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A Most Rare 1800's French 1st Empire Napoleonic Sabre, Bearing the Napoleonic Imperial Eagle Hilt With Exotic Carved Grip

A Most Rare 1800's French 1st Empire Napoleonic Sabre, Bearing the Napoleonic Imperial Eagle Hilt With Exotic Carved Grip

Napoleonic period swords with Napoleon's Imperial Eagle twin langets are very scarce indeed, but with a hand carved and chequered ivory hilt is beyond rare. Although frequently seen on British high ranking officer's swords of the period, it is simply never seen on the domestically made French swords of the same period, in fact in 50 years we cannot ever recall ever seeing one before, possibly not even in Les Invalides Musee D'Armee in Paris, and probably because France had little or no trade access to ivory from Africa and India. This sword must have been made for a most senior general officer or possibly even made to be a presented sword awarded by Napoleon. The sabre has almost all its original mercurial gilt present and remaining on the hilt, with wolf's head quillon, and a lion's head to the knuckle bow top at the pommel. The sword's copper gilt hilt pommel has been field repaired during its service life. Good blade with fine engraving of stands of arms, and florid scrolls etc. It has a maker's name engraved beneath the langet, of Ve. AK & F

The ideal Napoleonic battle was to manipulate the enemy into an unfavourable position through manoeuvre and deception, force him to commit his main forces and reserve to the main battle and then undertake an enveloping attack with uncommitted or reserve troops on the flank or rear. Such a surprise attack would either produce a devastating effect on morale, or force him to weaken his main battle line. Either way, the enemy's own impulsiveness began the process by which even a smaller French army could defeat the enemy's forces one by one.

After 1807, Napoleon's creation of a highly mobile, well-armed artillery force gave artillery usage increased tactical importance. Napoleon, rather than relying on infantry to wear away the enemy's defences, could now use massed artillery as a spearhead to pound a break in the enemy's line. Once that was achieved he sent in infantry and cavalry. The Napoleonic Wars brought radical changes to Europe, but the reactionary forces returned to power and tried to reverse some of them by restoring the Bourbon house on the French throne. Napoleon had succeeded in bringing most of Western Europe under one rule. In most European countries, subjugation in the French Empire brought with it many liberal features of the French Revolution including democracy, due process in courts, abolition of serfdom, reduction of the power of the Catholic Church, and a demand for constitutional limits on monarchs. The increasing voice of the middle classes with rising commerce and industry meant that restored European monarchs found it difficult to restore pre-revolutionary absolutism and had to retain many of the reforms enacted during Napoleon's rule. Institutional legacies remain to this day in the form of civil law, with clearly defined codes of law an enduring legacy of the Napoleonic Code.

While Napoleon is best known as a master strategist and charismatic presence on the battlefield, he was also a tactical innovator. He combined classic formations and tactics that had been used for thousands of years with more recent ones, such as Frederick the Great's "Oblique Order" (best illustrated at the Battle of Leuthen) and the "mob tactics" of the early Levée en masse armies of the Revolution. Napoleonic tactics and formations were highly fluid and flexible. In contrast, many of the Grande Armée's opponents were still wedded to a rigid system of "Linear" (or Line) tactics and formations, in which masses of infantry would simply line up and exchange vollies of fire, in an attempt to either blow the enemy from the field or outflank them. Due to the vulnerabilities of the line formations to flanking attacks, it was considered the highest form of military manoeuvre to outflank one's adversary. Armies would often retreat or even surrender if this was accomplished. Consequently, commanders who adhered to this system would place a great emphasis on flank security, often at the expense of a strong centre or reserve. Napoleon would frequently take full advantage of this linear mentality by feigning flank attacks or offering the enemy his own flank as "bait" (best illustrated at the Battle of Austerlitz and also later at Lützen), then throw his main effort against their centre, split their lines, and roll up their flanks. He always kept a strong reserve as well, mainly in the form of his Imperial Guard, which could deliver a "knockout blow" if the battle was going well or turn the tide if it was not. If we knew the name of the general officer to whom it was presented to or belonged, and with it's scabbard, it could likely be valued at ten times our asking price. Not available to export. To buy in the UK the new owner will require an antique ivory exemption certificate, which we will provide

No scabbard.  read more

Code: 25322

2995.00 GBP

A Simply Fabulous & Incredibly Rare 18th Century Hand Held, Military Grenade & Mortar Launcher 'Cohorn' Pistol, A Huge Cannon Barrelled Blunderbuss

A Simply Fabulous & Incredibly Rare 18th Century Hand Held, Military Grenade & Mortar Launcher 'Cohorn' Pistol, A Huge Cannon Barrelled Blunderbuss

A Fabulous piece, and such a rare cohorn pistol, somewhat with an appearance of an amazing short type of huge cannon barrelled blunderbuss, but designed not to fire swan shot or ball but to launch an explosive grenade or mortar, rare pistol size.

