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I offer for sale a very rare, mid 17th century, military officer's 'Scarf sword' in very good general condition.


This type of light, small hilted sword was known by contemporaries as a Scarf sword as they were usually worn by officers in a baldric, hung from a shoulder scarf, or tucked into a commander's waist sash, such as seen in the portrait of Hendrick Heuch and his wife by Bartholomeus van der Helst (Louvre). This particular sword is thought to be of German manufacture and dates to around circa 1650 - 1651.


The plain iron hilt is undamaged and of a style described by A.V.B. Norman in his book "The Rapier and Small-Sword 1460 - 1820" as a type 106, the simple undecorated hilt cross-guard consisting of two, short straight quillon bars, each terminating in a bulbous knop. There is also a 'C' shaped sidebar projecting outwards from the side of the hilt which is filled by a pierced shell-guard. A similar hilt is seen in the painting - "The Company of Captain Jan Vreericks Abbekerk" by artist Jan Albertsz. Rotius, in the Westfries Museum, Hoorn, Holland dated to c.1651. 


The grip is wood, bound in fine wire of different thicknesses with a Turks Head at the counter-guard. A flattened mushroom shaped pommel with tang button completes the hilt. There are a number of small circles stamped into the pommel.


The blade is double-edged and hexagonal in cross-section, measuring 83.4 cm or 32 3/4 inches in length. It retains nice sharp edges and is good and firm in the hilt. The blade bears a maker's stamp(?) or talismanic lettering - .BHAP. repeatedly stamped along the length of the blade and also an Eagle crest within an escutcheon. The blade bears some old grinding marks but is generally clean and has no corrosion The overall length of the sword is 96.3 cm.


Similar type 106 swords can be seen in the following classical artwork:


"An allegory of vanity" - artist Hendrick Andriesz c. 1635;
"The Company of Captain Bicker" - artist Bartholomeus van der Helst painted between c. 1639 - 1643 - (addition of a knuckle-guard on the sword in this painting);
"Portrait of Colonel John Russell" by Michael Wright - Ham House, painted in c. 1659
"View on a terrace" by Hendrick van der Burgh, painted in c. 1660


c.1650 Officer's 'Scarf sword'

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