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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2020 > Medieval Single-Handed Double-Edged Sword

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LOT 0478

Estimate
GBP (£) 2,500 - 3,500
EUR (€) 2,930 - 4,110
USD ($) 3,260 - 4,570

Opening Bid
£2,250 (EUR 2,641; USD 2,936) (+bp*)

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Bid History: 0

Medieval Single-Handed Double-Edged Sword

11th-mid 12th century AD

A Western Middle Age iron sword, probably from Germany, with two-edged blade, tapering profile, appreciable fuller, parallel-sided lower guard, medium long tang and 'tea-cosy' or mushroom-shaped pommel; the pommel, of type B1, is in excellent state of preservation with some small areas of light pitting; the hilt is plain, showing widening on the sides; the crossguard (Oakeshott style 1) is a tapering bar of iron, crudely pierced to receive the tang; battle signs and nicks visible on one side, with a large one under the lower guard; the cutting ends remain well defined; generally in fine condition, although some surface pitting upon the blade; very well balanced sword, with very thin, flat and flexible blade making it easy to handle. 1.1 kg, 1.01m (39 3/4"). Very fine condition.

Provenance
From an important private family collection of arms and armour; acquired on the European art market in the 1980s, and thence by descent; accompanied by an academic report by military specialist Dr Raffaele D'Amato.

Literature
See Petersen, J.,De Norske Vikingsverd, Oslo, 1919; Oakeshott, E., The Sword in the Age of the Chivalry, London, 1964 (1994); Oakeshott, E., Records of the Medieval Sword, Woodbridge, 1991; the sword has good parallels with various swords; one excavated example was published by Oakeshott (1991, p.43), now in the British Museum; another good example is in the Historisches Museum in Berne (Inv. no. 840.5); according to Petersen (1919, pp.158 ff.), the type X was used over a long period of time.

Footnotes
Petersen refuted the notion that this type generally belonged to the end of the Viking Age, a statement thought in terms of the medieval forms, with the long straight guards and a more or less rounded pommel considered a non-Viking shape. According to Petersen, individual swords of the X- type belong among the latest swords from the Viking Age, yet the first forms of this type appeared in the first half of the 10th century. Some specimens were found together with spear points of type I, a type belonging to the first half of the 10th century, or axe blades of type E that were no later than the first half of the 10th century. These circumstances should be enough to prove that the type of sword appeared during the first half of the 10th century. Equally certain, however, was for Petersen that it lasted until the very end of the Viking Age, like shown by finds from Nomedal in Hyllestad, Hagerbakken, V. Toten, where the sword has a long lower guard, dated at least to the end of the 10th century, and possibly to the beginning of the 11th century. The find St. 2589 from Vestly, Lye, Stav with axe blades of a marked M type, must belong to the last part of the Viking Age.