Superb Exhibition Grade French Hunting Sword with Finely Engraved Silver Sheath and Figural Silver H

Currency:USD Category:Antiques / Firearms & Armory Start Price:9,500.00 USD Estimated At:19,000.00 - 27,500.00 USD
Superb Exhibition Grade French Hunting Sword with Finely Engraved Silver Sheath and Figural Silver H
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Measuring 25 inches in overall length, this sword is equipped with a double edged spear point blade, 18 1/2 inches long, with a pair of deep, thin 7 1/2 inch fullers on each side, and a square ricasso deeply stamped with a floral proof on the reverse. The blade quality is very high, perhaps from a combat weapon of the late 1600s or 1700s. The hilt of the sword is a full three dimensional rendering in cast silver of Hercules preparing to slay the dragon Ladon, with the dragon’s unfurled wings serving as a cross guard and Hercules himself as the grip and pommel. Garbed in the nigh-impenetrable skin of the Nemean Lion, Hercules has pinned the wings of Ladon with his feet and seized the beast’s tail in his left hand, while preparing to strike the fatal blow with the sword in his right. The unsleeping guardian of the Garden of the Hesperides, Ladon was the chief obstacle for the 11th Labor of Hercules, the theft of the Golden Apples, which in Greek myth served as both the Apple of Discord which started the Trojan War and the 3 Apples used in the courting of Atalanta. The level of detail, particularly on Hercules, is very high, as best demonstrated in the face, as he looks down on his soon to be dead quarry. The sheath is also silver, with extensive scroll and floral engraving on the main body, with a pair of suspension rings and attractive raised designs on the throat, mid band and tip. The throat shows cut-through scroll and floral designs and raised columns, with the head of the Nemean Lion on one side and a woman wearing a laurel (possibly representing Athena) on the reverse, the mid band has a grotesque head on each side, topped by a clash of Greek warriors and an ancient sailing ship, and both sides of the tip show an owl, wreathed with laurels.
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Condition: Excellent. The blade show some mild spotting and areas of brown patina, along with a few mild handling marks. An attractive, well aged patina is forming on the silver, concentrated in the lower, protected areas, with some minor handling marks. A fantastic piece of European craftsmanship, showcasing skills of both the blade makers and silversmiths involved.