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Magnificent Chiseled and Gilt German Two-handed Sword, Late 16th C

Former Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection

In all the years we’ve been in business we’ve seen a lot of great two-handed swords, but none has ever come close to this one in either quality or provenance. This sword was formerly in the personal collection of Dr. Bashford Dean, first curator of the Arms and Armor Department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The sword was then acquired by the Met itself in 1929 after Dean’s death, and later sold at auction in November, 1956 by Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York. The Met had acquired about half of Dean’s personal collection of approximately 800 items after his death, either by purchase or bequest. At some point after its sale at auction, it became the property of the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Mass. The sword features a guard with large symmetrical side rings with expanded centers and long down-turned quillons, expanding toward the finials. Large ovoid pommel with button; later leather-wrapped wood grip with twisted brass mesh and expanded central knob. Broad 48 1/4" flamboyant blade with long leather-wrapped ricasso and large down-turned side lugs. Guard, pommel, and blade lugs are chiseled ensuite with floral decoration; featuring gilt diamond-section medallions on pommel, side rings, and quillons. The blade lugs are gilt as well. Blade shows light pitting and lamination, with several large nicks on the lower third. While this style sword is generally classified as a "processional" sword and was carried for occasions of state, it was not uncommon for them to be used in battle, as they were carried by the personal guard of kings and high ranking nobility. The sword has been professionally restored, with the leather replaced and gilding refreshed. Overall length 67 ˝". A most impressive sword with exceptional provenance; perhaps one-of-a-kind.

SB1176 $24,995   Now Just $19,995

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