Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 353: Engraved, Silver Mounted 16th Century Saxon Parrying Dagger

Auction Date: December 3, 2021

Attractive, Finely Engraved, Silver Mounted 16th Century Saxon "Left Hand" Parrying Dagger with Matching Engraved and Mounted Scabbard

Estimated Price: $12,000 - $18,000

Attractive, Finely Engraved, Silver Mounted 16th Century Saxon "Left Hand" Parrying Dagger with Matching Engraved and Mounted Scabbard

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 513
Item Interest: Active
Catalog Page: 208
Class: Other

During the late 15th and early 16th century it became increasingly popular to wear a sword while in civilian dress, which in turn led to an increasing number of conflicts between individuals not wearing armour. The lack of armour in such a situation meant that parrying of the opponents strikes was far more important than when encased in plate armour. For this reason, a specialized dagger began to appear, like this example, intended to be wielded in the off hand alongside a rapier or estoc. The daggers main purpose was for parrying the strikes of the opponent so that the sword wielding hand was free to make counter attacks, hence one of the common names for these types of daggers, the "left hand" dagger. Parrying daggers continued in popularity into the early 17th century when they began to fade away in favour of evolving schools of fencing which emphasized parrying with the sword alone. This beautiful example was made in Saxony sometime in the early 16th century and almost certainly came from the famous Saxon Electoral Armouries in Dresden. It has a stout, fast tapering, flattened diamond cross sectioned, double edged blade with single deep fullers on each side running three quarters of the length. Both sides of the long ricasso have grooves on either side of the fuller. The iron cruciform guard is Japanned black and has mushroom shaped quillions with small knob-like finials and a large side/thumb ring on the right (if used in the left hand). The grip is wrapped in silver wire with silver cusped ferrules, and it is fitted with an eight faceted spherical pommel embellished with floral vine engraving on the silver facets, and flush visible tang peen on the finial. It measures 17 3/8 inches overall with a 12 1/4 inch blade (2 inch ricasso). Includes a hardwood scabbard covered in black cloth with matching engraved large silver mountings. This dagger would pair wonderfully with the 16th century Saxon estoc in the previous lot which shows similar engraving patterns.

Rating Definition:

Very fine, the blade mostly bright with a few scattered patches of light pitting. The guard retains approximately half of the black finish along with the iron parts of the pommel. The silver shows an attractive antique patina overall with the wire wrap slightly loose. The scabbard is also very fine, the cloth showing some wear and re-gluing and the silver an attractive aged patina. A beautiful piece of 16th century weaponry!

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