After the breakup of the Aachen Case in the mid-18th century, the last blade of the set was the only one to travel east to the German states rather than west to France. It was purchased by the Graf von Ansberg, a noted collector of fine steel and weapons, and added to his magnificent collection in 1785. Six months later, the Graf, the Gräfin, their seven children, and all the members of their household staff were dead, having fallen victim to a particularly virulent form of scarlet fever that had swept through the household.
To cover outstandind debts, the collection was purchased by Rudolf Freihold of Stuttgart. Freihold, who lived in Berlin and left his business to subordinates, soon grew frustrated with his inability to sell the blade. The Prince of Lüneswick purchased the dagger in 1786; it was returned to Freihold’s shop at the former’s death from smallpox 18 months later. The next sale, to the Archbishop of Tainz, was cut short by the Plague of Tainz. That outbreak of typhus caused the deaths of over 5000 people in Tainz, including the archbishop. The dagger was once again returned to Freihold.
Rudolf Freihold was a shrewd businessman, and kept trying to sell the blade even as his own staff in Stuttgart was constantly falling ill. Attempted or aborted sales from 1789 include:
-The Lord Mayor of Bad Kesel, who died of dengue in 1790.
-The Bishop of Herburg, who died of stomach cancer in 1791.
-Gräfin Elizabeth of Rhineholdt, who perished of puerperal fever in 1792.
-General Herrmann von Glaintz, whose death in 1793 cost Prussia its victory at the Battle of Dordrecht.
In 1797, frustrated at his inability to sell the dagger, which he had taken to calling der Schüttelfroster (“the Ague-causer”), Freihold donated it to the personal collection of Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg. The Duke died within the year, but the blade remained in the treasury, dutifully enumerated each time an inventory was taken. The royal inventories correspond with outbreaks of cholera in 1866 and 1881, and smallpox in 1870.