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Fine North European Transitional Rapier, ca. 1660
Chiseled iron hilt with short horizontally recurved quillons ending in bulbous finials with small buttons, pas d’ane and asymmetrical shell guard; blackened and decorated ensuite with cherubs, ribbons, and foliage inlaid in silver and carved in relief. Original braided iron wire grip wrap with turks heads top and bottom. Double-edged 29 1/4" blade with 8 ½" fullers, stamped " INRI MARIA" one side and "ANIES MVRIO", with stars and moons separating the words. Exceptional quality and very fine condition with only very minor silver loss. Overall length 36". These early transitional rapier/smallswords required extraordinary skill and expensive materials, as the decoration was inlaid in sold silver (or gold in some cases) into carved recesses in the iron hilt. Details were then carved into the silver. The later smallswords of the 18th C usually had cast or chiseled hilts in relief with the background gilt and the relief areas rubbed or blackened. This required less skill and only gold or silver leaf, which was far less expensive.
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