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Jon MB 8th September 2017 06:34 PM

Sabre I.D. -Naval? -Diplomatic?
5 Attachment(s)
Hello All,

This is my first post, greetings to you all. I was wondering if you could help me ID this sabre.

A few initial observations: The casting is of high quality. The blade is good steel, has been sanded before I got it, no markings anywhere. Wire bound bone grips. Pommel nut and threaded tang. Chain guard detached.

The suspension rings are designed such that the upper ring is the functional one, the lower for looks only.

I feel this is some sort of dress sabre, mid 19th C.

The laurel and oak leaf designs seem rather French to me, as does the high quality casting. Wild guess: Oversize French made US Naval Midshipman's dirk?

I bought it as I thought it would look nice on the wall. I usually go for 1795-1815 cavalry sabres.

Thanks in advance for any comments that could help with identification.

Jon MB

Robert 9th September 2017 03:16 AM

Jon, I have moved your thread here as I believe you will have a much better chance of obtaining the information you are looking for here than you would in the Ethno forum.


Tim Simmons 9th September 2017 04:52 AM

The leaves on the pummel are very good.

fernando 9th September 2017 03:51 PM

Welcome to the forum, Jon :) .
May i ask ... what makes you think the lower suspension ring is a fantasy ?
And ... can you tell us the length of the blade ?
One more thing: are there no marks at all ?

kronckew 9th September 2017 06:39 PM

doesn't look 'naval' to me. naval/infantry swords usually did not have heavy metal scabbards, cavalry could as the horse usually carried it. blade looks very 1796LC-ish with the hatchet point.

looks like a private purchase officer's cavalry sabre possibly late 18c - early 19c like the dates you mentioned, when such were allowed prior to standardisation. if it's length is under 30 in. it could be a naval officers personal hanger. middies didn't carry swords, even the old ones that might be older than the other commissioned officers that passed their exams. (they might carry a ship's cutlass tho.). are you sure the lower ring isn't just stuck? was there once a ring to attach the loose end of the chain to the pommel? the pommel looks more like it has a keeper and is peened, has it any exposed thread? a photo of it would be cool. shame no other markings...odd there appears to be no wear or oxidation, the ivoryor bone looks aged tho.

Jon MB 9th September 2017 06:55 PM

Hi, thanks for helpful responses.

My comment on the lower suspension ring was only to say that I think it was the main 'load bearer', with the sabre intended to hang vertically, not at 45 degrees, (a-la-Hussard).

The chain anchor point came detached with the chain, it seems (formed as a half link, like those on the chain proper). A previous owner tried to glue it back on.

Overall length: 87 cm (34.3 inches)
Blade: 69 cm (27 inches)

will post a pic of the the pommel nut and thread on tang of sabre.

Jon MB 9th September 2017 07:14 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The sword knot has been added as an experiment, not suited, I know...

Anyway, pic of grip & pommel removed, by unscrewing nut at end of pommel.

Kmaddock 9th September 2017 08:25 PM

To me it looks unusually perfect
I have never seen such an unindented scabard and the blade looks pristine
The brass does not look rubbed at all with the ever so crisp casting
The only part that looks to be aged are the grips. Might it not be what it seems?
I have a good few 200 year old swords and this looks like straight out of the shop to me( bar the grips)

Jon where did you get the sword? Any story



Jon MB 9th September 2017 08:45 PM

I got it on an auction online. Upon first close examination, I initially thought, 'fake or modern production', but then I saw the piece has been heavily cleaned, and reconsidered. The cleaner 'Brasso' appears to have been used quite a bit, lots of residue. Blade had been sanded, but appears carefully made. Some fractures in the scabbard (not shown here, I put it away for now). Some visible patina left in the pic showing the languets closeup. The sellers described it as 'early 19th C. possibly Indian'.

I still recon a mid to late 19thC. dress piece,

But certainly open to all hypotheses.

kronckew 9th September 2017 09:57 PM

as it can be disassembled, might be possible for a jeweler to braze the chain mount back on the pommel, easier if disassembled. glue is a no-no. i worry about threaded tangs tho. at least it's not an acorn nut!

i did manage to google a couple of similar swords, different decorations, owner thought they were english or american, hussar swords, or infantry or a naval cuttoe, they never reached a definite conclusion tho. blade length? at 27 it may be a hanger, naval or otherwise. unlikely to be cavalry tho not impossible.

so, still a puzzle...

Jon MB 10th September 2017 12:34 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Some mid-19th C. US Militia swords for comparison.

Will M 10th September 2017 03:06 PM

Has age and appears British/Scottish(acorns), the snake hook is a British design used as their belt hooks but here for a chain as part of the guard.
Could be for a civilian appointment. The scabbard is also very British.

shayde78 10th September 2017 07:58 PM

Nice piece, Jon. The casting looks crisp and of high quality. I also dig the design features of the hilt.

A question for the group...I have been curious about the use of threaded tangs/pommels on historical blades. I remember reading somewhere that in a renaissance fechtbuch, a scene is described where a combatant "unscrews" his pommel and throws it at his opponent. It also seems weapons from the 18th and 19th centuries have threaded tangs, which is much earlier than I once thought they were used. In my mind, I had presumed a threaded tang indicated a modern reproduction. As that seems to not be the case, can anyone provide more information.

Thanks...and if it is wrong to hijack Jon's thread with this question, let me know, and I'll post this as its own topic.

kronckew 10th September 2017 08:42 PM

1 Attachment(s)
found the below online, looks like the disassembled grip has a correct pommel nut with the tubular extension and hemispherical termination unlike the hex acorn nuts used by the modern cheap repros.

be careful reassembling it, the threads look stripped and may be a bit fragile and also may need the attention of a good restorer.

Jim McDougall 11th September 2017 04:44 AM

British band officers sabres often had full brass scabbards, and were with these kinds of features in early years of 19th to around 1840s it seems. While you would expect some sort of regimental device somewhere, and the ivory grip seems atypical, still it could be such an anomaly.

Since these I believe were private purchase who knows what unit or other but that brass scabbard and the chain guard suggest that possibility to me.

Very attractive piece and would look great in the groupings you note you collect.

kronckew 11th September 2017 06:25 AM

early general's standardised mamaluke hilt sabres also had full brass scabbards, changed to chromed ones late 19c.

i recall from somewhere that some private sword mfg. would leave the area reserved for branch and regimental heraldry empty until an officer purchased the sword and requested the correct badge to be drilled and added, if desired. again, easier as the hilt is dismountable, and not done on the OP's example, as the area is blank and just has the initial background texture.

Jon MB 13th September 2017 04:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Many thanks for all the helpful comments.

The threaded tang and pommel nut had led to me dismissing the Napoleonic era possibility, but my experience thus far has been rather limited, I haven't handled enough variations of these things.

If I collate the comments from Jim McD., Kronckew and Will M, this sabre could be British or Scottish, could date between 1800-1840, and looks like a possible private purchase/ band officer's sabre.

With regards the band officer idea, I had looked at French Tambour-major (drum major) swords that reminded of this piece (see pic. Courtesy of Primardeco Auctions, Toulouse, Fr.)

Will M 14th September 2017 02:54 AM

Band sword is a good possibility. It could be a British Indian sword with the bone grip.
Would have to find a reference or another sword that is identified, since these were not official pattern swords this may be difficult to do.
Regardless of who used it the sword is one of the best looking band type swords I've seen.

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