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Old 11th December 2017, 03:21 AM   #1
Cathey
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Default Folding Guard or Attack Hilt Sword

Hi Guys

I am attempting to put together an article on this unusual pattern for our local collecting newsletter and I am having difficulty finding out much to work with.

The majority of the examples I have found are French, although a friend of mine has a fabulous blue and gilt example that appears to be English. Mine posted here is a typically French one that were used by both the navy and mounted infantry or cavalry.

Any information and or additional examples will be most welcome. The references I have found thus far are:
May and Annis Swords for Sea Service Plate 97 and referenced on Pages 143-144
LHOSTE Jean, & RESEK Patrick LES SABRES PORTÉS PAR L'ARMÉE FRANÇAISE. Pp22, 41, 261-271, 301
Sim Comfort’s book Naval Swords and Dirks Page 380-381
SOUTHWICK Leslie The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons Pp 98 No 254

Officer’s Mounted Folding Guard Sabre
Nationality: French
Date: Circa 1780 Described as Pre-revolutionary period
Maker/Retailer: n/a
Overall Length: 33” (84 cm)
Blade length: 27.3/4” (70.5 cm)
Blade widest point: 1 3/8” (3.4 cm)
Hilt widest point: 4 7/8” (12.4 cm)
Inside grip length: 4 ¼” (10.7 cm)
Marks, etc.: n/a

Description
French Officer’s Mounted Folding Guard Sabre (Possibly Naval).
These swords were prominently used by the French Infantry, but also by the French Navy in the French revolution-Napoleonic era. Brass folding hilt with a steel button mechanism. The folding guard moves smooth & the mechanism perfect. Backstrap in brass, as is the knuckle guard & pommel. Grip bound in tight twisted brass wire & in 100% perfect condition. The hilt, backstrap & wire binding are just about pristine perfect, save for a tiny hairline crack in the top of the guard, hardly noticable the crack not passing all the way through the brass. A diamond shaped pommel also in brass. The blade has a wide shallow fuller for most of the blades length as well as a narrow fuller running along the back of the blade. No markings or engravings. No scabbard.


Cheers Cathey and Rex
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Old 11th December 2017, 05:33 PM   #2
fernando
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Nice sword Cathey,
Well known by its French name SABRE A GARDE TOURNANTE, a term with which you may find several examples an data in the internet. You may even find websites assuring that this model is only French; yet what may only be French is a determined model variation, as the folding system may be found elsewhere, as also possibly the one of your friend.
I once had some pictures of these swords sent from a local collector, when about to buy him some pieces.
I will here upload some of those pictures; not good ones, as the fellow was a lousy photographer; but this is to confirm that a few variants existed, namely the French lion head, which several sources name as Volunteer Officer version (#1+2+3), the Portuguese Navy model, with a finger guard (#4+5+6), and even the Walloon hilt type (#6+8).
Other members will certainly give you better info on this subject.


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Old 11th December 2017, 11:35 PM   #3
Madnumforce
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It can also be described as a "petit Montmorency" (especially since it has a Montemorency blade), and can be refered to as "sabre de mineur", "sabre de Volontaire", "sabre de Garde Nationale", etc... a slew of such sabers has been produced around the revolutionary period, without any specific pattern but a limited set of types and designs, mostly easy to manufacture (the hilt of this one is just pieces of sheet metal shaped only through cutting, brazing, drilling and filing, so techniques that only require very minimal tooling and formation). Most of the time they aren't marked, and they can't be positively attributed to any specific corps or unit, unless specifically stated on the blade, and all the above mentioned terminology is basically arbitrary and purely conventional, as far as I know. Not sure about "gardes tournantes" being such a great design feature, and by 1800 the trend had significantly slowed down if not stopped, probably for a reason, but they are cool looking.
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Old 13th December 2017, 08:11 PM   #4
M ELEY
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Old 26th December 2017, 05:00 PM   #5
fernando
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Hello Cathey. I notice that you haven't given us any feedback on comments posted so far; were they useful ?
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Old 26th December 2017, 09:05 PM   #6
Les-M
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Default Folding Guard Sword

Hi Guys

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner, but I don't spend as much time on the forums as I should. Rex generally looks ever day (being retired) unlike me who is still working full time to pay for swords. Thank you so much for the information it is certainly extremely helpful.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 26th December 2017, 10:47 PM   #7
Cathey
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Default Folding Guard Swords

Hi Guys

My apologies for not getting back to this post. Yes the information is definitely helpful and much appreciated. I have been experiencing difficulties posting replies, so today I am trying another browser.

Cheers Cathey
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