Original Rare Fencing Books


  This is a small selection of books. If you have a specific interest please let me know and I will let you know what is available on the market!

Angelo, [Domenico & Henry]
The School of Fencing.

Book Description: London. 1787. Oblong 4°. 44 copperplates showing 47 positions [Numbers 2/3, 11/12 & 13/14 each form one plate.]. Full calf binding, small portion of title on spine missing.
Book Condition: Very Good. Plates and text clean and crisp.

Images: Cover, Spine, Plate 17, Plate 33


Angelo, Mr. [Domenico]

School of Fencing: With a General Explanation of the Principal Attitudes and Positions Peculiar to the Art.


Book Description: Land's End Press, New York, 1971. Reprint. Red Cloth Hardcover. Oblong 6'hx 9"w. 146 pages. This is a facsimile printing of three 18th century fencing works: Domenico Angelo's "The School of Fencing" with Henry Angelo's "Hungarian and Highland Broad Sword", and "The Angelo Cutlass Exercises". Illustrated with many black and white engravings and etchings.

Book Condition: Excellent. Dust Jacket Condition: Good - Gold lettering on the spine. Scuffing to the top and tail of the spine along with sun damage. Dust Jacket has a small tear and is lightly scuffed and creased along the back, top edge.


Another copy is available with no dust jacket:




Barbasetti, Luigi, Illustrated by Plates & Drawings

The Art of the Foil (ISBN:0760709432)


Book Description: New York: Barnes & Noble, 1998. Reprint. Hard Cover. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Illustrated by b/w Plates & Drawings with a Glossary. Yellow boards w/black cloth and gold lettering at spine; cover, binding, pages as new; DJ w/mylar as new except for slight rubbing on front and back of jacket.

Book Condition: Excellent. Dust Jacket Condition: Excellent. Lightly edge worn dust jacket.



Barbasetti, Luigi, Illustrated by Ciro Barbasetti

The Art of the Sabre and the Epee


Book Description: New York: E. P. Dutton & Company, 1936. First Edition. Hardcover. 8vo in cloth. spine red, black text. Barbasetti, Ciro (illustrator). 170 pages with glossary.

Book Condition: Good Plus. Spine is faded from light exposure. Front Cover is faded and has changed color in a few places. Slight edge wear. Clean tight copy.



Barbasetti, Luigi, Illustrated by Ciro Barbasetti

The Art Of The Foil; With a Short History of Fencing


Book Description: New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1932. First Edition. Hardback. 8vo in beige cloth. Frontispiece photograph of Luigi Barbasetti. Profusely illustrated with Halftones and Line Cuts by Ciro Barbasetti. Glossary. xii, 276 p.

Book Condition: Near Fine. Pages clean and binding tight. some sunning to spine and board edges. Light wear to spine ends. Previous owner’s dedication and address on inside cover and first page.



Beaumont, Edouard de

L'Epée et les Femmes.

Book Description: Paris: Librairie des Bibliophiles,1881. Small folio. Frontispiece plus 4 photogravures in duplicate out of text by Meissonier. Green half-morocco binding with gold tooling on spine.) [The first of a planned five volumes covering the history of the sword in Europe. Much like Burton's Book of the Sword series and possibly for the same reason of lack of public interest, the project never progressed beyond this first volume. Perhaps not surprisingly, since L'Epée et les Femmes is a long dissertation on the pernicious effect women have had on the manly art of swordsmanship.

Book Condition: Near Excellent. Some foxing. Baron Howard de Walden and Malcolm Fare bookplates.


Images: Title Page, Spine, Illustration, Illustration 2


Brea, Manuel Antonio

Principos Universales y Reglas Generales de la Verdadera Destreza del Espadin.


Book Description: 1805. 18 copperplates. Contemporary calf binding.



Dörnhöffer, Friedrich

Albrecht Dürers Fechtbuch.


Book Description: 1910. Folio. 107 photographic plates [5 duplicates in colour] showing wrestlers and fencers using two-handed swords and badelaires. Dark blue cloth binding with gold titling on the spine in a red panel.

Book Condition: Near Excellent. Tear in margin of one page [pictured]. Jack Gorlin and Malcolm Fare bookplates.


Images: Spine, Tear in Margin, Plate 17a, Plate 42a, Plate 49a, Plate 51a, Plate 59a, Plate 64, Plate 68,


Fabris, Salvator

De lo schermo overo scienza d'arme.

Book Description: Copenhagen, Henricus Waltkirck, 1606. Two parts in one, engraved title within wide architectural border, with full-page arms on verso, numerous half-page illustrations, but lacking 14 leaves ( Fabris portrait/Insignia, pg. 49/50, 67/68, 71/72, 73/74, 101/102, 111/112, 113/114, 141/142, 147/148, 151/152, 189/190, 241/242, 247/248).
Book Condition: Title browned with small repair at margins, 2 other leaves with minor loss. Modern morocco.


