19 Nov 2013

Rare Saudi sabre sold

10:14 am on 19 November 2013

A rare sabre that was a gift to mark the creation of Saudi Arabia sold for more than $US1.2 million at an auction in France on Sunday.

A phone bidder paid 955,400 euros for the 24-carat gold and steel sword, with an ivory handle and long curved blade, said auctioneer Jean-Pierre Osenat.

The new owner wants to remain anonymous.

The sword was a gift from Saudi King Abdul-Aziz bin Saud to Prince Ahmad Shah Khan in Afghanistan to mark the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 5 May, 1932.

The sabre, which has a blade nearly 79cm long, was later sold to a private buyer.

"The symbolism of the sabre is important in Arab countries," said Jean-Christophe Chataignier of Osenat.

"To offer a sabre is an act of definite friendship, loyalty, confidence and mutual protection between provider and beneficiary."

The sabre could be of 19th-century Syrian origin.