The M1885 is yet another of the truly beautiful Danish designs. I am not sure if the sword ever saw service in Norway, but as there are fairly many of them here, I doubt collectors have managed to bring them all in. In addition to being immensely beautiful, the hilt of this sword is a story-book by itself.
The hilt shows three coats of arms – Denmark’s three lions, the Norwegian lion with the axe and Sweden’s three crowns. Although Sweden and Denmark more or less had been at a continues war the last couple of hundred years before the M1785 was produced, the Danes still put Sweden’s three crowns on the basket. This really needs some explaining.
Håkon VI Magnusson (1340-1380) was the king of Norway from 1355-1380 and also the king of Sweden (and Finland) for a couple of years from 1362. He married the daughter of the Danish king – Margrete and his son Olav IV became the king of Denmark (Oluf III) in 1376 and of Norway after his fathers death in 1380. In reality he also inherited the Swedish crown from his grandfather Magnus and thereby laying the foundations for the later Kalmar union. Officially Olav died of pneumonia in 1387. In 1387 a union between Denmark/Norway (including Iceland, Greenland) and Sweden (including Finland) – The Kalmar union – was made. Thereby the Kalmar union badge displaying the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish coats of arms. The Kalmar union lasted until 1523. So why did the Danes use this in 1785 – more than 250 years after the union ceased to exist? A very good question! Denmark used the Kalmar union coats of arms until they lost Norway in 1814 – no reason given! But they are Danes!