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Engraved Halberd of the Guard of Saxon Elector Johann Georg II, ca. 1656
Of large dimensions, featuring concave axe blade with long flamboyant rear beak; engraved with the crest of the Saxon Electors on the axe blade, cypher of Elector Johann Georg II in the center, and a serpent on the beak. Broad 16 1/4" leaf-shaped thrusting blade with medial ridge, engraved with a crown, feathers and foliage at the base, with large turned knob below. Conical ferrule with large turned moldings top and bottom. Shortened side straps; mounted on later octagonal hardwood shaft. Metal lightly pitted overall, but engraving mostly crisp and nearly 100% intact. Several nicks on the axe blade, apparently from sword strikes and likely indicating its use in battle. Length of metal 26"; overall 86". The Saxon Electoral Swiss Guard was organized by Johann Georg II in 1656 and this was the first halberd they carried. Very scarce, with likely fewer than 100 ever made.
Johann Georg II (31 May 1613 –– 22 August 1680), of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin, succeeded his father as Elector of Saxony on 8 October, 1656 and this halberd was likely commissioned upon this occasion. His main interests were in the arts, primarily music, and he spent lavishly on this passion with the increased income from expanded trade after the Thirty Years War. He was succeeded by his son, Johann Georg III upon his death in 1680.
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Johann Georg II (31 May 1613 - 22 August 1680)