Made in the 1760's, it is a hand portable grenade or mortar launcher sometimes known in its day as a cohorn, named after its inventor, and also known as a pyrotechnic gun. A Coehorn or cohorn) is a lightweight mortar originally designed by Dutch military engineer Menno van Coehoorn. Van Coehoorn demonstrated them in May 1701 to William III of England, and they were first used in action at the siege of Kaiserswerth in 1702

It is such a rarity today as to be a near unique survivor of its type.
We show in the gallery photo 10 another example of a rare hand held mortar / grenade gun, that sold at auction 3 years ago in Germany, for a remarkable 120,000 euros although it was certainly much more elaborate as it was a civilian type.

The two stage barrel is stunning and has traces and of scrolling flames engraved across the top. The butt has a grotesque cast mask, as was popular for fun guns in the early 18th century, and a most finely engraved trigger guard, depicting and ancient helmeted warrior, and an engraved brass side plate.

During its working life in has certainly seen use in the Americas during the 18th and early 19th century, as it has an American lock-makers percussion conversion.

Around four years ago or so we were absolutely delighted to have albeit very briefly a very, very rare, early shoulder mounted grenade launcher, just as was used by the early grenadiers, it was also a hand held version, but larger, yet a pistol sized version such as this, is, in some respects is even rarer still. It has had a percussion conversion lock by R Ashmore an American maker converted by him in the first quarter part of the 19th century. His name is engraved on the lock but worn.

The hand mortar is a firearm that was used in the late 17th century and 18th century to throw fused grenades. The action was similar to a flintlock, matchlock, or wheellock firearm (depending on the date of production), but the barrel was short, usually less than 2 inches (5 cm) to 4 inches (10 cm) long (though some are reported to have barrels up to 13 inches (33 cm) long), and had a large bore to accommodate the grenade; usually between 2 and 2.5 inches (5 to 6 cm). Between 1672 and 1740, the Royal Foundry of Berlin (Knigliches Giehaus zu Berlin) produced 302 hand mortars (Handmorser). Additionally, a mortar at the Museum of Artillery in Woolwich, Great Britain bears the inscription Fondeur Strasbourg (made in Strasbourg (France)) and several other surviving pieces bear the coat of arms of Wurttemberg indicating that they might have been made there. The first references to the type of grenade used in a hand mortar occur in a 1472 work entitled Valturius, where an incendiary prototype may have been produced. However, widespread use of the explosive grenade does not occur until the early-to-mid-16th century under Francis I of France. An early casualty of this type of grenade was Count de Randan who died of shrapnel wounds to the legs from a grenade during the Siege of Rouen (probably the battle of Issoire) in 1562. Explosive grenades were made from brass, glass, and possibly clay, and incendiary projectiles were made from canvas, however, Nathanael Nye, Master Gunner of the City of Worcester in a work entitled Art of Gunnery published in 1647, remarks that the soldiers of his day were not fond of handling the grenades because they were too dangerous. While there are substantial records of infantry units called grenadiers throughout the 18th century in Europe, these units generally threw the grenades by hand, but maybe a few men of the regiment could be armed with launchers such as this. After priming the firearm and adding the gunpowder, the shooter would light a grenade fuse, place the grenade in the muzzle of the mortar, then fire it at the enemy. However, accidents could occur if the weapon misfired and the lit grenade remained in the barrel. Additional modifications attempted to light the grenade using the burning gunpowder, but accounts say that the fuse would be forced into the grenade which would explode immediately.

