Join Date: Jun 2005
Suspicious Rapier hilt
Last week I got involved in an unusual trade. A friend (and fellow fencer) suddenly sent me through WhatsApp three pictures of swords taken in a hurry. He explained to me that an antiquarian had offered them to his wife to buy (she was at a different spot), and he was asking me if they were any good (this was in Aragon, Spain). So this was kind of a chain talk, involving four people in three different locations...
I could see a civilian smallsword of about 1760 in very fine condition, a revolutionary Mexican Commander sword of about 1880 with a nice 1873 Toledo blade and an Eibar damascened hilt, and what seemed to me a XVIth century rapier hilt with a XVIIIth century trade blade with no ricasso.
I said they were interesting pieces, although I was not too sure about the last one. We were supposed to make an appointment and see them quietly... Then suddenly, the seller said to pick the three of them there and then for 600 euro. My friend was interested in the smallsword, and I agreed to take the rapier hilt, we could divide later expenses and the Mexican sword.
I will not see the swords still for some two weeks. I have been looking through the Norman, where the hilt fits loosely into types 29 or 35. That gives a window 1525-1585 and about 1625. I think a branch (piton) from the left lower guard is missing. Still, I cannot find a close example and I do not discard the thing being a Victorian era creation. In some pictures, it looks made of brass, but it is actually gilt iron. I will welcome any suggestion. I am sorry about the poor pictures but I will not have new ones in a while.
The most similar branching structures I can find are from Dresden.