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Old 4th November 2010, 04:25 PM   #1
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Default A Portuguese officer sword

An officer ceremony sword from the period of Queen Dona Maria I (last quarter 18th century).
Ivory grip, made of one piece, with groove and pearled efects.
Sivel hilt and pommel, with some hand engraved florals, bearing the Portuguese silver hallmarks from the period, namely that of the essayer (Joćo Coelho Sampaio, registered in Oporto 1768-1792), that of the silver smith (Francisco da Costa, registered in Braga 1772) and the traditional "bichinha" (little worm), a tiny zigzag material extraction used for the silver test.
Brown leather scabbard, in a satisfactory condition, with repousse and hand engraved silver mounts.
Sabre blade length 65,5cms (25 3/4"), with martial engravings inlaid with gold and blue; most probably Solingen work.
Not so easy to find Portuguese items, specially in such rather reasonable condition ... i would say.
I will be thankful for your coments.

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Last edited by fernando : 5th November 2010 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Hallmarks correction
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Old 7th November 2010, 11:52 AM   #2
Norman McCormick
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Hi Fernando,
A lovely sword and happily still united with its scabbard. The hilt shape looks quite typical of the 2nd half of the 18thC, reminiscent of quality hunting and military style hangers and of the fluting on some spadroon hilts of the period. The blueing looks a bit different from what I'm used to more like heat blueing than chemically induced, might be the photos giving that impression though. Nice for you to have a piece with definite home-grown provenance I would like some 17th/18thC Scottish pieces but the prices . If your sword ever has the desire to travel I can thoroughly recommend a nice wee place in Scotland that welcomes Portuguese emigres.
My Regards,
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Old 7th November 2010, 12:40 PM   #3
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Thank you so much Norman, for both appreciation of the sword and for the warm offer for Scot refuge .
I hesitate to interpreter your sentence on the blueing; are you more used to heat or chemical ?
I don't think that, in this case, pictures are eluding. Anyway i have made a couple more, one of them enhanced by the photo program "corrector".

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Old 14th November 2010, 07:04 PM   #4
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Default bichinha / bluing

Bravo, muito bem!
And to think that you found this prize upon return from an already successful hunt.

Good to see an example of a silver assay "worm" on a Portuguese item. I've encountered it for years on the hilt and scabbard fittings of high quality Ottoman swords and daggers, a similar concept and about the same length. In the case of Turkish work, the worm is accompanied by a hallmark based on the tughra or monogram of the reigning sultan.

I am puzzled and amazed at the area of bluing at the forte of your sword. It has a rainbow hue that seems rather unique in my experience. Typically the color is the very deep iridescent blue, often taking a purplish tinge. Am wondering if the blade was made in Solingen but the decoration might have been applied in Portugal.

In any case, this is a beautiful piece and you are so fortunate in that the leather scabbard is in fine condition -- usually this is the first area to deteriorate or fall apart.
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