This is a fantastic and early example of a Napoleonic Wars 1803 pattern Infantry Flank officer’s sabre made prior to Napoleons’ invasion of Germany (Prussia) in 1806. The sabre was imported to London by J. J. Runkel. Johann Justus Runkel died in 1808.
The curved 760mm single-edged blade has a flat spine and wide fuller that runs into the narrow hatchet point. The blade is double-edged for the final 150mm. The short blade is an ideal length for fighting on foot.
The blue and gilt blade is in very good condition with a speckling of pale tarnish and some very shallow pitting towards the point. The blade retains almost all of its original blued with gilt. The blade is nicely engraved with floral motifs, a trophy of arms and the crowned cypher of King George III (1760-1820). The obverse of the blade bears floral-motifs and a spray of flowers crossed over (what looks to be) a garden rake. This is an unusual motif and I am not sure of its exact meaning but the secret language of floriography and other symbolism was very popular during the Georgian era. The forte bears the Royal Arms containing the motto “Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense” and the motto “Dieu Et Mon Droit.” The spine is engraved “J. J. Runkel, Solingen.”
The gilt brass hilt is in excellent condition and bears the Royal Cypher of King George III below the lion head pommel typical of this pattern. The guard is well made and the lion’s head pommel is nicely detailed. The hilt retains most of its original gilt finish. The shagreen bound grip is in excellent condition and the copper wire binding is intact and tight. The grip is solid and strong. There is some small movement in the hilt.
The sabre is complete with its black leather scabbard with gilt brass locket and chape. The locket has both a frog stud and a single suspension ring. The scabbard is in very good condition with some crazing to the original finish and evidence of a (good and strong) repair above the chape. The sabre sheathes and draws smoothly and is held firmly within the scabbard.
This is a beautiful, early 1803 pattern flank officer’s sabre from the Peninsular and Napoleonic Wars and retaining most of its blue and gilt.
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