I recently acquired a small-sword at auction. The catalogue description was:

Early 18th Century Small Sword with engraved blade. 28 inch double edged narrow blade. Both sides with engraved figures, birds and flowers with Latin inscriptions. Steel double shellguard, pas d’ane, ball ended quillon. D shape knuckle bow, ball pommel and ribbed grip. All with traces of heavy gilt finish.

My Stats:

Weight, sword: 15.2oz (0.43kg)
Length overall: 34'' (86.5cm) Blade: 28'' (71 cm)
POB: 3'' (7.5cm)
Profile taper: 0.83'' (21.3 mm) at ricasso, 0.66'' (16.7mm)at mid blade, 0.45'' (11.4mm) 2 inches from tip.
Distal taper 0.27'' (6.9 mm) at ricasso, 0.16'' (4.3mm)at mid blade,. 0.1'' (2.6mm) 2 inches from tip.

Now the remains of the finish are silver plate not gilt and there does seem to be the remnants of heavier silver foil on the front of the shell guards. The Pas d'ane are quite large which can indicate an older small-sword and the style of the engraving also indicates some good age. The blade is diamond section, slightly hollow ground, very flexible. There is a slight bend in the blade, however, J.D Aylward in The Small-Sword in England quotes McArthur in stating “The blade should not be of straight form, but should incline at least two degrees downwards when you hold your sword in the horizontal position”. ;) If the blade was originally blue and gilt there is no trace left now. I think this is a fairly utilitarian quality sword although when fully silvered and perhaps with a blue and gilt blade it would have looked rather smart. The pin etching covers the first third of the blade and includes several Latin inscriptions. If anyone can help me with these I would be most grateful, I cannot make head nor tail of them. I have tried to produce the clearest black and white images of them that I can. As ever all comments, criticisms and suggestions welcomed.

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