Waterloo French An XIII Cuirassier Trooper's
Sword, Clip Point, sold
An exceptionally rare clip point version of the Napoleonic French
heavy cavalry trooper's sword, with clear signs it is a true Waterloo
A very small number of An XIII Cuirassier trooper swords exist
with their original clip point intact; this is one of them. The
vast majority blades were converted to spear point just before Waterloo,
and afterwards all such blades that remained in service with the
French army were converted. This sword, blade dated to January 1815,
was one of the few that was not converted and clearly was at Waterloo.
It is clear this is a Waterloo battlefield pick up because the
blade is dated to January 1815, there are no post-1815 markings,
the blade has not been converted to spear point, the blade has not
been rehilted into the 1816 model hilt, and there is slight telltale
damage. Damage that does not detract from the sword, but really
enhances it. The sword has obviously taken a heavy tumble, as the
thick brass hilt has compression and some joint fractures, plus
the blade tip is very slightly skew. Many a cuirassier fell that
day, sword in hand. And their swords proved to be the most popular
battle trophy for British forces to take home.
In fact, the hilt is not original to the blade, so we know a little
more of the history of this sword. The hilt has two sets of rack
numbers, one stamped out, plus the original "Versailles"
stamp still barely visible. This hilt predates 1815 and received
a new blade, clearly because the original one had been damaged.
Shortly before the 100 Days War (Waterloo), the French pressed every
available military item into service, and hence serviceable hilts
with damaged blades received new blades. So who knows what battles
this hilt had seen before, perhaps the invasion of Moscow. In any
event, there is a lot of history bound in this sword, the last piece
being Waterloo itself.
The full sized 38 inch clip point blade is in generally very good
condition. The point section is a little off, not much. The "Royale"
section of the Klingenthal blade inscription is rubbed feint, presumably
done by the heavy cavalry trooper who once held it (January 1815
fell within the "First Restoration" of the French monarchy,
so blades made in that period were inscribed "Royale"
not "Imperiale". The three round inspection marks (poinçons)
are correct for the blade date. There is a slight movement of the
blade within the hilt, only slight. The hilt has taken an almighty
bang / fall, commensurate with a heavy calvary trooper falling from
his horse with his sword in hand. There is a slight bending to the
guard in places, and slight fractures to the welding od the bars
to the front guard (visible only from inside the hilt). You would
not see any damage at first glance, which means the damage enhances
the sword, for sure, and increases it value.
The leather grip is original, some wear (the underside twine bindings
showing through in couple of places, a small section of loss in
another), which is a huge bonus. The twisted grip wire bindings
are a later replacement, though faithfully done. The steel scabbard
has seen better times; the show / chape has medium to heavy rust
pitting, there is a light pitting to most of the scabbard, though
the chemical browning used by the French mostly remains. The scabbard
is still exceptionally heavy and solid. The swords still sheathes
and draws very well.
Waterloo battle trophy and a clip point blade; it simply does
not get better than that. The price is therefore sure to be an investment;
these swords are incredibly hard to source now and the prices just
keep on rising. Please quote item reference G86 (975). Further /
full sized images available upon request.