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Auction Date: September 11, 2015

Lot 1114: Very Rare Fine Italian Cinquedea Short Sword

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Very Rare Fine Italian Cinquedea Short Sword with Elaborate Engraving
Estimated Price: $22,500 - $32,500
Item Views 327 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Very Rare Fine Italian Cinquedea Short Sword ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page56
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThe cinquedea ("five fingers" in reference to the blade width) was a popular civilian sidearm designed with an emphasis on thrusting and was popular in the 15th and early 16th centuries during the Italian Renaissance. While many favored shorter blades of simpler "working" character, the wide surface provided a fine canvas for an engraver as can be seen of this example. This likely 16th century example measures 28 inches long overall. The blade measures 22 1/2 inches long and 4 1/4 inches wide and has wide and shallow double fullers, a pair of faded circular scenes (likely equestrian) partway up each side, and a 4 inch tall engraved panel on the base of each side. Each scene has a floral scroll banner across the top and is bisected by a ribbon of Latin text; one side features a triumphal procession with the text "VIRTVS OMNIA VINCIT" (virtue conquers all), and the other side depicts the Judgement of Paris with the text "IN DOMINO CONFIDO" (trust in the Lord) in the center. The guard is decorated with a mix of scroll engraving and mythical beasts. The hilt is of iron construction with a raised text on a brass panel running along the edges reading "NVNQVAM POTEST NON" and "ESSE VIRTVTI LOCOS" ("There must ever be a place for virtue", a quote attributed to the Stoic philosopher Seneca), and has a set of laminated grips consisting of black horn overlaid with antique ivory. The latter is carved with laurel patterns, secured with a series of 3 mosaic pins, and pierced through the center with a brass lined 1/2 inch diameter hole. The exact purpose of the hole is unknown; it may have been a fourth mosaic pin or a slot for a thong or similar retention device. Cinquedeas with similar decoration are documented in the collections of the Louvre and the Museum of Arms in Paris.

ConditionAbout good overall. The steel components show a mixed brown and gray patina overall with a number of contact nicks along the edges, mild pitting, and spotting. Traces of what appear to be an old gold washed finish are present inside the engraving. The grips are fair with a number of cracks and chips as well as fine color and grain.
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