This sword represents the ultimate evolution of the rapier in northern Europe, though it further evolved and continued in use through the 18th century in Spain. Brass hilt, originally gilt with thickened edge boat form guard, the interior with broad hand engraved foliate border. Elongated quillon block flanked by the guard arms, forming large loops to accommodate gripping with the first two fingers ahead of the cross guard. Compare to our A9723. The two hilts are of about identical proportions and matching in detail but for the fact that the cross guard on this example is raised toward the pommel, to provide gripping below it with the first two fingers. As a result, the grip is shorter, providing purchase for the third and fourth fingers only. The comparison of these two example clearly illustrates the evolution of fencing techniques, with the shift of the grip resulting in reconfiguring the guard. Fine 35” diamond section blade with deep fullers marked * T O M A S* A I A L A * and * T O L E D O *.