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Old 13th December 2019, 05:54 PM   #1
kronckew's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
Posts: 3,346
Default 1804 version spectacle or 'Trafalgar' Cutlass

Just got back from a local auction where i picked up this 'sword' for almost nothing. Listed as a 'crude sword'. General household sale, nobody else bid.

Auctioneer told me it came from a local attic where it's been hiding for at least 40 years and more since the current home owner bough the place & just found it during a recent remodelling. Auctioneer had no idea what it was. He didn't see any markings under the paint. I told him after I'd paid for it what it really was.

Anyhow, took me a minute a few days back to figure out what it really was when I first saw the thumbnail catalogue picture which was a lot smaller than the online one below, the orange guard and small size of the picture threw me off till I enlarged it. Orange paint appears to be primer, rest of sword is japanned in black which is flaking off, so I'm guessing a past owner intended to repaint it. Will clean and repaint it myself in a bit. Bit of rust, a few tiny blade edge nicks, still quite sharp.

Found a suspicious area & rubbed some of the lacquer & found an Ordinance broad arrow mark, doubled with the second pointing at the first, indicating it was sold 'out of service' and surplus, probably later when the newer versions were issued. The 'spectacle' guards were used well before 1804 in the murky past when Captains bought their own ones for the ship, the older ones had basicly a round iron grip, more like a section of pipe without any chequering or grooving. the 1804 'Trafalgar' version added the grooved textured cast iron grip. Contrary to the name, there were likely not issued to Nelson's fleet in any numbers as they were too new. they were also replaced with a more 'modern' bowl guard not too many years later, also with a slightly curved blade. The RN reverted back to a straight blade later tho.I note that the Ordinance supply people, being Army, thought ALL swords should have a slot for a sword knot, so they provided one near the grip end, even tho the RN never asked for the slot or issued them with sword knots and never used them if they were used to fight with. Mostly stored on board without scabbards and in racks which could be unlocked when going to battle stations to be more readily available if needed.
Will take some better photos over the weekend.
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