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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2020 > Viking or Anglo-Scandinavian Sword with Elaborate Silver Inlaid Hilt

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LOT 0457

Estimate
GBP (£) 8,000 - 10,000
EUR (€) 9,410 - 11,770
USD ($) 10,300 - 12,870

Sold for: £13,750
(Inc. bp*)


Viking or Anglo-Scandinavian Sword with Elaborate Silver Inlaid Hilt

10th century-early 11th century AD

A double-edged Viking sword of Petersen Type L, variant Wheeler type VI, with complete blade, pattern-welded and tapered with a width of about 5.7cm at the cross-guard; the point is well preserved; traces of corrosion are evident all along the blade; both cutting edges show strong traces of employment on the battlefield, with battle-nicks along their length; the blade is straight and carries a hefty tang; the tapered fullers, 3cm at their origin adjacent to the cross-guard, are slightly marked, although they are still visible and going from their largest width (2.9cm) to 2cm of lower width at the extreme end where they run to about 5.9cm of the point; over the last 10cm the blade enters straight into the cross-guard; the oppositely curved guards are 2.7cm wide; highly decorated with silver inlay: on the sides are two lines of chequered pattern, originally lacquered in red colour over silver, are running the whole guard’s length; on the upper part of the guard the same pattern is enclosing, in two different squares, one left and one right of the grip, a lozenge pattern; the massive pommel has a curved base-element and three lobes, with bands of separation between the lobes very well marked by the same chequered inlaid visible on the lower guard; the pommel knob is attached to the pommel guard. 1.1 kg, 91.5cm (36"). Fine condition. Rare.

Provenance
Property of a Kent collector; part of his family collection since the mid 1970s; accompanied by a pre-restoration photograph showing the damask pattern welding and archaeological report by military specialist Dr. Raffaele D’Amato.
Literature
See Petersen, J., De Norske Vikingsverd, Oslo, 1919; Bjorn A., Viking Antiquities in England, with a supplement of Viking antiquities on the Continent of Western Europe, Oslo, 1940; Oakeshott, R.E., The Archaeology of the weapons, London, 1960; Wilson D. M. Some neglected Late Anglo-Saxon swords, in Medieval Archaeology, 1965, 9 (1), pp.32-54; Peirce, I., Swords of the Viking Age, Suffolk, 2002; the sword has good parallels in various similar Viking age specimens; two very similar swords have been published by Peirce (2002, pp.77-81), both at the British Museum; one of these is the famous Witham sword (Bjorn, 1940, part 4, p.71; Oakeshott, 1960, p.134) which is, for its perfect state of preservation, one of the most important in the best public and private collections in the world; also Westminster sword belongs to this classification (Wilson,1965, pp.42ff., pl.VII b); another occasional find of this typology was excavated in Wales in 2002.
Footnotes
Both lateral faces of the curved crossguard carry copper-alIoy decoration in the form of a series of diamond-shaped islands set in a sea of applied silver, revealing the importance of such sword. Probably it belonged to an elite Viking warrior, like the specimens of Dolven and Nedre (Stokke) published by Petersen (1919, figs.94-95). This early hilt type, with guards strongly curved away from the grip, has traditionally been regarded as a native English Anglo-Saxon type on the basis of the frequent presence of Trewhiddle style nielloed silver ornament.