 Images: Cover, Spine, Dedication, Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, Picture 5, Picture 6, Picture 7, Picture 8, End Leaves

Grassi, Giacomo di

Ragione adoprar sicuramente l'arme si da offesa, come da difesa, con un trattato dell'inganno, & con un modo di essercitarsi da se stesso, per acquistare forza, giudicio, & prestezza.


Book Description: Venetia: appresso Giorgio de’ Cavalli, 1570. First Edition. 4vo.

Book Condition: Very Good. Illustrations and text are in great condition. Some margin notes from former author in Italian.


Images: Title Page, Portrait, Guardia


Hutton, Alfred
Fixed Bayonets: A Complete System of Fence for the British Magazine Rifle, Explaining the Use of Point, Edges and Butt, Both in Offence and Defence; Comprising Also a Glossary of English, French, and Italian Terms Common to the Art of Fencing, with a Bibliographical List of Works Affecting the Bayonet

Book Description: London: William Clowes and Sons Limited, 1890. First Edition. 8vo in original gilt lettered, illustrated brown cloth and black coated endpapers with photogravure frontispiece (portrait) signed in print and 23 wood engraved plates illustrating moves. ix,[3],183,[1]pp. Rare.
Book Condition: Very Good. Covers slightly bowed and a bit soiled with light foxing to recto of frontispiece and some offsetting to title page from frontispiece, else a clean copy.
Images: Cover, Title Page, Portrait

Jacob, Jules
Le jeu de l'épée.

Book Description: Paris: Paul Ollendorff, 1887. Second edition. 12vo. Edited by Emile André. Unillustrated. Black half-morocco binding with gold titling on spine. Jacob is credited with creating modern epee fencing in the late 1860s. He was the first master to abandon the conventions of foil in response to the need, still strongly felt in France at that time, for practical preparation for a duel where the ability to hit without being hit was of paramount importance. In so doing, he started a war of words between traditionalist, who regarded foil as 'real' fencing, and the new followers of epee, practical fencing, that was to last more than 30 years before epee was finally accepted as a weapon in its own right, requiring a method of teaching quite distinct from that of foil. The first edition appeared in 1886.
Book Condition: Excellent. Signature of previous owner on title page. Slight rubbing to spine and corners.
Images: Title page, Spine


The Art of Fencing, or the use of the small sword. Translated from the French of the late celebrated Monsieur L'Abbat, master of that Art at the Academy of Toulouse, by Andrew Mahon, Professor of the Small Sword.

Book Description: London: printed for Richard Wellington at the Dolphin and Crown, without Temple Bar, 1735. 8°. 11 copperplates out of text [plus the missing plate #12, copied by hand onto tracing paper]. Original paperback cover bound at end. Contemporary calf binding, rebacked. First published in France in 1696. Ex-Aylward collection.
Book Condition: Good. Front and end papers missing. some foxing and browning throughout. Edmonstone bookplate.

Images: Title Page, Spine, Plate 10, Plate 5, Plate 12 (traced by hand)

Marcelli, Francesco Antonio
Regole della scherma insegnate de Lelio, e Titta Marcelli scritte da Francesco Antonio Marcelli figlio, enipote e maestro di scherma in Roma.

Book Description: Rome, Dom. Ant. Ercole, 1686. Two parts in one vol. 4to. Nineteenth-century blind-tooled vellum,spine ribbed, black morocco title labels lettered in gold, red edges. With engr. frontispiece, depicting 7 fencing masters of the Marcelli family, Swedish engr. coat-of-arms on title-page and 34 engr. illustrations in the text. A leaf with contemporary manuscript annotations is bound in.

Images: Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, Picture 5, Picture 6 , Picture 7, Picture 8, Picture 9, Picture 10, Picture 11, Picture 12, Picture 13


Olivier, J[ean]
Fencing Familiarized, or a New Treatise on the Art of Sword Play.

Book Description: London: John Bell. 1771. (Folding frontispiece & 7 (of 8) folding copperplates engraved by Ovenden and copied from Angelo’s plates. The frontispiece shows the interior of a fencing classroom, with an ongoing exercise between two students, closely followed by the master himself sitting in a chair, by a group of other
students at the left and by some spectators standing outside looking through the windows.
Book Condition: Twentieth-century blind-tooled chamois binding.




Pollock, Walter H; Grove, F C; Prevost, Camille; Michell, E B & Armstrong, Walter

The Badminton Library: Fencing, Boxing & Wrestling.


