Can anyone identify this pirate cross antique?

Hi. My friend showed me this “pirate cross” that he say’s his grandfather gave to his father. Can anyone identify it? Ever seen anything like it?

The weird thing is that it has a skull and cross bones and some swords on it. Is that very common?

The bottom appears to have been broken off so it may have been attached to something. His family name is Leblanc and he says he heard a family story that the Leblanc’s were run out of France for being pirates.

Any ideas? Where and when it was made?

Just curious.



Noone?? Not a soul has any idea?

Any suggestions where I could post and someone would know?

I will grant that the sword looks like a naval cutlass (although one from the nineteenth century) and that the object crossing the sword looks (to my aging eyes on my imperfect monitor) like a cat 'o nine tails. On the other hand, the sword could have been simply a symbol of Roman authority (as rendered by someone who had no grasp of the history of swords) and the “cat” a symbol of the scourging of Jesus.

I would tend to doubt a pirate connection.

I would have guessed that the skull and bones were a reference to the hill of Golgotha (“place of the skull”) where the crucufixion took place. There are quite a few symbols on the cross, itself, (flowers? crowns?) that have no “pirate” association of which I am aware. (The symbols above and below the skull do not look like anchors, to me, depite the bowed crosspieces.)

I agree that it was probably broken off some larger base. Do the vase and ewer atop the arms of the cross each have a place into which a candle could be inserted? That would indicate that it was originally free-standing.

Is there any lettering (aside from I.N.R.I.) on it anywhere?

I can’t figure out a “pirate” association (and the manner of the sword makes me think it was created long after pirates were “romantic” figures in the Caribbean–and after they had been pretty much exterminated).

In addition to tom’s excellent reply, you might want to email Antiquarian for some insight as well.

the “pirate symbol” resembles the Vatican symbol on the Vatican Flag. I have seen similar symbols where the handle of the sword is enlarged and looks like a capital “P”, which was an early Christian Symbol (pre-Constantine).

The Vatican Flag is the Papal Triple Crown above the “keys of St. Peter.” The image on ready29003’s crucifix is pretty clearly a skull and crossed bones.

The church symbol with the “large P” is probably the Chi Rho, ([symbol]C R[/symbol]) which is made by combining the first two letters of the word Christos ([symbol]Cristos[/symbol]) or Christ. (Using the first two letters or the first two and final letters of names and words was an ancient method of abbreviation.) The Greek rho looks like the Latin “p”.

I’ve got a similar one made out of cheap white metal, bought it in Russia, doesn’t have the sword but has the skull at the base, look to the Orthodox church in your search for an explanation of the symbols.

The first X, is a cat of nine tails used to scourge Christ. The sword is either a symbol of Roman authority or the ‘spear’ which pierced Christ’s side.

(The famous icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help depicts angels carring the cat and spear and cross as a vision of the future passion of the Christ child.)

The skull and bones represents Golgatha or Skull place where Jesus was crucified. I’ve seen other crucifixes with a skull and bones at the base for the same reason.

This is the first cross I’ve seen with all these symbols on it at once.

Let me venture a guess about the objects on the top of the cross: the spices and ointment for burial.

Sorry, but there’s noting pirate-y about it.


And to answer your next question, “I’m nailed right in.”