Recente Posts

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Dutch Court Sword / Staatsiedegen

If one collect Dutch court swords it seems you always find or see a type you do not have while you already have a considerable collection. It is save to say that you never will be complete or at least not be sure about it. The Dutch had there swords made by every possible maker in Europe. And by the Dutch is not meant the goverment but every single Dutchman who was allowed to wear a court sword.

The court sword was allways connected with a civil uniform. And all those uniforms where regulated by the state of The Netherlands. Every uniform is discribed by law and still exist today (exept for the Mayor uniform). The Dutch goverment however was as stingy as it can be and never issued one single uniform and court sword. You had to pay for them yourself.

The Dutch goverment only said the Dutch coat of arms had to be present with the motto Je maintiendrai. This gave the manufacturers the possibility to prelude on the overall design. And they did, by the hundreds. So every European sword maker had an example of a Dutch court sword. But to their, the Dutchman, great disapointment none of them was cheap. They all where in high quality with dito prices.

I show you three pieces of my own collection. 

Fig. 1.: It is not the design but the dragon and the white scrabbard. The white scrabbard was only used by a Diplomat and a Minister of Cabinet. But by attaching a M1948 dragon it can only be a diplomat of any rank within the diplomatic corps. Only Diplomats (since 1948) and Chamberlains (since 1897) had a dragon with their court sword. The court sword is made by E. and F. Köhler, Solingen. 

Fig. 2.: The sword has a scarce ivory grip. Some regulations state that the grip had to be of mother of pearl. In this case it seems a custom made sword where the regulations did not provide. The coat of arms has the lions looking you straight in the eyes. By 1907 the Dutch goverment redisigned the lions now looking to the shield. And all the manufactures followed that order with the consequence that todays collector of Dutch court swords has no longer any idea where it ends.

Fig. 3.: This is the only sword more or less prescribed in the regulations. It hat to be gold plated, have a gold plate top mount on the scrabbard of 9cm and a gold plated end mount of 12cm, mother of pearl grips. A dragon made of gold wire (M1897). All of this was drawn and was an offical part of the formal regulation. That meant the design of the sword was known. The hilt had to be near straight with an oval cross guard. So this is a Chamberlains court sword. On the blade there is the name of the dealer: A.A. Knuyver en Zonen Den Haag. Mister Knuyver started as court supplier at 1858.
There is an annoying thing about this sword. If you ever encounter the same type but without the dragon you can not say that it is a Dutch chamberlain court sword. All German manufaturers adopted this type as a regular one. Everybody could buy it but only for the chamberlain it was obliged. It only becomes a chamberlain sword with the M1897 dragon attched.

The dragon on most court swords ar fastened in a dubious way. The Dutch has regulations for the dragon on some infantry swords, Navy officer sword and the M1820 officer sword but not for the court swords for diplomats and chamberlains. The reason for this was a strong opposition from the members of the branches. If there was a court dinner all the court swords where piled up at the lobby. Afterwards every diplomat and chamberlain had to find out which court sword belonged to him. With no regultions on the knotting of the dragon, one personalized the knotting of the dragon to the extend that it was indeed becoming dubious. But now every diplomat and chamberlain could find his court sword without any doubt. 

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