Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
The deeply stamped circular cartouche seems a convention which runs typical in Algerian context sabres (which is how Briggs. 1965, terms the probable nimshas in his collection then). In accord with the drawings in his article, "European Blades in Tuareg Swords and Daggers", JAAS, Vol. V, #2, 1965, p.37-92......on p.78, he describes two of these 'sabres' as having these as having circular marks containing Arabic characters in illegible combination, but while in this same blade location.....only on one side.
Though he suggests the blades, both with identical three fuller configuration, are either Italian or German and of 16th or 17th c. As one of the blades has ANDREA FERARA, this profoundly suggests Solingen, and likely end of 17th into 18thc. Briggs notes that these markings were probably stamped later, but prior to 'damascening' on the blade.
This further suggests some type of arsenal or acceptance (?) kind of stamp which was apparently placed on these blades (in this blade location) as the blades were received.
In Charles' example (OP) the flared tip blade in my opinion in unlikely to be German, quite likely Italian (as these are comparable to some storta blades I believe) and seems earlier. That suggests this application of these cartouches was in place much earlier than the blades noted in Briggs.
Perhaps it could be some sort of talismanic blessing (?) to the blade, otherwise I would presume the acceptance stamp. In that case there may be some kind of administrative purpose.