The low number of surviving specimens of this firearm indicate that it was not a popular weapon, possibly due to the safety issues. In his essay on the weapon, Hewitt opines that the mortar is among a variety of "projects for destruction which have never destroyed anything but the fortunes of their inventors". At least one version of the hand mortar was probably invented by John Tinker in 1681. However, his mortar may have been an improvement on an earlier piece. A reference to this mortar may have appeared in a work entitled Ancient Armour which refers to a tinker's mortar. Another account refers to a hand mortar as a cohorn, and attributes its invention to a Dutch engineer, Menno Van Coehoorn, who lived from 1641 to 1704. Hand Mortars were also to be found in the New World. References to a hand mortar being transferred in Maryland are found in the record of The Proceedings of the Council of Maryland in 1698. Another account in the journal of Alexander Henry the younger tells of a hand mortar (called a cohorn; after Menno van Coehoorn) being loaded with a pound of powder, 30 balls, and fired in an action against Sioux indians in 1808.

Another reference to the use of cohorns in the New World can be found in The Life of Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) including the Border Wars of the American Revolution by William L. Stone (two volumes) published Albany NY 1865. Stone in describing Sir William Johnson's Niagara campaign of 1759 notes the following: "The youthful warrior likewise accompanied Sir William during the Niagara Campaign of 1759, and in the brilliant achievements of the Baronet, after the chief command had devolved upon him upon the death of General Prideaux, is said to have acquitted himself with distinguished bravery. General Prideaux, commanding the expedition, was killed by the accidental explosion of a cohorn on the 20th of July?" (Stone, Vol 1, p. 20). The action is tight and the forend has old working life stock repairs. 12.5 inches long , barrel 6.75 inches long 1.25 inch bore  read more

Code: 23197

5995.00 GBP

A Large Original Duraluminum Zeppelin Aeronautical Alloy Embossed Bowl

A Large Original Duraluminum Zeppelin Aeronautical Alloy Embossed Bowl

It is on of the largest pieces of it kind we have ever seen, and a stunning example of the earliest forms of aeronautical object d’art.

It is made from Duraluminum, a very expensive and seldom-used white metal alloy, except for the construction of Zeppelins. Incredibly strong yet light, and not vulnerable to dangerous corrosion. The perfect material for the construction of airships in the earliest days of the aeronautics.

Often when a Zeppelin crashed in the early days, the framework was recycled and used to create such amazing pieces, embossed with the symbols of the vessels from which they were made, such as this, and eagerly acquired by the highly patriotic German people.

This bowl measures 9.25" x 11." It sports a likeness of Graf von Zeppelin and an early zeppelin in the sky. We have seen cups and bowls of this nature before, but this is the largest one we have ever seen.  read more

Code: 22682

575.00 GBP

Most Rare 1920's Artefacts, of Houdini's Great Friend, of Early 20th Century Stage Magicians. The Magician's Club of London, Founded by Harry Houdini, Gold Medal Mounted Badge, & A Magic Circle Gold Medal

Most Rare 1920's Artefacts, of Houdini's Great Friend, of Early 20th Century Stage Magicians. The Magician's Club of London, Founded by Harry Houdini, Gold Medal Mounted Badge, & A Magic Circle Gold Medal

Rare and highly interesting items of early Magicians Clubs, and both directly connected to the great and legendary, Harry Houdini. Both finest pure gilt and enamel, and from the 1920's, each with blue water silk ribbon mount. Magician’s Club medal, together with a Member of the Magic Circle medal, in pure gilt and finest blue enamel, of Wilfred Allan, and Houdini's great friend Douglas Dexter's principle pupil. The Magicians' Club of London was formed in 1911 by Harry Houdini along with others including Servais Le Roy, Chris Van Bern, Carl Stakemann, and Stanley Collins.
It was a concept of Will Goldston who had taken umbrage with The Magic Circle (founded in 1905) and decided to start his own society. He wrote an article titled "The League of Magicians - A Suggestion by Will Goldston" in his Magician Annual for 1910-11.
The first meeting was officially reported in Goldston's Magician Monthly.
Houdini was elected president, the rest as Vice-Presidents with Stanley Collins as Secretary and Will Goldston as Treasurer. Nearly a hundred members were enrolled at the inaugural meeting on May 27, 1911. Houdini remained president until his death.

