Exquisite 17th C Gold and Silver Damascened Rapier with Provenance

SKU: SR1851 Category:


Dating from the early 17th C and coming from the famous collection of Count Dimitri de
Nesselrode (1816-1891) of Chateau de Tzarevtchina, this is one of the finest rapiers to
have come on the market in the last hundred years. After the count’s death it was
illustrated in the 1904 catalog of his collection. It came up for auction on 18 March, 1918
at S.E. Kennedy, Christie, Manson & Woods in London, Lot 79, where it sold for 520 British
Pounds, more than the average annual earnings of British workers at the time. It was later
on the cover of the 15 December, 2004 Sotheby’s Antique Arms, Armour, and Militaria sale
catalog, and sold in that auction for 22,000 GBP plus premium, the equivalent to over
$50,000 USD at the time. The rapier features a 40 1/2″ tapering double-edged blade of
flattened hexagonal section with slightly tapered rectangular ricasso struck on each side
with a cross mark between stars; central fuller on both sides with incised latten-filled
running wolf mark on one side. Blackened steel hilt of flattened bars comprising down-
curved rear quillon, knuckle guard, and outer ring guard joined diagonally to a large pas
d’ane with small inner ring from which extends a pair of up-curved bars on the outside; all
with pierced terminals and chiselled ropework borders enclosing silver-encrusted punched
scrollwork and pellets enriched with ovoidal and diamond-shaped panels within ropework
borders enclosing gold-damascened florets and foliage. Reverse with plain looping round-
section bars crossing each other and joining the lower terminal of the pas d’ane. Large
globular pommel with turned button, decorated ensuite. Original spiral grip bound with
copper ribbon and twisted silver wire between silver Turk’s heads. Excellent condition
overall with one small chip in the blade. Overall length 47 1/4″ . This exceptional rapier
would be a centerpiece in any private or museum collection.