Sometimes one comes across swords that are not terribly old, but are historic as well as beautiful. This French Model 1882 infantry officer's sabre d'infanterie fantaisie checks both boxes. Made at Coulaux & Cie in Klingenthal, it is 96 cm overall, with a 83 cm-long rapier blade, well-balanced and fast. The hilt is finely chiseled in relief. Pommel is engraved with the officer's initials, F.J. or J.F.
Blade has an etched inscription on the blackened foreground: PROMO VERDUN, dating the sword precisely to 1936. The sword belonged to an officer who graduated from the L'école Militaire D'Infanterie et des Chars de Combat de Saint-Maixent, a military academy for the training of infantry and tank officers in Saint-Maxent, in the summer of that year. 1936 was the year of the Promotion Verdun; the newly-minted officers were baptized at that solemn memorial on the battlefield that held bones of tens of thousands French soldiers, some of whom were their fathers, uncles and brothers.
The sword is in very good overall condition, with touches of discoloration to the scabbard and the blade.
Photos of the Promotion Verdun can be viewed here -
An officer with the initials F.J. is holding his new sword. The Second World War is only 3 years away...what became of him?