French An XIII Heavy Cavalry Sword w/ rare
original clipped point, sold
Almost certainly a Waterloo battlefield pick-up / 100 Days War
trophy, this An XIII heavy cavalry sword is dated to 1814 and has
its original unmodified clipped point. Evidence suggests this was
carried by a trooper of the elite Régiment de dragons de
It is exceptionally rare to find an original clipped point An XIII
Napoleonic French heavy cavalry sword, especially one with no post-1815
markings, which means it almost certainly is a Waterloo pick-up;
if it had stayed in French army service, it would have at least
one later stamp and most probably a modified spear point (as the
French systematically spear pointed their heavy cavalry swords after
the restoration of their monarchy).
Also adding to the prospect this sword was picked up from the battlefield
at Waterloo is the fact it is missing its scabbard, although another
reason could be that the sword was carried by a French Dragoon Guard
rather than a Cuirassier, as the Dragoons had leather scabbards
which are much more prone to perish. I am not sure, but the fact
there is nothing of the scabbard, not even the fittings, does suggest
a battlefield pick-up.
Whether it was an Imperial French Dragoon Guard or Cuirassier who
once held this sword, they or their regiment clearly disliked the
French monarchy with aplomb. This is because the date inscription
along the blade's spine has period had the "Royale" removed.
Because the blade was made in October ("8bre") 1814, it
was made during the first restoration of the French monarchy, and
so the blade would have been marked "Rle" (for Royale)
rather than Impale (for Imperiale). Blades were in short supply
just prior to the 100 Days War so this marking would not have prevented
it from being used. But, if the sword was carried by one of the
elite Imperial Guard, one of the Régiment de dragons de l'Impératrice
(AKA Empress' Dragoons), they most likely would have felt the need
to remove the offensive "Rle" markings. Again, the "Rle"
section has been deliberately period removed, so I suspect this
sword was indeed carried by a trooper in that elite regiment.
The blade's forte has the correct poinçons (stamps) for
a blade made in October 1814; the poinçons of Borson,
Bick (worn) and Lobstein. The hilt too with Borson and Bick
plus a state acceptance (oblong) stamp. As stated, there are no
post-1815 poinçons on the sword anywhere. So this sword is
100% authentic (I guarantee this) and must have either been taken
from the battlefield at Waterloo or was a war trophy taken from
the French after the battle; again, I suspect the former.
The full length 97.5 cm blade with original clipped point is in
very good order, a little worn, I suspect from being cleaned over
the years. The blade is firm in the hilt and the brass hilt in very
good shape. Fortunately this sword has its original leather grip
intact and in good order, so you can hold the same leather as the
French cavalryman did nearly 200 years ago. Most of the original
twisted grip wire bindings remain, though they have broken in places
and one section is adrift. I did not want to replace these (it is
a very easy thing to do) as I like original items. I have not glued
the grip bindings to the leather either, though this too is an option.
I thought it best to leave it up to the eventual owner to decide
what to do. Again, replacing the grip bindings is very easy and
I have written a blog about how to do this here: Replacing
An XIII Grip Bindings.
Clipped point An XIII's are very rare. Those with good Waterloo
provenance even rarer, as most An XIII's were modified to spear
point before Waterloo. The fact this one retains its clipped point
again perhaps indicating it was held by an Imperial Dragoon Guard.
Anyway, this is a great investment. Further / full sized images
upon request. My item reference number is 877 (391).