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Scottish Naval Sword of 9th Lord Napier participant at Trafalgar, sold

In good condition for its type and age, an exceptionally rare Royal Naval officer's version of the 1798 pattern Scottish basket hilted broadsword. With the coat of arms of the 9th Lord Napier to the top fitting of the scabbard, this is the sword of the Royal Naval officer William Napier, who was serving on HMS Defence of the British fleet that defeated the French and Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. This sword was 99.99% worn by him at that most famous battle.

Scottish Naval Sword of 9th Lord Napier participant at Trafalgar (HMS Defence)

Sales enquiries

The coat of arms on the scabbard is unique to the 9th Lord Napier. A few Scottish Royal Naval officers carried basket hilted broadswords en board their ships prior to the end of 1805, when the RN sword pattern was standardized and regulated. HMS Defence was officered primarily by Scotsmen. As Nobility, Lord Napier would have been allowed to wear such a sword at that time. There is a very slight chance the sword was made for him after Trafalgar, but this seems highly unlikely to say the least, given that the new regulations governing the pattern of sword able to be worn by RN officers were known to be coming in.

Could we prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that William Napier wore this sword at the Battle of Trafalgar, this sword would be worth double, or triple what we are asking; so further research may well be highly lucrative by the lucky eventual owner. Even if this sword transpired to be post-Trafalgar, which we do not believe, because of the condition, because of the rarity of the naval version of this sword, because of the clear provenance that it was owned by the 9th Lord Rapier, the sword would still be worth a lot of money, if not more than we are asking.

The 31 inch (slightly shorter than the 32 / 32 1/2 inch blades used on 1796P Scottish infantry officer's swords) is in good condition; with panel thistle etchings either side, a very small wobble in the point, some scuffing where someone more recently has attempted to clean the point end of the blade. The blade is still relatively sharp, having been period sharpened by the maker. The blade has a tiny amount of movement in the hilt. The brass hilt is in good shape in comparison with other 1796P's (these brass hilts were and are so prone to damage); there is a little bending here and there, and one small break line that we can see. The fishskin grip and twisted grip wire bindings are in very good order. The scarlet liner is very well aged, with holes. The scabbard is good, but the leather is broken in two near the chape end; perhaps some fabric glue would effect a sensible repair. The stitching is coming apart in places and the leather is generally tired / aged. The sword sheathed and draws quite well, a little tight in places.

So, 99.99% sure this was at the Battle of Trafalgar, a rare Royal Naval version of the 1798 pattern basked hilted broadsword in well above average condition and with firm provenance to the original owner being the 9th Lord Napier. Yours for £too late! (selling price disclosed for a small fee). Please quote item reference number L72 (1191). Further / full sized images available upon request.

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