A Royal Sword
One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is making pieces for museums and collections to use as interactive materials. These pieces give visitors the experience of handling a high quality reproduction instead of just looking at the objects behind glass. In this post we highlight the Gustav Vasa Rapier, a close reproduction of the original that belonged to King Gustav Ericsson Vasa of Sweden (1496-1560).
King Gustav ruled Sweden from 1523 until his death in 1560. He was responsible for driving out the Danes under King Christian I, for accelerating the adoption of protestantism in Sweden (mostly as a way to gain power from the Church), has been credited with establishing a stable and secure Swedish monarchy, and is considered the father of the nation of Sweden.
The Original Sword
The original sword is a gorgeous example of a mid-sixteenth century rapier, with a complex guard, very efficient in the thrust, but still maintaining the ability to cut quite well. It weighs a touch over three pounds, is just shy of 43 inches long, and has a point of balance 4.5 inches ahead of the cross. You can learn more about the original sword in this excellent post on MyArmoury.com by Björn Hellqvist. Below are two photographs he took of the original sword.
Our stock version
As a production piece we reproduce this sword in polished and blued steel, as is seen below. We have opted to exclude the highly ornate locke seen on the original as it would not have been in place when the sword was in use. This reduces the cost of the sword, making it available to more folks. We have also made a parrying dagger in the style of this sword to create a matched set. If you are interested in having the sword gilt as the original just let us know and we will give you a quote, as the cost varies with the rather volatile price of gold.
Custom Pieces For Museums
In addition to our stock piece, we have made several custom versions of this sword for museums, theaters, and special occasions. The first of these was for the Swedish Royal Armouries, where the original sword is on display. They wanted this as a teaching aid so that visitors could handle an accurate reproduction of the sword to better appreciate it as a weapon. As you can see below, we produced this piece with gilded pommel and quillions as on the original.
Replica made for Livrustkammaren—Royal Armoury Stockholm Sweden
We were also commissioned to make a custom gilt sword and dagger set for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.
Gold Plated Suite made for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London
In Sweden and Finland it is traditional for doctoral recipients to get a hat and a sword as signs of their degree. The Gustav Vasa sword below was commissioned as a doctoral sword. It was personalized by changing some of the details on the hilt, by adding symbolic beasts and letters on the ends of the guard arms. The blade was also etched on both sides with name, mottos, symbols and heraldry relevant to the customer.
We just finished the piece below for use at Kalmar Castle in Sweden, where they are preparing a special exhibition on Gustav Vasa in 2020. It is the standard model with gold plate on components per the original. There is also the addition of a chiseled collar under the pommel and gold wire wound on the grip, as well as a bit more detailing on the hilt itself.
A piece we just finished for Kalmar Castle
Reviews of our reproduction
Kult of Athena Review- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pjo8b9MmmVs