No single form or date can be given to the point at which the rapier evolved. However, accepting the common definition, this example comes very close to that point, retaining the principal attributes of the Gothic broadsword, straight cross guard and wheel pommel. Its simple counter guard is identical to one on an example in the Sir James Mann collection dated to the 1520s. Other examples with variations of the guard are dated earlier, however, they all evidently have cutting/thrusting blades. The heavy diamond section blade of this example marked VALENCIA (sic.) distinguishes it as among the very earliest swords made primarily for thrusting with in respect to then evolving sword technique. 35 3/4" length blade.
Allowing for the commerce in weapons, the universal popularity of imported weapons and the blade inscription, it is reasonable to conclude that it was produced for the Spanish market and as such might be linked to the conquistadors.
Of the few related examples, it appears that several are in excavated condition and nearly all in public collections.