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Old 6th May 2020, 05:58 PM   #1
ConfederateCanuck
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Default What is this sword? Possibly British 1800s ...

Hi. I am new to this Forum and am hoping to help my friend identify a sword that he was told was an Austrian Infantry sabre from the mid-1800s.

After trying to do my own online searches, I have been unable to figure out what this sword actually is. From what I have seen online, I get the sense that it is European (Austrian, German, French???) and is likely from the mid-to-late 1800s, possibly into the early 1900s, but I am new to the world of swords (I did recently buy an 1860 Cavalry Sabre from the American Civil War, so I guess I have finally entered into world of sword collecting).

Due to COVID, I have not been able to see my friendís sword in person. He showed it to me via a video chat, and the pictures I am about to display are screenshots from that video. So, the quality of the pictures arenít the greatest, but I can get better pictures later if needed.

The guard of the sword has a distinctive shape, which I hope will be enough for you to pinpoint which model of sword this is. There are no markings anywhere on the blade or the scabbard, other than a ď181Ē stamped on the pommel and the tip of the scabbard. I donít have a good picture of the scabbard, but it is brass and black leather (brass at the hilt, more brass about 10-15 cm further below, plus brass at the tip).

If you need any other information, please ask and Iíll get you answers. As a member of other Forums, I know how helpful everyone can beÖ.so I will thank you in advance for all your help!

Again, apologies for the sub-standard pictures!
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Old 7th May 2020, 09:48 AM   #2
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Very blurry photo's and too much hand, not enough sword. You might be lucky, but it would be better to have clear pic's and taken in the manner of a police ID set. Full face, left profile, right profile etc.... However, I am getting a British vibe from what I can see.
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Old 7th May 2020, 12:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
Very blurry photo's and too much hand, not enough sword. You might be lucky, but it would be better to have clear pic's and taken in the manner of a police ID set. Full face, left profile, right profile etc ...

Amen to that David .
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Old 7th May 2020, 01:16 PM   #4
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I agree the photos are blurry, but the guard is very clear to see. Wouldn't that be the biggest clue?


In the meantime, I will ask for photos. Thanks.
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Old 7th May 2020, 01:29 PM   #5
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What I can say is that this sabre is probably not French, German or Austrian, but perhaps British.
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Old 7th May 2020, 01:47 PM   #6
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Thanks for your opinion. We have two opinions that match (British). I started looking online at British swords from the 1800s and I can definitely see the similarities.

The information from the Forum has already proved useful! Hopefully, we can get this identified...that would be really great. My friend has had this sword for 40 years and he never really was sure of what it was or how to even find out.

He also had a musket, which he was told was from the War of 1812 (the one in North America). Being far more knowledgeable about antique muskets than I am about swords (almost zero knowledge), I was able to almost instantly identify it as an Austrian 1842 Pattern Musket, which most definitely was NOT used in 1812. These items had been passed down several generations through his family, but not the correct facts it seems.

By the way, I am a regular contributor on an American Civil War Forum (though I am a Canadian), so if anyone has questions about weapons from that conflict, message me and I will do my best to give/get you answers.
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Old 7th May 2020, 02:49 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forum, Canuck ... and thank you for your offer concerning Civil War Weaponry info.
Can you show us that musket you are talking about ?
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Old 7th May 2020, 03:19 PM   #8
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Since the opinions are tending to suggest a British origin for the sword, is there any way to change the title of this thread to attract those with British sword expertise?
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Old 7th May 2020, 03:31 PM   #9
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In case it is really an Austrian M 1842 infantry gun it must have a percussion lock with the AUGUSTIN system.
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Old 7th May 2020, 04:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
In case it is really an Austrian M 1842 infantry gun it must have a percussion lock with the AUGUSTIN system.


Many of those were later converted to percussion. His is percussion. But whether it was converted to percussion or made in percussion, I can't be certain...I need to learn more. His musket was made in 1851, so if you have any additional information to share based on that date, that would be appreciated. Any links to Austrian musket websites also appreciated.
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Old 7th May 2020, 04:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfederateCanuck
Since the opinions are tending to suggest a British origin for the sword, is there any way to change the title of this thread to attract those with British sword expertise?

Tell us the new title you wish to change to; we shall see to that.
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Old 7th May 2020, 04:49 PM   #12
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The sword looks very similar to British 1821 Pattern swords. Does that help at all?
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Old 7th May 2020, 05:42 PM   #13
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I agree with the consensus here, pretty likely British, and that brass hilt conforms to various British patterns of mid 19th c. typically infantry, and other units officers swords . It is heartening to see photography that makes my own look almost discernible .......but great post!
It's good to have a Civil War buff around, eh? (my daughter is in Upper State Michigan yooper land).
Thank you for the offers on input on that, thats what its all about here, sharing expertise!
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Old 7th May 2020, 05:52 PM   #14
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Re the 1842 Austrian musket, it looks like this:
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Old 8th May 2020, 06:44 AM   #15
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In its better days this was a M 1842 Austrian Infantry gun. Then in the 1870s, when many European governments sold their surplus muzzleloader arms to mostly Belgium dealers and gunmakers in order to gain money for a new series of urgently needed breechloader weapons, its Augustin system was replaced by a normal percussion system with a French cock. These converted guns then have been sold to the colonies and third-world-countries around the globe - what was a really big deal at that time.
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Old 8th May 2020, 01:06 PM   #16
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The 1842 muskets that were sold to the North and South during the American Civil War were converted to percussion before entering service. In 1861 whe the war started, both sides purchased whatever weapons were available on the market, even substandard junk, which was to be refurbished before entering service.