Book Description: Longmans Green and Co., 1889. First Edition. Gilt decorated 3/4 blue morocco over gilt stamped orange cloth boards with coat of arms of the Duke of Beaufort in gold on front cover. Illustrated. 43 photographic plates: 18 showing the classic French school of foil, 16 engravings of boxing & 8 of wrestling. No. 226 of 250 copies printed on large paper (8vo). 338 pp.
Book Condition: Faded spine



Pollock, Walter H; Grove, F C; Prevost, Camille; Michell, E B & Armstrong, Walter

The Badminton Library: Fencing, Boxing & Wrestling.


Book Description: Boston : Little, Brown, and Company, 1889. First Edition. Original decorated brown cloth, gilt titling to spine. Illustrated. 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. Frontispiece. Many b/w illustrations, 43 plates (some with tissue guards). Well illustrated from instantaneous photographs, pages 1 - 114 cover the practical instruction of the art of Fencing including a small section on Singlestick. Pages 117 - 171 cover Boxing and Sparring, illustrated with full page wood engravings, and 176 - 237 Wrestling, Cumberland and Westmoreland, styles and systems, with a complete bibliography of the art of Fencing by Egerton Castle and an appendix. 304 pp.

Book Condition: Near Excellent. Text is clean and tight, the covers have some edge wear. Light rubbing of binding, endpapers foxed.



Pollock, Walter H; Grove, F C; Prevost, Camille; Michell, E B & Armstrong, Walter

The Badminton Library: Fencing, Boxing & Wrestling.


Book Description: London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1890. Second Edition. Original decorated brown cloth, gilt titling to spine. Many b/w illustrations, 43 plates. 190x130mm. Well illustrated from instantaneous photographs, pages 1 - 110 cover the practical instruction of the art of Fencing including a small section on Singlestick. Pages 117 - 148 cover Boxing and Sparring, illustrated with full page wood engravings, and 175 - 221 Wrestling, Cumberland and Westmoreland, styles and systems, with a complete bibliography of the art of Fencing by Egerton Castle. 304 pp.

Book Condition: Excellent. A little rubbed at head and heel of spine.



Radaelli, Giuseppe
Istruzione per la Scherma de Sciabola e di Spada.

Book Description: Milano: Dumolard, 1885. 8vo., 103pp., ten quadruple foldout plates--7 on sabre and 3 on foil. Plates are 8 inches high and open to 21 inches long. Index, original wraps bound in full vellum with ties. Gilt lettering on spine. Gilt medallion on front board. Title, author, place publisher and date handwritten in black and red ink on rear board. Rare (often cited as Frate, Simon del)
Book Condition: Excellent. Ties cut at ends.

Images: Back Cover, Title Page, Illustration


Roland, Joseph

The Amateur of Fencing; or a treatise on the Art of Sword-Defence, theoretically and experimentally explained upon new principles; designed chiefly for persons who have only acquired a superficial knowledge of the subject.


Book Description: London: Printed for the Author by W. Wilson. And sold at Egerton's Military Library, Whitehall; and sold at the Author's, Greenwich. 1809. First edition. 8vo, xxxii, 228 pp. Roland was fencing master to the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. He was French by birth and upbringing, and had studied under the great master Danet. His son, George Roland, later taught in Edinburgh.

Book Condition: Very Good. Some pages with a small wormhole at top (no loss to text). Full 19th century leather binding, slightly rubbed. Cover is separated from the book, otherwise a handsome & internally crisp copy.



Tavernier, Adolphe

L'Art du Duel.: Préface par Aurélien Scholl.


Book Description: Paris: C. Marpon Et E. Flammarion, nd. Hard Cover in 3/4 red morocco, 4vo. Illustrated with engravings in black and bistre, 326 pages.

Book Condition: Very Good. Edge wear to the board edges and the corners. Leather portion heavily Scuffed


Images: Cover, Title Page, Illustration, Illustration 2


Vigeant, Arsène

Un Maître d'Armes sous la Restauration.

Book Description: Paris, 1883. 8vo. Limited edition: No. 423 of 480 copies. Portrait of Jean-Louis by Courtry + 6 vignettes in the text. Red half-morocco binding with gold titling on spine. A biography of Jean-Louis, the mulatto master who rose to fame in Napoleon's army when, during a series of regimental duels, he is reputed to have killed or wounded 13 Italian masters in succession within 40 minutes. Credited with the picturesque saying, `A foil should be held as one holds a little bird; not so tightly as to crush it, but just enough to prevent it escaping from the hand.' Part 2 describes the fencing match between the Comte de Bondy and Justin Lafaugere.

Book Condition: Very Excellent. Slight darkening to spine. Immaculate pages. Baron Howard de Walden bookplate.


Images: Title page, Spine, Section 2, Original Cover

All sales are subject to availability.