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Old 10th April 2018, 07:55 PM   #1
GrozaB
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Default Dutch(?) sword for ID

Can someone help me ID this sword? Hilt looks like Dutch 1775 Hanger with one bar removed, but blade is 30" straight double edged. Over the years I saw at least few swords absolutely similar to this one - with same blade and removed guard bar... What can it be?
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Old 11th April 2018, 11:35 AM   #2
fernando
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A good question, for which some member hopefully has an answer .
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Old 12th April 2018, 09:07 PM   #3
M ELEY
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Hmmm. That one is a curiosity. You say you've seen others with a straight 'spined' blade? The hilt is as you pointed out, Dutch, with there being two patterns of similarity from this time period (1770-1795-ish), the distinguishing characteristic being the knucklebow 'nut' on the side, backstrap brass with leather single wrap grip and birdhead style with capstan. These are the 'Marine sabal' or Dutch marine swords. I've only seen them with curved, single edged blades. So, here we go with theories...

#1-It could be a one-off that was assembled as an honest weapon, but one of a kind. Dutch naval swords made their way around and it could have been refitted.

#2-It could have been a refit for a Dutch privateer. After all, it is at least partly a naval piece. Many naval swords of the era ended up (after their period of use was ending) going to merchant ships for protection from pirates/natives in hostile ports, etc. The ole m1804 British figure of 8 cutlass has a hundred variations used by privateers during the War of 1812. The Dutch had privateers during this period.

#3- The biggest stretch. In Gilkerson's 'Boarders Away', he posted a very popular (and supported) theory the the m1790 Dutch marine sabal was adapted by the newly formed U.S. Marines in the last decade of the 18th century. Experts point out that most Dutch specimens are heavily marked, stamped and otherwise branded as Dutch, with rack and troop numbers, manufacturing symbols. Many Dutch swords found on this side of the pond are completely unmarked, even lacking an export number. These are theorized to be American specimens. I also believe there is evidence of said swords being purchased and shipped to the U.S. at that time.

BUT...they still had the typical curved saber blades. One could extrapolate that perhaps a small batch of these, not in marine service, could have been refitted by American privateers during the War of 1812 to have such a blade as yours. There were quite a few of these legal pirates sailing about (see my favorite, Otway Burns). All of this is just conjecture, unfortunately, without more proof.

Anyone else out there got one like this? If we could identify the origin of the blade, it might shed a clue.

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Old 12th April 2018, 09:13 PM   #4
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Old 12th April 2018, 09:20 PM   #5
GrozaB
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Interesting thing - yesterday I had chance to examine two dutch 1775 cutlasses - one is dutch marked and another one is unmarked. Hilt looks very similar, but only on photos. In hand it is completely different story - grip of Dutch 1775 is bit longer, ticker, guard bars also ticker. Grip wrap is regular leather, not sharkskin like on this one. Honestly - have no clue now...
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Old 13th April 2018, 02:21 AM   #6
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Hi GrozaB,

I think yours is the earlier pattern hilt, which did in fact have shark or fishskin (?) while my pattern (m1790) was a slightly smaller hilt with leather.

I had a question. Is the straight blade on yours loose? Where it is peened at the capstan, where its hammered, is the patina matching? Also, where the guard bar is removed, hard to tell from pic. Does it's removal appear contemporary with the rest of the guard? (does the patina match roughly?)
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Old 13th April 2018, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Hi GrozaB,

I think yours is the earlier pattern hilt, which did in fact have shark or fishskin (?) while my pattern (m1790) was a slightly smaller hilt with leather.

I had a question. Is the straight blade on yours loose? Where it is peened at the capstan, where its hammered, is the patina matching? Also, where the guard bar is removed, hard to tell from pic. Does it's removal appear contemporary with the rest of the guard? (does the patina match roughly?)


The blade is rock solid, patina matching, so I don't blade was remounted in last 200 years or so. Same patina on the remaining of guard bar - it definitely was removed very long time ago.
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Old 14th April 2018, 04:20 AM   #8
M ELEY
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Fascinating! It could be a pirate-

Again, be it that the hilt was for a marine sword, there is that possibility. Unfortunately, without more existing examples or some solid evidence, just conjecture. Still a nice piece!
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Old 14th April 2018, 03:29 PM   #9
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I'm thinking it is probably from one of small German states, it was over hundred of them
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Old 15th April 2018, 03:32 AM   #10
M ELEY
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That is a possibility as well. Infantry units and naval carried similar weapons. The straight blades were found on both. The Dutch obviously were exporting the pattern and as you said, the German republic was widespread. Still, I would have expected an export mark or unit mark on an imported German piece-
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