French An XIII Cuirassier's Sabre, Waterloo
War Trophy (sold)
Klingenthal France made French heavy cavalry trooper's sabre and
scabbard, Waterloo battlefield pickup / war trophy.
How do I know this is a war trophy / battlefield pickup from the
Waterloo / the 100 Days War? First, there are no-post Waterloo inspection
marks on this sabre (these sabres had long service lives, often
re-hilted, and the French would have added inspection marks down
the line). Second, swords that survived and stayed in French army
hands would almost certainly have been re-hilted with the so-called
1816 hilt. Third, the item was bought by me from England where it
had clearly been for some time (the brass was black with tarnish
and the scabbard active rust pitted when I got it); this is not
some later collector bring back.
Beware, the majority of An XIII's you find for sale are reproductions
maliciously being masqueraded as authentic. I guarantee this is
an genuine French An XIII Cuirassier sabre, not an aged modern copy.
How do I know? First the aged condition I acquired this sabre in
can not be faked. Second, it strictly conforms with the model of
sword (no small mistakes as you find on reproductions). Third, the
round inspection marks (poinçons) on the forte of the blade
are a "B" under a star for Borson, a wreathed "B"
for Bick, and an "L" for Lobstein (see
Klingenthal poinçons); these are 100% correct for a blade
made in December 1814 as declared on the blade's spine (X'bre =
December) (see: Klingenthal
history). Also, the Klingenthal mark and date shows "Rle"
for Royale, not Imperial as the French monarchy had been restored
at this time also known as the period of Napoleon's first exile
(to the Elba).
NB: The sabre has a "Mk3" scabbard (introduced in 1814
and made the official model in 1816) as is common / normal. Because
it is sometimes called the "Model 1816 scabbard", some
people (mostly British, who are used to models / patterns being
made official before introduction) question whether these scabbards
were in use at Waterloo (1815); they were! The vast majority of
Waterloo battlefield trophies are in Mk 3 scabbards just like this
one. For my article on the An XI / XIII sabre and its various scabbards,
please visit: French
An XIII Cuirassier swords.
So this sabre looks 200 years old and is, near enough. I cleaned
it up (removed the hilt tarnish - boy was it tough) and stabilized
the scabbard rust. I also balsamed the leather grip; this is original,
which is very nice as you basically come into contact more with
the Frenchman who once held it. The twisted grip wire is missing
but this can be easily replaced; I would actually leave it as getting
the brass of new modern brass wire to match the aged, stained less
glitzy brass of the hilt is not easy. The scabbard is well aged
and pitted (now stable) though very sound and heavy. The sabre sheathes
fine but the original wooden liners inside the scabbard have perished
so it is a little loose. The highly impressive 96cm blade is patinated
in places but in overall very good order and firm in the hilt. The
blade has been converted from the original hatchet to a spear point
as the French (and also British) did in the field just prior to
Waterloo; most of the An XIII's you find in Britain (war trophies)
are spear point.
This is my favorite sword of all time. This is a very good example
and you can be sure it was carried by a Frenchman during the 100
Days War; that makes a lot of difference to the enjoyment. Prices
of these sabres are rising steadily. Larger / further images available
upon request. My item reference number is 644 (277)