WW1 Senior German Navy Officer's Sword from
Scapa Flow (sold)
An exceptional senior German naval officer's sword (by repute)
taken from an officer at Scapa Flow.
Exceptionally rare on the market, a senior Imperial German navy
officer's sword, by repute taken from an officer at Scapa
Flow in 1919. Sometimes provenance by repute can be taken with
a pinch of salt, but there are not many better explanations of how
such a fine sword came into British hands (I bought it in the UK
and it had been in the family for years they reckoned with tales
of how their great grandfather took it from one of the officers
at Scapa Flow).
It would have been a very senior German naval officer's sword with
its ivory grip, flag officer rank ferrule, fine etching (galleons,
tridents and fouled anchors) and "Damast Stahl" damascened
blade which bears the cutler's / outfitters mark of Fuhr & (illegible)
Wilhelmshaven (the main German naval port for the North and Baltic
Seas from 1869 onwards).
The 31 5/8 inch pipe back blade with quill point indicating a
taste for a bygone age is firm in the hilt. The hilt has much gilding
remaining. The ivory grip is in very good order with the ring bindings
(twisted grip wire) very good except for one strand which is coming
loose. The folding guard locks onto the corresponding scabbard pin
as it should. There is some rusting / pitting to the blade but thankfully
away from the most important areas; the main pitting is to the spine
where the maker's name is.
This is such a lovely and rare sword, and with the fact it was
bought in the UK from a family with no knowledge of swords but with
a story handed down of how it came into their hands, I am sure this
is from that historic naval event 90 years ago. I understand after
the German officers and crews scuttled their warships in defiance
of the Armistice they were arrested as prisoners of war (despite
the fact WW1 had ended) on a technicality; they raised their German
naval (war) flags before sinking their own vessels as a sign of
defiance; however this was officially taken as a declaration of
war and the officers were summarily arrested and relieved of their
weapons, etc. Further / full sized images available upon request.
Item reference number 243.