After the death of Houdini in 1926, Will Goldston was unanimously elected to succeed him. He held this office for the next three years, relinquishing it to Louis Gautier in 1929, but continuing to serve as Treasurer

The club seemed to have disbanded some time after Will Goldton passed away in 1948. In Goodliffe's Abracadabra magazine July 1949, inquiries were made regarding the Magicians' Club, London, since the death of Will Goldston asking if it had died a natural death along with its founder. As far as they were able to ascertain, it had. Wilfred Allan was the principle pupil of magician, and dear friend of co member Harry Houdini, Douglas Dexter. Douglas Dexter was once summoned to the Royal Palace for a personal Command Performance for the King, died in 1938 and Wilfred Allan died a year later in 1939.  read more

Code: 22437

695.00 GBP

A Fabulous Quality King George IIIrd Cased Double Barrel Sporting Gun By World Renowned Gunsmith S.Nock, Early Transitional Flintlock To Percussion

A Fabulous Quality King George IIIrd Cased Double Barrel Sporting Gun By World Renowned Gunsmith S.Nock, Early Transitional Flintlock To Percussion

Very fine sighted damascus barrels of the finest quality, engraved Saml. Nock 180 Fleet St. London Maker to His Majesty, case colour hardened gold lined breech engraved with a hound, border and foliate engraved, signed lock converted from flintlock using the drum and nipple principle, half stocked with chequered wrist, border and scroll engraved steel mounts, the trigger guard decorated with a hound, serial numbered to the underside of the barrels, contained in its green baize lined oak case, the lid with trade label for Samuel Nock at the Regent Circus address, complete with commensurate and later accessories.
Samuel Nock was the nephew of famed innovative gunmaker Henry Nock and apprenticed under him. He was also a highly rated and accomplished gunmaker and worked through the transitional period from flintlocks to percussion systems. He served as a royal gunmaker to the English monarchy from King George III in 1805 up to Queen Victoria starting in 1837. He died in 1851. To replicate such a fine hand made ‘bespoke’ double barrelled gun today, only Purdey or Boss of London could have the skills required to replicate it. A finely engraved, bespoke single Purdey side by side sporting gun, with a Damas barrels, costs today £113,500, with an 18 months to 2 year waiting time, and additional costs for casing and tools. The double-barrelled sporting gun was seen as a weapon of prestige and authority, especially in the days of the East India Company and the later Raj in India, where it was known as Dunali (literally "two pipes"). It was especially valued by the nobility in the Raj in Bihar, Purvanchal, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab  read more

Code: 23371

7995.00 GBP

A Wonderful Original 16th Century Map of America By Giovanni Antonio Magini

A Wonderful Original 16th Century Map of America By Giovanni Antonio Magini

A fabulous original historical artifact ideal for the collector with an interest in early maps and the earliest period of modern America. Magini (Giovanni Antonio), Plate XXXIIII, Descrittione Dell'America, O Dell'India Occidentale, no date [ printed in 1598], engraved map of America [North and South] with Italian text below, map plate 140mm x 180mm, uncoloured, mounted, framed and glazed. Giovanni Antonio Magini (in Latin, Maginus) (13 June 1555 11 February 1617) was an Italian astronomer, astrologer, cartographer, and mathematician. He was born in Padua, and completed studies in philosophy in Bologna in 1579. His father was Pasquale Magini, a citizen of Padua. Dedicating himself to astronomy, in 1582 he wrote Ephemerides coelestium motuum, translated into Italian the following year.

In 1588 he was chosen over Galileo Galilei to occupy the chair of mathematics at the University of Bologna after the death of Egnatio Danti. He died in Bologna. Magini supported a geocentric system of the world, in preference to Copernicus's heliocentric system. Magini devised his own planetary theory, in preference to other existing ones. The Maginian System consisted of eleven rotating spheres, which he described in his Novo colestium orbium theoric congruentes cum observationibus N. Copernici (Venice, 1589).

In his De Planis Triangulis (1592), he described the use of quadrants in surveying and astronomy. In 1592 Magini published Tabula tetragonica, and in 1606 devised extremely accurate trigonometric tables. He also worked on the geometry of the sphere and applications of trigonometry, for which he invented calculating devices. He also worked on the problem of mirrors and published on the theory of concave spherical mirrors. Framed 38cm x 30.5cm  read more

Code: 19811

935.00 GBP

A Very Attractive, Edo Era 17th to 18th Century Samurai's Tetsu Abumi Stirrup, Inlaid With Silver in a Geometric Pattern

A Very Attractive, Edo Era 17th to 18th Century Samurai's Tetsu Abumi Stirrup, Inlaid With Silver in a Geometric Pattern

This Japanese stirrup, is made in the traditional dove's breast (hato mune) shape with an open platform lined slightly curved forward so that the foot fits in without sliding backwards. In the front extremity the stirrup has a rectangular buckle with several horizontal slots which also serve as a handle.
The whole surface is in ancient russetted iron in the distinctive Higo school style, with a large onlaid decorative mount of a bird and various flora.

