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Waterloo Captured French AN XIII Cuirassier Sabre Sold

Authentic Klingenthal / Versailles Napoleonic French Heavy Cavalry Sword, dated January 1815 with slight battle damage plus exceptional providence and other clear proof it was taken from a fallen French cavalryman who had just charged a Scottish infantry square during the Battle of Waterloo.

(Authentic Première Restauration Klingenthal / Versailles Sabre de cavalerie de Cuirassier An XIII, lame en date Janvier 1815, marqué "Royale", corriger inspecteur poinçons, capturé diminué de cavalerie soldat français par l'armée britannique à Waterloo en 1815).

French AN XII Cuirassier Heavy Cavalry SwordFrench AN XII Cuirassier Heavy Cavalry Sabre

Sales enquiries

With respected family providence; this sword was brought back by a British army officer from the Battle of Waterloo. Bought from a respected UK auction house in Edinburgh (Scotland), the vendors are well known to them and their claims are considered trustworthy. The original vendors claimed the sword had been in their family for many years and this is born out by the condition when it was sold. The sword clearly had been through a long period where it was not unsheaved as it was exceptionally tight in the scabbard and the patina was commensurate with this; after greasing the sword now sheaves very well. Also, the sabre has a spear point which the French introduced only a few months before Waterloo.

I have the original auction receipt with the statement "Provenance: By family repute, captured at Waterloo". Further enquiries yielded a story that the sword had actually been used in action against their ancestor's Scottish infantry "square", before the French Cuirassier who held it was felled and killed. It is well documented that the French Heavy Cavalry charged British including Scots infantry squares several times and suffered badly as a result from British musket fire at close quarters. The 96 cm twin fullered blade has a slight bend 15 cm from the tip where the blade spine narrows, plus several nicks in the blade around that area which indicate battle damage, perhaps some poor Scotsman was struck by this mighty sword before his French adversary was dispatched.

What makes this sword also quite unique is the fact it was made by Klingenthal in January 1815 during the so called "First Restoration" (French: Première Restauration) in the brief time span when Napoleon was exiled to the Elba (6th April 1814 to 20th March 1815), when the French monarch King Louis XVIII of France briefly regained control. This is reflected in the Klingenthal signature along the spine of the blade which states "Rle" (Royale) not "Impale" (Imperial). It is ironic the blade was made for the king which the British were fighting to reinstate, yet it was used by Napoleon's Imperial Army against them.

The iconic Versailles hilt with rack number 1512 is matched by the same rack number on the scabbard (so the scabbard is original to the sword). The scabbard is in very good condition, albeit with a small amount of patina, which proves the slight blade damage happened when the sword was unsheaved (the slight bend in the blade near the tip is not that prominent and does not inhibit the sword being sheaved). The scabbard interior is now well greased so the sword sheaves and unsheaves well. The blade is firm in the hilt and in very good order generally with some patination mostly down one side. The original leather grip is complete but the leather has worn thin in places (can be preserved). The twisted wire bindings are fairly tight and conform to the original grade / thickness and twists but are a replacement.

Blade with the correct inspector "poinçons" (inspection marks) of Louis Etienne Borson, Jean-Georges Bick and François Louis Lobstein (see: Klingenthal Markings and Inspector Markings). The remains of a Bick inspection mark can be seen next to the rack number (1512) on the top scabbard ring band. The hilt is similarly correctly marked with Borson's inspection stamp plus that of the Versailles hilt inspector. On the scabbard's shoe drag is the mark "11", indicating the sword was held by a French trooper of the 11th Cuirassiers, who formed part of the 3rd Cavalry Corps commanded by General Kellerman at Waterloo, and who were involved in charges against British infantry. It is this combined with the matching sword and scabbard rack numbers, plus the respected original owner's verbal provenance which go to prove this truly is a battle scarred AN XIII Cuirassier's Sabre taken from a fallen French cavalryman by British troops at Waterloo in 1815.

Further photos available upon request.

Versailles Rack 1512

Scabbard Rack No 1512

Royale January 1815 Klingenthal

1815 Poincons

Shoe drag 11 stamp

 

 

 

 

 

 

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