Gustav Vasa Rapier

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.

King Gustav

A portrait of Gustav from ~1557 in the National Museum 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 by Björn Hellqvist.  Below are two photographs he took of the original sword. 

Vasa rapier original


vasa rapier original


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.

#111 Gustav Vasa RApier from A&A

The Gustav Vasa Rapier

Gustav Vasa rapier and dagger suite

Gustav Vasa Parrying Dagger 


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. 

Gustav VAsa sword REpics made for the Royal Armouries Sweden

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 Gusta Vasa Suite made for Globe Theatre, 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.  

Doctoral custom sword

Symbolic beastsCustom letter on guard arm.


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.

Gustav Vasa for Kalmar Slott

A piece we just finished for Kalmar Castle

Gold plated detail on Gustav Vasa for Kalmar Castle 

Reviews of our reproduction

Please check out reviews of our sword by Nathan Robinson here,  and here for one by Bill Grandy, as well two more below.  This is a lovely sword and we are very happy that folks appreciate it.

Kult of Athena Review-

SBG review -

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