It is to be noted that these stirrups, due to their weight, were also used as weapons against the infantry adversaries. Abumi, Japanese stirrups, were used in Japan as early as the 5th century, and were a necessary component along with the Japanese saddle (kura) for the use of horses in warfare. Abumi became the type of stirrup used by the samurai class of feudal Japan Early abumi were flat-bottomed rings of metal-covered wood, similar to European stirrups. The earliest known examples were excavated from tombs. Cup-shaped stirrups (tsubo abumi) that enclosed the front half of the rider's foot eventually replaced the earlier design.

During the Nara period, the base of the stirrup which supported the rider's sole was elongated past the toe cup. This half-tongued style of stirrup (hanshita abumi) remained in use until the late Heian period (794 to 1185) when a new stirrup was developed. The fukuro abumi or musashi abumi had a base that extended the full length of the rider's foot and the right and left sides of the toe cup were removed. The open sides were designed to prevent the rider from catching a foot in the stirrup and being dragged.

The military version of this open-sided stirrup, called the shitanaga abumi, was in use by the middle Heian period. It was thinner, had a deeper toe pocket and an even longer and flatter foot shelf. It is not known why the Japanese developed this unique style of stirrup, but this stirrup stayed in use until European style-stirrups were introduced in the late 19th century. The abumi has a distinctive swan-like shape, curved up and backward at the front so as to bring the loop for the leather strap over the instep and achieve a correct balance. Most of the surviving specimens from this period are made entirely of iron, inlaid with designs of silver or other materials, and covered with lacquer. In some cases, there is an iron rod from the loop to the footplate near the heel to prevent the foot from slipping out. The footplates are occasionally perforated to let out water when crossing rivers, and these types are called suiba abumi. There are also abumi with holes in the front forming sockets for a lance or banner. Seieibushi (Elite Samurai)
Traditionally the highest rank among the samurai, these are highly skilled fully-fledged samurai. Most samurai at the level of Seieibushi take on apprentices or Aonisaibushi-samurai as their disciples.

Kodenbushi (Legendary Samurai)
A highly coveted rank, and often seen as the highest attainable position, with the sole exception of the rank of Shogun. These are samurai of tremendous capability, and are regarded as being of Shogun-level. Kodenbushi are hired to accomplish some of the most dangerous international missions. Samurai of Kodenbushi rank are extremely rare, and there are no more than four in any given country.

Daimyo (Lords)
This title translates to 'Big Name' and is given to the heads of the clan.

Shogun (Military Dictator)
The apex of the samurai, the Shogun is the most prestigious rank possible for a samurai. Shoguns are the leaders of their given district, or country, and are regarded as the most powerful samurai.  read more

Code: 25320

1395.00 GBP

A Beautiful & Superb Quality, Antique, Late Victorian, Finely Engraved Silver & Mother O'Pearl Handled Sword-Cane. A Most Elegant & Sophisticated Work of Art In Near Mint Condition.

A Beautiful & Superb Quality, Antique, Late Victorian, Finely Engraved Silver & Mother O'Pearl Handled Sword-Cane. A Most Elegant & Sophisticated Work of Art In Near Mint Condition.

Long silver and mother o'pearl handle. A long bamboo haft with superb patination and a quatrefoil four sided edged blade. Overall in stunning condition for age, as much a work of art as a former functional walking cane sword.

Lord Byron's was a most exponent of the use and carrying of the gentleman’s sword stick. His was exhibited in King's College London, bearing a mercurial gilt collar bearing his name, coronet and adopted surname Noel. Upon the death of Byron's mother-in-law Judith Noel, the Hon. Lady Milbanke, in 1822, her will required that he change his surname to "Noel" so as to inherit

An interesting 19th century conversation and collector's piece, and one can ponder over of the kind of gentleman who would have sought and required such a piece of personal defence paraphernalia. Although one likes to think that jolly old England had a London full of cheerful cockneys and laddish chimney sweeps, it was also plagued with political intrigue, nefarious characters and caddish swine prowling the endless foggy thoroughfares and dimly lit passageways. The swordstick was a popular fashion accessory for the wealthy during the 18th and 19th centuries. While the weapon's origins are unknown, it is apparent that the cane-sword's popularity peaked when decorative swords were steadily being replaced by canes as a result of the rising popularity of firearms, and the lessening influence of swords and other small arms.

