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Home > Auctions > 22nd February 2022 > Viking Age Pattern-Welded Sword

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LOT 0339

GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,800 - 7,200
USD ($) 5,450 - 8,170

Opening Bid
£3,600 (EUR 4,321; USD 4,901) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Viking Age Pattern-Welded Sword

8th-10th century AD

A double-edged iron sword of Petersen Type A with a tapering blade showing traces of pattern-welding, battle nicks to both edges; boat-shaped lower guard and tapering tang, boat-shaped upper guard attached to the pommel with a pair of rivets. 827 grams, 84.5cm long (33 1/4"). Fine condition.

Acquired 1971-1972.
Property of a London, UK, collector; from his father's collection.
Accompanied by an archaeological report by military specialist Dr. Raffaele D’Amato.
Accompanied by a positive metal test number 183789/HM1463 from an Oxford specialist.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate number no.11070-183789.

See Lorange, A.L., Den Yngre Jernalders Svaerd, Bergen, 1889, pl.I, fig.3a-4a, 2d, swords from Hellebust, Viks, Holden and Hevne; Petersen, J., De Norske Vikingsverd, Oslo, 1919, fig.52; Oakeshott, E., The Archaeology of Weapons, Arms and Armour from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry, Woodbridge, 1960 (1999); Peirce, I., Swords of the Viking Age, Suffolk, 2002, pl.III (swords in the Bergen Museum), pp.28-29.

The pattern-welding was particularly exquisite in such weapons, and had proper names in the Viking language. According to Oakeshott (1960 (1999), p.151): 'The decoration is called Mal or Moel, but it was really used far more often in describing the blade of a sword... There is frequent mention of the wave-sword (Vaegir in Old Norse and Waegsweord in Old English), but even more obscure seemed the descriptive terms for certain blade-patterns: "Blood-eddy", for instance (Bloida), or Ann, which is an old Norse word for swathes of mown corn (the same word as the Middle High German Jan). Of a more robust character are two other terms occurring in a poem as features or parts of a sword: Blodvarp and Idvarp. This could (and probably does) refer to a style of pattern-welding where the pattern is made up of long parallel stripes running lengthwise down the blade.'