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Old 28th October 2017, 12:40 PM   #1
Jon MB
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Default Stubby Sabre with blade marks

Hello All,

Hope you are having a good day.

This sabre is a mystery to me...

Overall length: 83cm (32")
Blade: 67 cm (26.5")

Stongly curved blade....

French-style brass hilt stamped '44'

'x' s on blade....

My guesses are usually wrong, but I though maybe boarding cutlass and or a 19th C. depot refurb in some some lonely colonial outpost.
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Old 28th October 2017, 12:41 PM   #2
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more pics..
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Old 28th October 2017, 01:19 PM   #3
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I would add that the grips make me uneasy, have never seen that type before on any military weapon..
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Old 28th October 2017, 01:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon MB
I would add that the grips make me uneasy, have never seen that type before on any military weapon..


I agree Jon, but they are very well made hardwood and seem well intended. That hilt is as you say probably French and of course 19th c. of the forms 1820s+ (I do not have references at hand at moment) and does not go with the blade.
The markings on the blade resemble the 'twig and similar markings from Italian blades, and it seems more a hanger or short saber blade of mid to latter 18th c. These were heavily copied in Germany of course, but in this grouping and multiple configuration it does not seem this is Solingen.

I think you are right, probably a colonial rework in French regions, but more research to find more. Guesses are just a benchmark to continue research, and the cutlass idea is a good one. These kinds of combinations are not unusual to maritime situations, and officers on all manner of private vessels often had weapons put together or commissioned, sometimes in ports of call where artisans used available components to answer their requests.
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Old 28th October 2017, 02:18 PM   #5
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Excellent, thank you for the input, Jim. It seems little used, post refurb.
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Old 28th October 2017, 02:28 PM   #6
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You bet Jon!
Actually in my opinion, these reworked combinations which do seem to have seen some use post refurbishing, are most interesting. Many do not seem to realize that edged weapons often had long working lives even generations after the original components had been produced. This is especially true in remote or colonial locations where virtually everything was recycled. I have seen these kinds of combinations a lot in Mexican context where old elements of various previous types of swords were combined.
One had a briquette grip, a three bar guard and an old Spanish dragoon blade cut down with the 'Spanish motto' still legible.
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Old 28th October 2017, 07:37 PM   #7
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the grip looks like it should be wrapped in something, twisted/braided wire, leather, rayskin, anything.
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Old 28th October 2017, 09:09 PM   #8
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Interesting blade, the grip once had leather but long gone. One bar is missing and where it once joined the guard it has been filed smooth as not to be noticeable. I think the blade may be older than the hilt.
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Old 28th October 2017, 09:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
the grip looks like it should be wrapped in something, twisted/braided wire, leather, rayskin, anything.

Sure thing .
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Old 30th October 2017, 10:19 AM   #10
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Napolionic Helmet Style Pommel... 44 stamp no idea.... x marks no idea ... Wild Guess...see below of that family... This below made by Klingethal...french-cuiriassers-xiii-pattern-sword-with-1815-napoleonic-blade.jpg
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Old 30th October 2017, 05:48 PM   #11
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An interesting refurbished piece indeed! I can't add anything to what the others have already mentioned. There is one thing, though. Are we sure this brass hilt pattern is from a French example? The American patterns from the time of the Mexican War up to the Indian Wars heavily copied the French patterns, m1840 Cavalry sabers, m1860 infantry, m1870, etc, etc. I am no expert on CW types, but I've seem them in catalogs.

If you identified the hilt as being an American pattern, the game is afoot! As you probably know, the Confederacy were non-industrial and during the conflict, were in dire need of weapons, materials, blacksmiths to fashion everything! The 'rebs' made do with what they had, refurbishing old sword parts with other hilts, blades, knuckle bows. One only has to look at so called 'Dog River' swords to see the plethora of odd examples present. Indeed, some of the finest Confederate swords were made by both German and French imports!

So...you might (and I do mean might in small print ) have a Confederate cavalry sword, Blockade Runner's cutlass, etc. Exciting thought, but without much research and a darn big helping of luck, it is just a weak theory...
Mark

Last edited by M ELEY : 31st October 2017 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 30th October 2017, 06:51 PM   #12
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i missed this one at auction today, listed as french cavalry sabre.

very similar to the above, but hilt is more complete with grip wires. as noted the phrygian cap sabres of the french were copied by the USA, and a number were actually imported from france.
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Old 30th October 2017, 10:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
... sabres of the french were copied by the USA, and a number were actually imported from france.

Sure thing !
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Old 31st October 2017, 06:54 PM   #14
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Good point Mark, the Confederates were indeed looking for swords from any source, and I have seen news ads for people to bring in their swords 'for the cause'. They were of course far from industrialized and there were swords produced in farm equipment and tool manufacturers, such as Nashville Plow Works who produced limited numbers of swords.
It has often been held that 'Dog River' swords were essentially Confederate used swords of sundry sources, or 'unknown', however there really was a facility on Dog River which did assemble or furbish swords.

We cannot forget Mexico, who did of course have profound French influence and in mid to third quarter 19th century used hilts of the French style as used by US forces in the M1840 and M1860 hilts. I have a heavy cutlass type sabre similar with the 'M1840' type hilt from Republic of Mexico and so marked on the blade.

The hilt on this example is 'of the form' but does not have the bars as the other, just one as I can see. The blade seems of course 18th c. but these were diffused all over during the American Revolution.

The 44 seems a 'rack number' or inventory mark.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 03:02 PM   #15
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Thanks for your input guys! All very handy comments & further pointers for research.

Any further comments on the blade markings though?

The piece came from Bristol, in the UK. Not sure that much can be inferred from that though...
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Old 2nd November 2017, 03:27 PM   #16
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Why has no one considered the idea that this blade may be of Indian origin?
There are very similar marks and fullering on an Indian straight tulwar in my collection. Granted they're a bit different from the marks shown; but possibly other Indian smiths executed them a little better.
The intent at least seems to be there.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 03:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Why has no one considered the idea that this blade may be of Indian origin.
There are very similar marks and fullering on an Indian straight tulwar in my collection?

Wise words, Rick. I could swear i saw marks of this type in Asian blades; just don't recall where .
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Old 2nd November 2017, 05:31 PM   #18
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Well noted Rick, and actually looking at those distinctive 'twig' or marca mosca type markings, used in these multiple configurations reminded me of European blades, particularly Italian, which have been seen on a number of 'firangi'.

As we dont really know for sure what colonial setting this composite was assembled in, it is hard to say what the source may have been for the blade. What seems somewhat clear is that it is of likely latter 18th century. Meanwhile the hilt is of the type of primarily French style of around 1820s in thier cavalry swords, the distictive pommel is known as the 'phrygian helmet' style in many of the references and was copied by the US in thier M1840 and M1860 patterns of cavalry sabres,

On the example you have posted Rick, those stippled letters are indeed Indian script and denote arsenal markings well known from the Bikaner armoury in Rajasthan. They are indeed mindful of these curious multiple markings in grouping which actually originate from such blade markings uaed early in North Italy, and diffused widely through the Genoan trade into Black Sea regions.
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