Viking & Medieval swords on offer at Bonhams



2015-06-26 10:30:45

Viking & Medieval swords on offer at Bonhams

Bonhams’ Antique Arms and Armour auction on November 18th will feature an impressive selection of battle-used Viking and Medieval swords.

Many of the swords would have been used in battle. They are scarred and dented items of archaic history, likely to appeal as decorative pieces.

The auction features the collection of E. A. Christensen, a Danish collector. From his collection come seven Viking swords from the 9th and 10th centuries. These were made and wielded at a time when the Vikings were invading the British Isles regularly.

One such rare 9th century Viking sword was found in 1887, in the mouth of the River Thieles in Switzerland. It is valued at £6,000-£8,000. Another was found in Belgium’s River Meuse, and bears an inscription reading ‘Ulfberht’ expected to sell for £3,500-£4,500.

The presence of the Vikings spanned the 8th – 11th centuries. They explored Europe by oceans and rivers, trading and warring as they went. Their first attack on England was in 793, when they destroyed Lindisfarne abbey, a centre of learning. They killed monks and stole the church’s treasures.

A selection of medieval swords will also be available. The highlight among these is a rare medieval sword from the Mamluk Arsenal at Alexandria, taken during the last Crusade in the second half of the 14th century. It was presented to the Mamluk rulers of Alexandria by the Christian ruler of Cyprus and Jerusalem, King Peter I, a gift sealing a treaty.

The sword was then taken back into Christian hands during the last crusade, launched by Peter I, and Christian victory over Alexandria. As such, this is a real piece of history representing a time when Christians and Muslims fought for Mediterranean dominance. This incredible item is expected to sell for £40,000-£60,000.

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