The first sword canes were made for nobility by leading sword cutlers. Sixteenth century sword canes were often bequeathed in wills. Sword canes became more popular as the streets became less safe. Society dictated it mandatory that gentlemen of the 18th and especially 19th centuries would wear a cane when out and about, and it was common for the well-dressed gentleman to own and sport canes in a variety of styles, including a good and sound sword cane. Although Byron was proficient in the use of pistols, his lameness and his need to defend himself in some potentially dangerous situations made a swordstick doubly useful to him. He received lessons in London from the fencing master Henry Angelo and owned a number of swordsticks, some of which were supplied by his boxing instructor Gentleman John Jackson.

On Byron’s sword cane was the name NOEL BYRON, upon the ferrule of his one indicated that it was used after 1822, when Byron added the surname Noel after the death of his mother-in-law.

There are several references to sword sticks in the correspondence of Byron and his circle. Byron wrote to Hobhouse from Switzerland on 23 June 1816 asking him to Bring with you also for me some bottles of Calcined Magnesia a new Sword cane procured by Jackson he alone knows the sort (my last tumbled into this lake ) some of Waite's red tooth-powder & tooth-brushes a Taylor's Pawrsanias Pausanias and I forget the other things. Hobhouse responded on 9 July: Your commissions shall be punctually fulfilled whether as to muniments for the mind or body pistol brushes, cundums, potash Prafsanias Pausanias tooth powder and sword stick.

In the entry for 22 September 1816 in Byron's Alpine Journal he describes how, at the foot of the Jungfrau,
"Storm came on , thunder, lightning, hail, all in perfection and beautiful, I was on horseback the Guide wanted to carry my cane I was going to give it him when I recollected it was a Sword stick and I thought that the lightning might be attracted towards him kept it myself a good deal encumbered with it & my cloak as it was too heavy for a whip and the horse was stupid & stood still every other peal."

In a letter to Maria Gisborne of 6-10 April 1822, Mary Shelley described the "Pisan affray" of 24 March, in which Sergeant-Major Masi was pitch-forked by one of Byron's servants. She recounted how Byron rode to his own house, and got a sword stick from one of his servants.

Sword sticks came in all qualities, and for numerous purposes, from the simplest bamboo sword cane personal defender to stout customs officer’s ‘prod’, to offensive close quarter stiletto dagger canes and even to the other side of the world in the form of Japanese samurai’s shikome-sue, hidden swords.

We show two famous sword sticks in the gallery, one that belonged to Lord Byron, and another in a Presidential Centre Library collection, a historic sword stick is part of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Centre Library collection in Fremont, Ohio from the Waggoner family, the sword-cane was said to have been presented to Mr Waggoner by General George Washington in honour of Waggoner's service in Washington's Life Guard during the American Revolutionary War.

But it was Louis XIII who brought the cane to importance as a royal accessory. The king, as his portraits depict, supposedly always held one in his hands. He also gave them – along with valuable snuffboxes – as gifts of honour. Accordingly, gentlemen who wanted to be fashionable never went without this accessory from that time on. At the time, these were sort of ornate rods without a curved handle that were held in the hand or carried under the arm.

The 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century became the age of the cane. The tremendous popularity then created the desire to be seen with a cane. And so a wealth of unique
pieces with practical and strange handles and a mysterious inner life were created. The painter
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, for example, owned a cane containing a bottle that held a pint of absinthe.
In the mid-18th century Saxony's prime minister, Heinrich Graf von Brühl, possessed 300 sticks to go with 300 suits, together with just as many snuffboxes which he weared in turn. King Friedrich II, too, had a huge collection of luxurious walking sticks and snuffboxes. After the Seven-Years War one particular type of sticks with a handle formed like a rope, which was King Friedrich’s constant companion, became so popular, that it was dubbed the "Fritz crutch".

