6cm wide. The grip consists of wood covered with leather. The blade shows the "Passauer Wolf".
The handle and pommel are decorated with "fleur de lys" which makes me assuming it is French.
I would date it to the mid of the 17th century, buit I am not too sure.

Any comments on it are highly appreciated.

Beste regards

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 12th November 2017 05:53 PM

It is interesting that ~

The revolution of 1830.

After the little revolution of 1830 in Paris, King Louis-Philippe ordered the suppression of the symbols of the old monarchy. The « Fleur de Lys » present on several sword patterns were erased.

I suspect that your Rapier is French but may be a German blade and showing the Passau Wolf in narrow form to comply with the limits of the "gutter" (the hollow or fuller.)

AHorsa 12th November 2017 06:00 PM

Hi Ibrahim,

yes, the blade might be made in Solingen.
Thanks for the interesting information on the "little revolution" in 1830.


corrado26 13th November 2017 07:09 AM

In my eyes this is not a rapier but a campaign sword whose blade has been made not at Solingen but at Passau, what Ibrahim had said already.

AHorsa 13th November 2017 08:16 AM

Hi Corrado,

of course the Passauer Wolf is the symbol of the Passauer blade smiths. But as far as I know it was adopted widely by other smiths. Most of the 17th century blades I know, wearing the Passauer Wolf, are assigned to Solingen concerning the smith´s stamps. But of course there might be also "original" Passauer blades.

What mkes you think it is a campaign sword? I assumed it to be a rapier cause of the pas d´ane rings. If it´s campaign sword it would be great.

Best regards

mariusgmioc 13th November 2017 02:24 PM

The blade is rather long and strong but the hilt looks somehow disproportionate with respect to the blade and doesn't even alow a "rapier grip." So I don't relly know how such a sword would handle. :shrug:

AHorsa 14th November 2017 12:13 PM

Hi Mariusgmioc,

you´re totally right. But I nevertheless think that the blade and the handle belpngs together - the rivetting looks untouched and the size of the blade fits perfect with the ricasso. I searched the web and found some examples with similar characteristics, e.g.:

Jim McDougall 22nd November 2017 03:57 PM

This interesting sword does seem a genuinely intended example, in the 'style' of the 'cavalier' type swords of the 17th century which were in effect transitional precursors of the small sword on the 18th c. from rapiers.

In my view this is too much a civilian type rapier blade, too narrow for a campaign or 'arming' sword. The hilt does seem inadequately situated for effective handling in the fencing manner suggested by the long, slender blade.

The elements of the hilt appear cast, suggesting later production than the presumed 17th century period, but made in the style of. Regarding the 'French' attribution with the fluer de lis, it is important to realize the much broader use of that device in European symbolism and heraldry.
With regard to being French also, this long blade seems contrary to the 'fast' swordsmanship preferred by the French, as well known in the evolution of the small sword.

The unusual elongated 'Passau' wolf confined within the fuller seems a contrived application, but that was of course common. I would point out that this device was more a talismanic element which was attributed to Passau and such applications of these kinds of 'art' and amulets from there.
I have not found sound evidence of blade smiths from Passau, and it seems they actually received their blades from Solingen or Munich. One reference actually notes that the 'wolf' was applied to blades destined for Passau from Solingen (re: Wundes, "Cut and Thrust Weapons" E. Wagner, 1967, Prague).

In all, this may well be a 'historismus' weapon from later intended for dress or other wear. The fluer de lis may simply be intended with allusion to the Bourbon regime in some provincial tone.
Still a most attractive weapon with some interesting background.

AHorsa 24th November 2017 02:43 PM

Thanks Jim for your comprehensive response!

I am quite sure that the hilt is cutted from iron and no cast. It looks a bit like that due to the small corrosion pits.
I searched the web for similar examples. The most fitting one might be that one:

The hilt is also cutted iron and it has at least one pas d´ane ring and shows a thumb ring, which I would attribute more to cut-swords. The blade is also quite narrow. The guad is also fixed to the pommel with a screw (same as the one in discussion).

Here are some other but less similar examples, which also show more or less narrow blades:

In my opinion this type of swords have been some kind of a compromise between cut and thrust weapons.

I am not sure about my one, but if I compare it to the shown examples, I think there might be a realistic chance that it is a genuine , rather than a historistic piece.

More opinions highly appreciated.


Ibrahiim al Balooshi 24th November 2017 02:57 PM

Please see

~ where the FDL is under discussion and notable for its French inclusion in swords there before the revolution in the early 19th C. but erased after that.

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