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An extremely rare English Civil War period dated Main Gauche. Etched Toledo blade dated Anno 1643 with Toledo Coat of Arms on one side and etched patterns on reverse. Decorated solid hilt with twist style crossguard. Wooden grip. Blade 9", overall length 13.4", width of crossguard 6.25". This Main gauche is a very rare survivor from the English Civil War. It was found in a 16th/17th Century house in Evesham bricked up behind an airtight wall together with a Stiletto sheath and a cavalry spur. Apart from the Battle of Evesham in 1645, Charles I also stayed at Evesham so the civil war links to this Main Gauche make this rare item even more unique. Blade is stained but excellent for age with clear Toledo mark and date. Toledo Coat of Arms is less clear but present. Hilt has been reattached at some stage with what appears like hand made nails or screws. Plain grip looks original and complete but has some damage. May have had a silver wire binding in the past.
From a collection of Scottish Dirks that included a dated dirk illustrated in James Drummond’s series of watercolours: “Ancient Scottish Weapons” is this good quality late 17th/ early 18th century silver topped dirk with a bog oak grip. This grip has a rich, dark patina with the early four bands style of Celtic interlace ropework carving similar to the example in the Royal Museum of Scotland, item 8 page, 10 of "The Scottish Dirk" by James Forman (that illustrated dirk is dated late 17th century). The final band of carving with haunches evolved from the earlier type of balloch knife. The underside of the pommel is decorated with ten folded rope ribs and the silver top disc/pommel cap is fixed onto the grip by a similar number of silver claws. The tang is secured by a silver mount around the iron button. The 11.5" blade is a cut down sword blade. Overall length 15".
A very rare variant with the silver pommel top disc of this early type of dirk.
From a collection of Scottish Dirks that included a dated dirk illustrated in James Drummond’s series of watercolours: “Ancient Scottish Weapons” is this unusual variant of an early dirk. Following on from (or contemporary with) the Dudgeon dagger and Ballock/Ballock knives, the early double edged 9.25" blade of this dirk is diamond shape - good patina consistent with its age.
Where this dirk differs to all that I have seen before is the carved ivory grip with shaped haunch, two concentric carved ivory bands between three iron bands topped by a rounded ivory pommel. The pommel is fixed to the tang by a round iron plate. Overall grip is 4" long including pommel. Complete with tooled hard leather scabbard in excellent condition - may be a slightly later replacement. Overall length including scabbard 13.75".
A very rare dirk with an ivory grip. The reason for using an ivory grip to any such item was usually decorative to denote quality or practicality for reasons such as naval use.
Please Note: The ivory used in this dirk is antique and was carved pre 1947 so current CITES and UK laws allow this item to be sold within the UK. It is elephant ivory as the unique Lines of Retzius can be seen when looking down on the top of pommel. We fully support new legislation banning the trade in ivory where the UK will be taking a hard line - shame it has not happened before. Currently all ivory items made before 1947 can be freely bought and sold, though importers and exporters need a permit. The new upcoming UK laws will close the “antiques exemption” in the current legislation, which allows for the sale of ivory that was carved pre-1947. However we understand that the new legislation will allow limited continued trade in some older items of exceptional artistic or cultural value which will be governed by being included on a register of such items. This is certainly a near unique historic dirk that we would strongly support being submitted to that register when it comes into force. Until the new laws are passed then this is still an object that can be sold as antique and pre dates 1947 CITES ruling by a wide margin.
The sword is 33" overall with a 28" curved blade. The hilt including a solid brass bowl guard and ribbed grip are all from a Swedish 1893 pattern trooper's sword and stamped with the inspectors mark "GM" under a crown. The blade however is an old period replacement, possibly modified for sea service as it is 10" shorter than the original blade and has a single cutting edge instead of the double sided blade found on the original pattern. It is not known if the blade was modified at the time of manufacture or shortly afterwards. Further research may reveal if such blades were routinely fitted or if this is a unique modification.
The blade is slightly pitted with an even unrestored patina. The solid brass bowl is in good condition and the grip appears original but worn.
The sabre is 35.5" overall with a 29.5" straight single edged blade. The final 6" point of the blade is double edged. The crossguard appears to be made of cast bronze with short straight conical quillons. The Tang is slightly curved ending in a hollow cast bronze pommel which is typical of known Avar weapons from the period. Avar weapons with a single straight cutting edge are sometimes known as proto-sabres as the majority of this type are believed to slightly pre date the earliest curved sabres that they inspired.
This sabre is part of a cache of weapons which were found approximately 20 years ago in the Caucasus region, part of what was historically Avar/Magyar territory. The finest example from the cache was sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York by a famous London based dealer (Arms and Armor Notable Acquisitions 1991-2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art Item 40). The most famous sword of this type is the Sword of Charlemagne (Weltliche Schatzkammer, Vienna) which is believed to be of Avar origin and likely dates to the 8th century. During Charlemagne's eastern campaigns his forces are known to have taken examples of Avar weapons back to Western Europe where they were then used as diplomatic gifts. An example of such gift giving can be found in the Frankish Royal Annals which show that Charlemagne once presented an Avar sword to King Offa of the Anglo-Saxons.
The Sabre is in uncleaned excavated condition.The blade has an even unrestored patina with only minor chips to the cutting edge. The pommel and crossguard are complete but the grip has not survived.
Rare genuine and possibly unique English Civil War period original leather Stilletto/Rondel sheath circa 1640-1650 likely made for a high status individual due to its quality and decoration. Beautifully made with winged 5" wide decoration to top of sheath with applied decorated 1.6" diameter circle. Sheath is 9.5" long, 1.25" opening to mouth of sheath reducing down to a point. Leather stitching with draw string at top still present.
This English Civil War period sheath is an extremely rare, possibly unique survivor which has only survived due to the nature of its storage - it was found in a 16th/17th Century house in Evesham bricked up behind an airtight wall. A Main Gauche and spur were also found in the same place with the Main Gauche blade dated 1643 (Main Gauche and spur available separately). Apart from the Battle of Evesham in 1645, Charles I also stayed at Evesham so the civil war links make this a historic item. It is likely that the sheath is even older than 1640 however there is no way to tell how long passed between its manufacture and its storage within the wall in Evesham.
Leather is in superb condition for its age with minor losses. Stiching is mostly present but seams have separated in places. Draw string present. Since acquisition the sheath has been carefully wrapped in clingfilm until a professional/museum conservator can apply any necessary preservative. We have not attempted this but would suggest that the buyer takes immediate professional conservation advice to preserve this unique English Civil War artifact.
A rare Persian/Indo Persian Mesraq Trident from the late Qajar period. Socket inlaid with silver patterns as is the central part of spearhead in either niello work or koftgari decoration (difficult to tell as scoring for koftgari application is not evident). 23 inches long, 4 inches wide at widest point.
Even patina with no rusting but some loss of silver decoration to both socket and spearhead.
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