Overall 39 inches long, blade 25.75 inches long, silver & mother o'pearl handle, 12.5 inches long.  read more

Code: 25319

1250.00 GBP

An Exceptionally Handsome 500 Year Old Samurai Katana, Signed Bizen Osafune ju Kanemitsu, A  Museum Quality Piece of Early Samurai History

An Exceptionally Handsome 500 Year Old Samurai Katana, Signed Bizen Osafune ju Kanemitsu, A Museum Quality Piece of Early Samurai History

In a classic and highly sophisticated all black ensemble of koshirae, and a sword that has a breathtakingly impressive curvature. It has all its original Edo mounts, of patinated copper, decorated with takebori relief dragons, an early iron Koto o-sukashi tsuba, a stunning, original, Edo period uniformly narrow ribbed black urushi lacquer saya, in super bright and glossy original condition. Deeply curved blade showing an outstanding active and vibrant hamon in great polish. The tsukaito is over-lacquered silk, in black, over-wrapped on pure gold and shakudo menuki which in turn are on traditional samegawa giant rayskin.

The activity in the hamon is, simply, spectacularly beautiful, and shows the wide Hi horimono groove on one side and a double Bo Hi on the other side of the blade face.

The Incredible Story of Japanese Lacquer on Samurai Swords Scabbards, called Saya

Japanese lacquer, or urushi, is a transformative and highly prized material that has been refined for over 7000 years.

Cherished for its infinite versatility, urushi is a distinctive art form that has spread across all facets of Japanese culture from the tea ceremony to the saya scabbards of samurai swords

Japanese artists created their own style and perfected the art of decorated lacquerware during the 8th century. Japanese lacquer skills reached its peak as early as the twelfth century, at the end of the Heian period (794-1185). This skill was passed on from father to son and from master to apprentice.

Some provinces of Japan were famous for their contribution to this art: the province of Edo (later Tokyo), for example, produced the most beautiful lacquered pieces from the 17th to the 18th centuries. Lords and shoguns privately employed lacquerers to produce ceremonial and decorative objects for their homes and palaces.

The varnish used in Japanese lacquer is made from the sap of the urushi tree, also known as the lacquer tree or the Japanese varnish tree (Rhus vernacifera), which mainly grows in Japan and China, as well as Southeast Asia. Japanese lacquer, 漆 urushi, is made from the sap of the lacquer tree. The tree must be tapped carefully, as in its raw form the liquid is poisonous to the touch, and even breathing in the fumes can be dangerous. But people in Japan have been working with this material for many millennia, so there has been time to refine the technique!

Flowing from incisions made in the bark, the sap, or raw lacquer is a viscous greyish-white juice. The harvesting of the resin can only be done in very small quantities.
Three to five years after being harvested, the resin is treated to make an extremely resistant, honey-textured lacquer. After filtering, homogenization and dehydration, the sap becomes transparent and can be tinted in black, red, yellow, green or brown.

Once applied on an object, lacquer is dried under very precise conditions: a temperature between 25 and 30°C and a humidity level between 75 and 80%. Its harvesting and highly technical processing make urushi an expensive raw material applied in exceptionally fine successive layers, on objects such as bowls or boxes.After heating and filtering, urushi can be applied directly to a solid, usually wooden, base. Pure urushi dries into a transparent film, while the more familiar black and red colours are created by adding minerals to the material. Each layer is left to dry and polished before the next layer is added. This process can be very time-consuming and labor-intensive, which contributes to the desirability, and high costs, of traditionally made lacquer goods. The skills and techniques of Japanese lacquer have been passed down through the generations for many centuries. For four hundred years, the master artisans of Zohiko’s Kyoto workshop have provided refined lacquer articles for the imperial household . Overall 37.75 inches long, blade tsuba to tip 27 inches  read more

Code: 24324

9750.00 GBP

A Superb, Rare, Original, French Napoleonic Wars Deluxe Grade Sabre of a French General of Napoleon's General Staff, a Wonderful & Most Beautiful Sabre of Napoleon's Grand Armee. Consulate to Ist Empire Period

A Superb, Rare, Original, French Napoleonic Wars Deluxe Grade Sabre of a French General of Napoleon's General Staff, a Wonderful & Most Beautiful Sabre of Napoleon's Grand Armee. Consulate to Ist Empire Period

A general officer's 'blue and gilt' sword, with deluxe scabbard, that is very similar indeed to Napoleon's *Austerlitz Sword's scabbard, supposedly presented to Napoleon after Austerlitz, with the 'Cartouche médian au trophée avec tambours et piques' including classical figure panels of Victory standing and a portrait bust of the face of Minerva. the scabbard chape bears what the French called 'a la toile d'araignee sur les armes est anterieur a l'empire'. It is a spider's web, that was as a symbol used on superior arms in the Consular period. The spider symbolised the Biblical 'son' and the link that exists between the 'creator', and the 'creature', is the web that allows the second {the son} to reattach itself to the first {the creator} and, thus to get closer to it. In more simple terms the thread of the web constitutes the canvas which becomes a symbol of loyalty. The scabbard, amazingly has much of its remaining, original, mercurial gilt finish, that due to constant combat handling though, is no longer present on the hilt.

