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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 l'Impératrice.

French An XIII Waterloo Heavy Cavalry Sword with rare original clipped point

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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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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