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Lion’s Head Artillery Sword

Article about: Hello all, looking to share some photos of a sword in the collection and to perhaps get thoughts on origins or background on this particular blade. This lion head artillery saber carries no

  1. #1

    Default Lion’s Head Artillery Sword

    Hello all, looking to share some photos of a sword in the collection and to perhaps get thoughts on origins or background on this particular blade.

    This lion head artillery saber carries no maker’s mark on the ricasso, nor is there one on the spine of the blade, which has a series of leaves / vines running along it. The reverse langet has what seems to be a laurel leaf pattern, however there doesn’t appear to be enough space for much engraving, and I’m uncertain what would be the significance of this pattern.

    The blade is engraved with a portrait of the kaiser on the one side, with an eagle holding a banner reading “Deutschland über alles in der welt” and an assortment of crests, followed by the trademark.

    The scabbard is steel, with a single ring and vertical hanger in a black enamel, however it appears too clean to be original and I suspect it could have been redone. There are no personalizations anywhere on the sword.

    Lion’s Head Artillery Sword

    Lion’s Head Artillery Sword

    Lion’s Head Artillery Sword

    Lion’s Head Artillery Sword

    Lion’s Head Artillery Sword

    I’ve been reading from a few texts trying to find any which might mention this particular engraving, however I haven’t found references to it in either Angolia’s Swords of Germany nor in Collecting the Edged Weapons of Imperial Germany. Do the engraving styles or other details stand out as a particular manufacturer? Aside from the texts above, are there any other good resources that are worth referencing for swords of this period?

    Also, apologies for the upside-down photos, can't seem to get them in the proper orientation.

  2. #2


    Hello Roman C,

    an interesting sword. So far I've only seen one sword that had exactly the same blade etchings. It was an imperial German cavalry officer's saber M52 that was put up for auction. However, this had the mark "Ges.Gesch." but no maker's mark either. Since I'm not an expert on swords, I unfortunately can't tell you anything more precise or whether it's real. Maybe other members can shed more light on it.

    ratisbon's | Imperial Germany - cavalry officer's sabre M52 with etched blade | DISCOVER GENUINE MILITARIA, ANTIQUES & COINS

    For those who are interested, here is a little more information about the meaning of the engraving:

    The engraving "Deutschland über alles in der Welt / Germany above all in the world" refers to the first verse of "Das Lied der Deutschen / the song of the Germans". The song was composed on August 26th, 1841 by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben on the island of Helgoland. Interestingly, "Das Lied der Deutschen" was understood by its author as a drinking song, among other things, which explains the hymn of praise for German wine, German women and German singing in the second verse. As an alternative to the line, "Blüh’ im Glanze dieses Glückes, blühe, deutsches Vaterland! / Bloom’ in the shine of this happiness, bloom, German fatherland!" the author wrote the toast "Stoßet an und ruft einstimmig: Hoch das deutsche Vaterland! / Toast and shout unanimously: Cheers to the German fatherland!". In 1890 the song was performed for the first time on an official occasion, at the celebration of the takeover of Helgoland (as a result of the Helgoland-Sansibar Treaty). As a result of this contract, the “Alldeutsche Verein / Pan-German Association” was founded in 1891, which took up the imperial expansion efforts and interpreted the "above all in the world" in this direction. Great Britain also valued this “above all” as a sign of the desire for expansion, although the author only wanted to show “the appreciation of the spirit that the patriot shows his fatherland”. In the Weimar Republic "Das Lied der Deutschen" was declared on August 11, 1922 with all three verse national anthem. In the Third Reich, only the first verse of the song was sung as the national anthem. After the Second World War, the song was banned in the American occupation zone, but since 1950 the third verse has been the official national anthem of the Federal Republic of Germany.

    Best regards

  3. #3


    I suggest you take a look two or three of the pinned threads in this section.
    These great reference threads may have the information you are looking for.
    Searching for anything relating to, Anton Boos, 934 Stamm. Kp. Pz. Erz. Abt. 7, 3 Kompanie, Panzer-Regiment 2, 16th Panzer-Division (My father)

  4. #4


    I would say from the decorative style of the hilt that the maker is likely to be Carl Eickhorn. The inscription as detailed by Wolf was a patriotic song at the time of the First World War promoting in effect German unity amongst the minor German states. The image shows the Imperial eagle wings covering the Coats of Arms of these semi independent states. Takes a little decyphering but I can see Bavaria and Saxony fairly easily.
    This type of inscription would be a private purchase order. I would think this sword could be dated to the WW1 era, or slightly pre-WW1. It appears to have a celluloid grip skin, which I think suggests WW1 period.

  5. #5


    A very nice looking sword Roman,
    Excellent information given.

    Semper Fi

  6. #6


    The coats of arms under the wings of the eagle from left to right are:

    1. Großherzogtum Oldenburg / Grand Duchy of Oldenburg
    2. Mecklenburg / Mecklenburg (A simplified coat of arms only with the bull's head for Mecklenburg, it cannot be said exactly which Grand Duchy it stands for Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin or Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Both Grand Duchies had the bull's head for Mecklenburg in their coat of arms)
    3. Königreich Sachsen oder Preußische Provinz Sachsen / Kingdom of Saxony or the Prussian Province of Saxony (both had the same coat of arms)
    4. Provinz Ostpreußen / Province of East Prussia (The R on the eagle's chest shows that it is the province of East Prussia and not the Kingdom of Prussia, this would have a coat of arms with 2 black and 2 white squares on the eagle's chest)
    5. Königreich Bayern / Kingdom of Bavaria (simplified coat of arms)
    6. Königreich Württemberg / Kingdom of Württemberg
    7. Großherzogtum Hessen / Grand Duchy of Hesse
    8. Großherzogtum Baden / Grand Duchy of Baden

    The representations of all coats of arms correspond to the shape between 1871 and 1918. Therefore, it is likely that the design dates from this period.

    Best regards

  7. #7


    Thanks to all for the posts, great information and leads!

  8. #8


    Is there a scabbard for it? If so how many carrying rings on it (1 or 2)?

  9. #9


    There is indeed a 1-ring steel scabbard so I expect it's a later (post 1906?) model, or possibly that the sword and scabbard were paired later on. The scabbard does appear to be in slightly rougher shape overall than the blade, however I don't have any other reason to believe they were not a pair to begin with. There are no markings anywhere on the scabbard.

    I believe that the painted-over-chips are an indication of it being repainted, however I'm uncertain of what it means with the ring having been worn more heavily than the rest of the scabbard. That seems a likely spot for wear if it was carried, however the blade is un-sharpened.

    Is anyone aware of whether it was common practice to carry un-sharpened dress swords? Alternately, is it reasonable that the finish wear on the ring might simply be the result from the ring moving freely?

    Lion’s Head Artillery Sword

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