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Title Tula smallsword, cut steel
Nationality Russian
Period c 1770
 (This item is subject to special postage, click here for more information.)

This sword (almost identical to one I sold to a Moscow dealer in about 2006) has an unsigned Tula hilt - undercut and pierced steel work of this type is a virtual 'signature', only found on European cast silver hilts and never on the knuckle bow. The influence for this work is probably Brescian or possibly Toledo, with London for the lattice work.

The blade (80 cms and 97.5 cms overall, weight 369 grams) is of the Colichemarde type (squeezed blade), hollow-ground construction. The 20th-century scabbard (weight 156 grams) is of black calf leather with silver mounts.

The condition of the hilt is superb, with most of the original iron-grey finish. It would originally have been a bright finish, I suspect, and has dulled down over the centuries. The blade has its original point, which would not appear to have been shortened by any noticeable degree, including the last half-inch of trapezoid section on one side with the extension of the fuller on the other.

For references to this type of sword, see 'Treasures of the Moscow Kremlin' (1998, page 142 - inventory number 89); also 'Russian Arms & Armour' (Aurora Press, 1982 - Kremlin inv no 6053); lastly, 'Fine Arms from Tula' (Aurora Press, 1977 - St Petersburg inv no 3.0.6801). All three examples have a trophy of arms motif to the guard and pommel, but the work is identical to that of mine. The blades of all three are signed 'Tula' and dated 1769 at the forte. (The retired head of metalwork at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, has confirmed that, in his opinion, this is Tula work. A copy of his personal letter to me would be available to the purchaser.)

The London influence (lattice work) can be seen on a silver smallsword by John Radbourn, purchased in 1995 by the Metropolitan Museum and illustrated in their 'Arms and Armor - notable acquisitions 1991-2002'.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Edged Weapons : Swords : Russian : 18th Century]


I received the silver Verdienstkreuz this morning. Your swiftness and dedication was very much appreciated and, though the envelope arrived with a Post Office sticker saying it had been found open or damaged, the cross was unharmed and looks beautiful. Thanks for your time.

E C, UK, 18.10.2005

Arrived safely. Excellent item. Really good condition. A good addition to the collection. Many thanks for a stress free transaction.

R B, UK, 17.10.2005