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German Executioner’s Sword, 2nd Half 17th C
Brass hilt of cruciform shape with raised acanthus design on quillons, quillon block, and the faceted pear-shaped pommel. Original spiral wood grip with turks head at base and traces of original wire wrap. Broad unfullered 32" blade of lens section with squared off end; without markings of any kind (unusual for an executioner sword). Blade obviously has seen a lot of use, as the "sweet spot" is narrower than any other part of the blade from repeated sharpening. Some age staining and very light pitting, with a few minor edge nicks; still retaining a sharp edge. In medieval times the executioner sword was often believed to possess a "killing soul" and a thirst for human blood. Only the executioner had the power to control the sword. In one recorded case, after performing a large number of executions, local officials thought to put a halt to the killing for the day. When the executioner boasted that he could continue all day, the people feared he had become possessed by the spirit of his sword and had him put to death. Provenance: ex-Steve Santini Collection. This exact sword is photographed and described in his book "The Catalog of Cruelty" on pages 235-237, and was featured on his TV series "Deals From the Dark Side". Overall length 41 1/4" and weighs nearly 4 pounds.
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