The huge variety of exotic arms brought back to Europe from the East during colonial days is becoming an increasingly lucrative area of business for auction houses.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Mark Bridge
This is particularly true of Thomas Del Mar (25% buyer’s premium) whose July 10 in London was more than half made up of items from the Near East to Japan by way of India and all parts in between.
On this occasion the Eastern offering was greatly swelled by one sizeable private collection with an emphasis on Turkish weapons, but the big news of the day came from a different source.
For the second auction in a row it was a Japanese-style presentation sword from Siam that most excited bidders, selling for many times its estimate at £55,000. Last December it was a silver mounted sword with niello decoration that raced to £42,000. In July it was a gold-mounted example with a lacquered wooden scabbard that made even more of a splash.
Both swords were likened to presentation pieces made as gifts for Western dignitaries by the outward-looking King Moncut, who is now known to the whole of the Western world as portrayed by Yul Brynner in The King and I.
A selection of other Eastern arms from this sale is illustrated above.