Original Prussian Court Degen Épée Sword named to Field Marshall Wilhelm von Hahnke by Eickhorn - Dated 1851 & 1898
Original Item: One of a Kind. This is a fantastic Pre-German Empire Prussian Court Degen Épée Sword, which is attributed to Prussian Field Marshall Wilhelm Gustav Karl Bernhard von Hahnke, son of Prussian Oberst Wilhelm von Hahnke. These swords were to be worn at "Court" functions involving the Prussian Nobility. This is a great example of one of these swords, with some great markings and history. It is also made by the VERY famous Eickhorn family, arguably the most famous in Solingen, the legendary "City of Blades" in the mountains of Western Germany.
The hilt of the blade is the classic Court Degen style, originally of gilt brass, with a lovely Gold bullion portepee attached. The brass fittings retain only tiny remnants of their gilt finish, visible mostly in the recessed portions. The grip is wrapped wire, and has an 8 pointed starburst with the Emblem of the Prussian Order of the Black Eagle (Hoher Orden vom Schwarzen Adler), complete with the motto SUUM CUIQUE (idiomatically, "to each according to his merits"). This is the emblem of the Prussian Garde Regiments, and according to research, after his education in the cadet corps, Wilhelm von Hahnke was transferred on April 26, 1851 as a second lieutenant to the Emperor Alexander Guard Grenadier Regiment No. 1 of the Prussian Army.
This is indicated in a 4-line inscription on 1 side of the cross guard of which 3 lines are legible. It reads:
Prinz Wilhelm von Preußen
This indicates that the sword was presented to von Hahnke when he joined the Garde by Prince Wilhlem of Prussia, who would later go on to be King of Prussia and Emperor Wilhelm I of the unified German Empire after 1871. The 2nd line looks as though it may possibly be in Latin, but the wear on the script unfortunately makes the letters mostly all look the same.
On the other side of the cross guard it states:
Generalfeldmarschall von Hahnke
Jerusalem Reise 1898
This inscription is clearly over earlier wear on the cross guard, and as von Hahnke was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall in 1905, it has to have been done after 1905. A sword named to a distinguished Prussian officer who is easily researched, though there is much more in German than in English unfortunately. It looks as though he may have traveled to the holy land with the sword in 1898.
The sword itself is great even without all the inscriptions, and measures 41 1/2" in overall length. It features a great 34" triple-etched blade, which is executed very well. There are banners on either side, marked in script with Schlagfrei (Impact Free) and Eisenhauer (Iron Sword/Hewer). These are words that describe the quality of the blade. The surface does show moderate to heavy freckling, and was sharpened on half of the blade, but especially near the tip which was most likely damaged at some point. There is scratching and wear from cleaning, but the blade buffer is still present, and just above it there is the Iconic "Seated Squirrel" trademark of the Eickhorn family.
According to J. Anthony Carter's book, GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS, the Eichhörngen (Squirrel) trademark was registered in 1850 by Hermann Lange, a partner in the firm Johann Friedrich Eickhorn Wilhelm Sohn. The firm however was only able to use it for about 10 years, and it was cancelled prior to 1864, and acquired by another firm. The Carl Eickhorn firm was founded in 1865, and had to switch to other trademarks, including two squirrels back to back, until 1920, when it was able to reacquire the trademark. This is exactly the right trademark for an Eickhorn sword presented in 1851.
The Eickhorn family is arguably the most famous of all Solingen makers. Not only could the family trace their history back 500 years, but they could also demonstrate involvement in the hardening and grinding industries for the same period. Truly the nobility of Solingen Edged weapon dynasties. Eickhorn edged weapons are the most desirable of all makers.
The leather scabbard is in good condition for its age, with some of the original black finish remaining, with the rest having flaked off. The stitching running the full length is not intact. Brass fittings have heavy patina with numerous dents.
A fantastic collector's and research opportunity, ready to add to your collection!
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