Extremely Rare Smallsword of the Court of Mexican Emperor Maximilian I


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SKU: SS1905 Categories: ,


The history of Mexico during the 19th C is particularly turbulent, with periods of it being a
republic, monarchy, and dictatorship and the abdication or execution of its leaders. When
president Benito Juarez suspended payments of the nation’s enormous foreign debt in
1861, Napoleon III of France seized the opportunity to intervene and establish a client state
as a buffer to US expansion in the hemisphere. After more than two years of military
intervention the French were able to establish a friendly provisional government which
selected Ferdinand Maximilian Josef Maria von Habsburg-Lothringen to be Mexican
Emperor. Maximilian would appear to be the perfect choice, being a direct descendent of
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and ruler of Spain when the Spanish conquered the
Aztecs in the 16th C and brought Mexico into the Spanish Empire. Maximilian arrived in
Mexico in May, 1864, but he inherited an unstable nation and was unable to unite the
conservative and liberal factions. When France withdrew its military support he was on his
own and withdrew to Queretaro to join his 10,000 man Mexican military. The city fell on
May 15, 1867 to liberal forces and Maximilian was executed on June 19th. This sword
clearly shows the French influence in design, featuring an elaborate gilt brass guard with
single quillon with monster head finial, knuckle bow, ovoid pommel with button, and a
down-turned shell guard featuring the attached silver crest of Emperor Maximilian I. Grip
with mother-of-pearl slab grips secured by twisted brass wire. Double-edged 32″ blade of
diamond section with twin half-length fullers, finely etched and gilt with foliage and stands
of arms. Original black leather scabbard with gilt brass drag and throat with frog stud,
decorated ensuite (leather worn but supple). Very rare sword of exceptional quality in
near excellent condition, possibly belonging to Maximilian himself and the only one of its
kind still in existence. Overall length 36 3/8″.