However, as much as I like talking about muskets, this thread is digressing away from swords.
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Old 8th May 2020, 01:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Tell us the new title you wish to change to; we shall see to that.



It would be appreciated if the thread title could be changed to "What is this sword? Possibly British 1800s" or whatever else you might recommend would attract the right kind of experts to the thread.

Thanks.
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Old 8th May 2020, 01:16 PM   #18
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Hi Canuck
welcome to the forum
I would go with it being a Royal House Guards type sword as being a possible match
is the blade straight and does it have a bulbus bit at the top (google pipeback sword and you will see what i am referring to)
regards

Ken
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Old 8th May 2020, 05:22 PM   #19
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Welcome aboard

This appears to be a late 19th century Massachusetts Ancient&Honorable Artillery sword. Some were marked to Allien&Co. of New York. Others by Ames. No doubt, there were likely other groups buying these. These appear in the Ames catalog reprint.

There are multiple threads elsewhere.

A book regarding the society

https://books.google.com/books?id=q5hoNuEJPMoC

This is the Americanized offshoot going back to colonial years and borne out of the English artillery.

Cheers
GC

images with blue background courtesy of Shiloh Relics and a past sale.
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Old 8th May 2020, 06:27 PM   #20
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Wow!! Incredible! I actually was starting to think it would be unlikely we'd ever find out what it was. As I searched online, it became obvious to me how many similar looking swords exists, so many variations on a theme.

I had hoped the guard was distinctive enough, even with the poor quality photos.

Thank you. I will let my friend know. And now, with the sword name/manufacturer in hand, I'll do a bit more research online and see what else I can find out about it (e.g. the 181 stamp...is that an inspector's marking?) I'll save any further questions until I have done my "homework" on this.


Unbelievable.....which begs the question, how is it that you know about these swords?
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Old 8th May 2020, 06:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfederateCanuck
....which begs the question, how is it that you know about these swords? ...

Glen knows a lot ... about a lot of swords ...
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Old 8th May 2020, 06:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfederateCanuck
Wow!! Incredible! I actually was starting to think it would be unlikely we'd ever find out what it was. As I searched online, it became obvious to me how many similar looking swords exists, so many variations on a theme.

I had hoped the guard was distinctive enough, even with the poor quality photos.

Thank you. I will let my friend know. And now, with the sword name/manufacturer in hand, I'll do a bit more research online and see what else I can find out about it (e.g. the 181 stamp...is that an inspector's marking?) I'll save any further questions until I have done my "homework" on this.


Unbelievable.....which begs the question, how is it that you know about these swords?



The 181 most likely a rack number. As to how I spotted it, that goes back to about 2006 and a somewhat different and much older sword. Once IDed, it has stuck in my mind ever since.

The US swords were indeed a nod to British fashion but even this pattern was superseded a few decades later after WWI. That might explain how these do turn up on the market and no longer "on the rack" (see b&w photo from the book).

I have been more or less retired since 2004 and have spent much of my time looking at and collecting swords.

Cheers
GC
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Old 8th May 2020, 07:48 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ConfederateCanuck
Wow!! Incredible! I actually was starting to think it would be unlikely we'd ever find out what it was. As I searched online, it became obvious to me how many similar looking swords exists, so many variations on a theme.

I had hoped the guard was distinctive enough, even with the poor quality photos.

Thank you. I will let my friend know. And now, with the sword name/manufacturer in hand, I'll do a bit more research online and see what else I can find out about it (e.g. the 181 stamp...is that an inspector's marking?) I'll save any further questions until I have done my "homework" on this.


Unbelievable.....which begs the question, how is it that you know about these swords?



I cannot resist noting, to that question, Glen knows more about American swords, and by virtue of that most British as well, than most people I have known. He has always been the 'go to' guy here on these, and it does not surprise me he 'nailed' this mystery !
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Old 8th May 2020, 08:51 PM   #24
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There are guys like Glen on the American Civil War Forum where I usually spend my time. I do my part to help others on that Forum, but without these super-knowledgeable experts/collectors, the state of knowledge would be greatly diminished. My thanks again to everyone who offered help in solving this.....and I assure you, that if I post pictures of anything that I own, they will be high resolution, and posed with a bit of flair....nothing like a super-sexy photo of your favorite antique!


And before I lose everyone's attention, let me ask....would Glen or anyone else be the "go to" guy to find out who the inspectors marks on my American 1860 Cavalry Sword belong to? If I get a positive response, I will be sure to start posing my sword for pictures that exude flair/sexiness and then post them under a separate thread title (I'll post the thread link/title here for anyone that cares to follow it).
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Old 8th May 2020, 10:44 PM   #25
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I would rather say I know as much as some, regarding some topics but learning all the time. One might say I have a bachelor of the arts in spathology, a masters degree in US sword evolution and forever working on a phd dissertation for eaglehead pommel swords. Heck, I only just recently ordered a copy of Wagner's Cut&Thrust Weapons. That puts me only about 55 years behind the curve


ACW inspector names and marks are something I learned simply by running searches and then finally ordering the Hickox guide and Hamilton's Ames history. Most of the rest can be found on Mike McWatters good pages that have been around for about twenty years .

http://www.angelfire.com/wa/swordco...arks/page1.html
http://www.angelfire.com/wa/swordco...inspectors.html

http://www.angelfire.com/wa/swordcollector/

The more we put into it, the more we get out of it. The books are big reinforcements. No one knows everything and perhaps the reason I don't publish is to not simply stand on the shoulders of giants. I'm just a Rolodex of flash cards.

For a for instance, I lack the French books regarding, in particular, poincons. Always defer to refer.

Cheers
Thank you for the compliments
GC
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