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James Peavyhouse




Location: San Antonio Texas
Joined: 16 Mar 2013

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat 16 Mar, 2013 6:16 am    Post subject: How do you find information on antique rapiers?         Reply with quote

A few years ago I bought an old rapier from a private collector. He had bought the sword previously in the 1980's at a Christie's auction. As Christie's does not keep records past 1998 and the previous owner lost the auction documents, I have been unable to determine much information about it. The hilt is a tapered full tang, though in its past the original hilt was replaced with a simple primitive wooden hilt carved with some sort of picture of an Aztec God, - info. per the seller. It does show battle damage (?) as the blade has a couple of obvious hit marks and the tip is slightly turned, though obviously with little knowledge that could be from anything. It does have the Christie's auction number tag on it, D3326 with an 8.8 next to it.

So, my question is how does someone find out information concerning a sword like this?

Overall length: 34.5"
width: 1"


Any idea's or help would be appreciated. If nothing else, it would be nice to find info concerning this.



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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,494

PostPosted: Sat 16 Mar, 2013 5:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You might be able to find a copy of the original auction catalog.

The handle is of the type seen on Paiwan knives (a Taiwanese aboriginal group). I haven't seen a Paiwan knife with a blade like this before.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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James Peavyhouse




Location: San Antonio Texas
Joined: 16 Mar 2013

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat 16 Mar, 2013 5:21 pm    Post subject: Thank         Reply with quote

I had not even considered that, it is definitely a rapier. The previous owner mentioned the hilt being replaced in South America before it made its way back to Europe, of course without paperwork, that means nothing. I have sent in an appraisal request from someone I know from Sotheby's. Contacted Christie's in the past and they have pointed me to different sources for catalogues, but they have so many auctions every year, it's like the needle in the haystack. You have to find someone that happens to have the catalogue for the auction the item was in. Most catalogues have not been kept.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
Likes: 1 page
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 1,494

PostPosted: Sun 17 Mar, 2013 12:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If the previous owner said South America, I'd say they were wrong. If you google for "Paiwan knife" or similar, you should be able to find the twin brother of this handle. I think it's in the style of what they make for sale to tourists, rather than a traditional "user" style.

Has the blade been shortened? If not, it could be a late 20th century Toledo tourist blade recycled Taiwanese-style.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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James Peavyhouse




Location: San Antonio Texas
Joined: 16 Mar 2013

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun 17 Mar, 2013 6:21 am    Post subject: Thanks         Reply with quote

Yes, I found its twin hilt by your suggested Google search, definitely not what I expected, but this is the only type of sword I have in that style and really have no knowledge of touristy items. It is possible the blade has been shortened, but I doubt I will waste anymore time researching anything about it. The blade may be something of value, but I doubt it with a hilt as that attached to it. Seems to nothing more than an knock off weapon made to sale to tourists. You live and learn in this field. Generally don't buy anything out of hand from folks I don't know or buy primitive styled weapons. Never been a fan of Asian weaponry.

Thank you for the pointers on where to look, I'll probably take the hilt off now and take a look underneath as I am not worried of any damage caused to it. Thank you again for the help.
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