During the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars the French armies had approximately 2,000,000 plus serving soldiers, of those there were around 2000 generals commanding them in the armies of France, directly under their commander-in-chief, the Emperor Napoleon. However, for example, at the Battle of Borodino, Napoleon lost 1928 of his officer's including 49 Generals, in just one day!

This sword would have been used and carried in combat by one of those commanding generals of the general staff. Napoleon was, and remains, famous for his battlefield victories, and historians have spent enormous attention in analysing them.
In 2008, Donald Sutherland wrote:

The ideal Napoleonic battle was to manipulate the enemy into an unfavourable position through manoeuvre and deception, force him to commit his main forces and reserve to the main battle and then undertake an enveloping attack with uncommitted or reserve troops on the flank or rear. Such a surprise attack would either produce a devastating effect on morale, or force him to weaken his main battle line. Either way, the enemy's own impulsiveness began the process by which even a smaller French army could defeat the enemy's forces one by one.

After 1807, Napoleon's creation of a highly mobile, well-armed artillery force gave artillery usage increased tactical importance. Napoleon, rather than relying on infantry to wear away the enemy's defences, could now use massed artillery as a spearhead to pound a break in the enemy's line. Once that was achieved he sent in infantry and cavalry. The Napoleonic Wars brought radical changes to Europe, but the reactionary forces returned to power and tried to reverse some of them by restoring the Bourbon house on the French throne. Napoleon had succeeded in bringing most of Western Europe under one rule. In most European countries, subjugation in the French Empire brought with it many liberal features of the French Revolution including democracy, due process in courts, abolition of serfdom, reduction of the power of the Catholic Church, and a demand for constitutional limits on monarchs. The increasing voice of the middle classes with rising commerce and industry meant that restored European monarchs found it difficult to restore pre-revolutionary absolutism and had to retain many of the reforms enacted during Napoleon's rule. Institutional legacies remain to this day in the form of civil law, with clearly defined codes of law an enduring legacy of the Napoleonic Code.

While Napoleon is best known as a master strategist and charismatic presence on the battlefield, he was also a tactical innovator. He combined classic formations and tactics that had been used for thousands of years with more recent ones, such as Frederick the Great's "Oblique Order" (best illustrated at the Battle of Leuthen) and the "mob tactics" of the early Levée en masse armies of the Revolution. Napoleonic tactics and formations were highly fluid and flexible. In contrast, many of the Grande Armée's opponents were still wedded to a rigid system of "Linear" (or Line) tactics and formations, in which masses of infantry would simply line up and exchange vollies of fire, in an attempt to either blow the enemy from the field or outflank them. Due to the vulnerabilities of the line formations to flanking attacks, it was considered the highest form of military manoeuvre to outflank one's adversary. Armies would often retreat or even surrender if this was accomplished. Consequently, commanders who adhered to this system would place a great emphasis on flank security, often at the expense of a strong centre or reserve. Napoleon would frequently take full advantage of this linear mentality by feigning flank attacks or offering the enemy his own flank as "bait" (best illustrated at the Battle of Austerlitz and also later at Lützen), then throw his main effort against their centre, split their lines, and roll up their flanks. He always kept a strong reserve as well, mainly in the form of his Imperial Guard, which could deliver a "knockout blow" if the battle was going well or turn the tide if it was not.

Overall the condition is very good for age and considering its service. The scabbard has inner side surface contact denting, and the throat mount rim is lacking. In the 20th century generals plotted campaigns and were not often in the thick of combat. In the Napoleonic wars era generals fought, more often than not alongside their men in hand to hand combat, hence, Napoleon lost so many of his generals.

* The Sword given to Napoleon after his victory at Austerlitz appeared after 80 years in private hands in 2010, but hasn't been seen since  read more

Code: 25287

8495.00 GBP