November 17, 2020 Early Arms & Militaria: Age of Exploration, Empire & Revolution
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A Continental European smallsword, probably French, 39-3/8" long overall. A tapering, colichemarde blade of diamond profile of 33-1/4" length and 1-5/16" width at ricasso; the blade etched with martial devices and a partially-obscured motto “Si Fortuna me Tormenta“ on the obverse face and “Sperato me Contenta“ on the reverse (“If fortune torments me, hope contents me.”; source: William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Pt. 2, Act II, Scene 4, line 179—thanks are due to Jack Bethune for his help in deciphering and attributing the inscription). Characteristic hilt of cast-silver components, decorated with martial and Masonic devices in relief on the asymmetrical double shell-guard, quillons, knuckle-guard, and globular pommel; the wooden grip is wrapped with twisted, 2-strand wire and there is the remnants of an 18th-century sword knot of intermixed blue and silver looped to the lower pas d’ane. The original, tooled black leather scabbard is extant and measures 29" in length, but is missing its throat and chape (both presumably silver). By family tradition, this sword belonged to Major General Israel Putnam (1718-1790) of the Connecticut Line, although there are also strong family ties by marriage to another important Revolutionary War officer, Colonel Philip van Cortlandt (1749-1831) of the 2nd New York Regiment. Israel Putnam, popularly known as "Old Put", was an American army general officer who fought with distinction at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). He also served notably as an officer with Rogers' Rangers during the French and Indian War. Putnam's courage and fighting spirit was widely publicized by the circulation of popular stories both prior to and during the Revolutionary War and his exploits were celebrated by successive generations of Americans to present. The sword is accompanied by a signed and notarized affidavit of authenticity and provenance by the last family member to acquire it by successional descent, along with supporting genealogical and historical paperwork. CONDITION: The blade with wear to the etching, now a bright gunmetal grey, the front silver ferrule and wrapping of the grip are slightly loose, the silver mounts with light tarnish. JLK

Item Dimensions: L - 39 - 1/4"
Blade Length
Overall Length
39 - 1/4"
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Minimum Bid: $7,500.00
Current Bid: $0.00
Estimate: $15,000 - $30,000
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