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German Executioner’s Sword, Late 17th C

Featuring hilt of high copper content brass with typical cruciform guard with expanded round-section quillons and button finials; the quillon block incised with diagonal lines and cross hatching. Large bun-shaped pommel with baluster base and button on top. Original leather-covered wood hand-and-a-half grip. Heavy 33 ½" blade of lens section (2 1/8" wide) marked with copper-inlaid gallows on one side and wheel on the other (30% copper remaining); blunt tip with unusual pattern of three punched holes, the outer two star-shaped and the middle hole triangular. It has been debated as to the purpose of the holes found at the tip of many executioner swords; some saying they were for mounting weights and others that the holes (always three in number) are purely symbolic. While there has been no definitive answer, this blade would tend to dismiss the idea of their being used for attaching weights due to their shape. Overall very good condition; the blade with scattered pitting, minor forging flaws, a few small edge nicks, and signs of frequent sharpening; the hilt with patchy dark patina and the leather intact, but worn and showing great age. Length overall 43 1/4", weight 4 pounds 10 ounces. From an old Viennese collection.