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Thread: Colichemarde Small Sword

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002

    Colichemarde Small Sword


    I have been developing more interest in Small Swords of late. As my main interest focuses on Military swords I have always tended to disregard small swords generally as ornamental civilian accessories. I recall being told by another collector many years ago that the small sword has significant merit and should not be overlooked. Despite suggesting I have no interest in small swords I now have five in my collection which suggests I have been in denial for some time.

    I recently acquired my second Colichemarde and noticed that it was far more subtle in the thickening at the forte than my other example which is extremely pronounced. Having read that this style of sword had a relatively short life being between 1680-1720 I became curious about how to date these swords. Is the reduced swelling at the forte the inevitable move towards the final small sword design etc.?

    With such questions in mind I thought I would kick off this post in an attempt to put together a picture of the evolution of this sword, its rise to popularity, its final decline and any available reference material. I have seen small swords with Colichemarde blades attributed to dating much latter than 1720, and have always wondered if this sword remained popular longer than I believed or if these blades had simply been re-hilted with latter hilts often between 1760 and 1780.

    To kick off I have attached my Colichemarde with the pronounced swollen forte.

    Date: Circa 1685-1720 (18th Century)
    Nationality: French
    Over Length: 38” 96.5 Cm
    Blade length: 30 ¾” 78.1 cm
    Blade widest point: 1 ¼” 3.2 cm
    Hilt widest point: 4 ½” 11.4 cm
    Inside grip length: 4” 10.2 cm

    French Small-Sword with pronounced colichemarde blade of hollow ground triangular section retaining traces of etching at the forte, the hilt chiselled in relief with rococo scrolls, on the double shell and pommel with scenes of weapons and musical instruments against a gilt ground. The grip with its original binding of silver ribbon and plaited silver wire.

    Cheers Cathey and Rex
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by Cathey Brimage; 05-06-2016 at 09:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Triangular colichemarde blades were widely used during 1700 - 1760, may be 1770. Usually earlier blade are wider.
    "Flattened diamond" colichemardes were used up to 1800, in some countries even later.

    I would shift dating 1680-1720 to 1710-1760 for triangular blades and to 1750-1800 for flattened diamond.
    Last edited by Ivan B.; 05-06-2016 at 11:51 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Montreal , Canada
    Good morning,
    This shape of blades has been invented by Guillaume Othon de Konigsmarck, owner of said cavalry regiment in 1671.
    The regiment changed name in 1688 for "Royal Allemand".
    The pronounciation of the German name "Konigsmarck" became "colichemarde" in French.
    Not a regulation pattern but seen here and there on privately bought swords.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Nithing to add regarding the blade...but a very nice hilt as well I would say !!
    Non soli cedit!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Seattle, WA
    By the way, I believe up to 1/2 of all English silver hilted swords, produced around 1750-1760, have colichemarde blades. Seems like in that period colichemarde blades were extremely popular between the upper class gentlemen.
    On the first picture is comparison of colichemarde blades from around 1830 and 1860 (with silver hilt by William Kinman). On the second picture are flattened diamond - shaped colichemardes from 1770-1780
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by Ivan B.; 05-08-2016 at 06:14 PM.


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