The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, March 29, 2015


Rare Medieval knight's sword provides cutting edge to Bonhams Sale of Arms & Armour in London
One of the rarest of medieval sword types – known to academics as the Oakshott Type XIII – it will be offered for sale for an estimated £20,000 to £30,000. Photo: Bonhams.
LONDON.- Holding an object of this age and type – Late 13th early 14th century - in Bonhams Arms and Armour Department it is not difficult to imagine the very different life and times of the knight who wielded it in battle, and possibly carried it on a crusade.

One of the rarest of medieval sword types – known to academics as the Oakshott Type XIII – it will be offered for sale for an estimated £20,000 to £30,000 at Bonhams sale of Arms and Armour on April 30th in Knightsbridge.

This sword is a rare survivor. A few others are in private collections and museums. So for keen collectors this antique sword represents a once in a lifetime opportunity.

One would not be human if lifting this object that inflicted possible injury and death, one did not feel something atavistic running down one’s arm as its balance and weight is felt. This after all was a sword known for its slashing efficiency. It was a cutting sword rather than a stabbing sword as its rounded point makes clear.

The sword would have been carried by a very fit man as images of Italian knights of the period show them wearing chain mail or full armour and wielding just such swords. Armour of the period could weigh as much as 100 lbs and then there was the sword as well.

The three and half foot long sword has a broad flat tapering double-edged blade. On one side it bears an incised cross, and on the other, the Ottoman (St. Irene) arsenal mark. The hilt has a large octagonal pommel.

Fascinating to anyone who has studied weapons of this kind is a very similar sword which bears an inscription recording its entry into the Arsenal in the frontier city of Alexandria at the time of al-Malik Abu Nasr Shaikh al-Mu'ayyad in the year 1415 A.D. So it is not beyond the realms of the possible that the sword in the Bonhams sale also went Crusading.

David Williams, Head of Bonhams Arms and Armour department, comments: “We are delighted to offer such a rare and valuable sword of this kind. The fact that it has survived in such good shape for 700 years says clearly that it was a valued and valuable object.”





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