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Old 3rd June 2020, 09:00 PM   #1
efrahjalt
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Default Help With Sword Blade ID

Hi all,

I posted this elsewhere but it was recommended to me that I post this question here because of the expertise of this forum's members. A while back, a friend of mine picked up a couple of swords from a European antique dealer. Both swords were described as 19th century reproductions. I recently had a chance to have a look at them and handle them. I have developed some of my own ideas which I will share, and which I would love some addition input on as both he and I are interested to know more about these if there is anything that can be discovered. luckily he agreed to let me share some pictures and details.

I'll start with the larger of the two. Here are a few stats:
Weight: 1075g (2lbs 6oz)
Total length: 1070mm (42.125in)
Blade length: 908mm (35.75in)
POB (from guard): 117mm (4.625in)

This first thing that I noticed about this blade is that it felt good in the hand. Nice and lively with a good shape and non-linear distal taper. The blade seems to be properly heat treated just based on a quick flex test (risky I know). It appears to be older than the fittings and has some notches in the edge that also have the same patina and wear. From my observations I would feel quite comfortable saying that this is a real sword blade that has been repurposed for a display piece. Feel free to correct me here if I have missed something. The other part of this riddle that I would love some input on is, if this is a real blade, what type of sword did it come from? To me it looks similar to some of the blades I have seen on 17th century walloons. Perhaps 17th century blades may have been old enough that they were available for cheap since they were out of date but not so old that they were valuable antiques. Completely guessing here. Very open to thoughts and opinions on this.

I should also mention that near the guard there is a small mark stamped in each side of the blade. I have been trying to track down a copy of European Makers of Edged Weapons, Their Marks, but I have not been able to land one yet. I wonder if this mark could be tracked down. Anyone recognize it?

Moving to the hilt of the large blade I found it odd that the pommel appears to be artificially aged. It appears that someone has struck the corners of the pommel with a hammer, and you can even see the same patterns in some of the marks as if there was a blemish on the hammer face that was transferred to the pommel in a couple different places. There is also a coating of some kind on the fittings that makes it appear as if it was gilded at one point. This distressing and patina made me scratch my head a little. Were the Victorian era reproducers artificially distressing their pieces in this way, or could this be a more modern fake (hilt only) trying to be a Victorian era reproduction?

Now on to the little guy. Here are a few stats:
Weight: 765g (1lb 10-3/4oz
Total length: 911mm (35.875in)
Blade length: 781mm (30.75in)
POB (from guard): 120mm (4.75in)

Like the other sword, the blade on this one also feels right, and definitely looks older than the hilt and fittings. There are corrosion pits in the blade surface that clearly show grain (see pictures) indicative of steel with fibrous slag inclusions potentially derived from the bloomery smelting process. There are of course other production techniques that would show similar stranding. It also appears to be heat treated again based on the risky flex test. I don't want to jump to conclusions on this one, but I feel it has the potential of being a blade from a much older sword. At the same time, it also has the potential to be a well balanced fake pounded out of wrought iron but the character of the corrosion pits and the fact that it seems to be heat treated steers me away from this idea. There is a mark on this blade too. Just on one side. I found an 18th century Scottish Sgian Achles (see picture), which has an 'A' mark very similar to the mark on the smaller of the two blades. I'm not saying they are connected in any way, but at least it is an example of a very similar makers mark.

I have less issues with the antiquing on the hilt of this one. It actually seems to be a rather nicely done hilt.

Please have a look, and feel free to pick my very basic analysis apart. I'm just hoping to learn a few things here, and gain a better idea of what these two could be to share with my friend. Thanks in advance.
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Old 4th June 2020, 12:14 PM   #2
Norman McCormick
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Hi,
This thread might be of interest http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...highlight=17thc
I bought this sword with the understanding that in all probability it was a Victorian copy but always there is the wee hope that it may be period if not in entirety then maybe some elements within its construction. This is obviously not within my area of knowledge but hopefully those in the know will chime in sooner or later.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 4th June 2020, 12:58 PM   #3
kronckew
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The two notches on the longer one look the same, we discussed tip notching here once before, a number of blades, like that one were deliberately notched. I recall one suggestion was that a horseman might do it to enable him to hook something on the ground. I gather the majority of 'Victorian' repros were rather heavy as that's what they thought, incorrectly, they should be like. Your weights are more in keeping with real ones. If fakes, could be rather good ones.
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Old 5th June 2020, 06:16 PM   #4
efrahjalt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
The two notches on the longer one look the same, we discussed tip notching here once before, a number of blades, like that one were deliberately notched. I recall one suggestion was that a horseman might do it to enable him to hook something on the ground. I gather the majority of 'Victorian' repros were rather heavy as that's what they thought, incorrectly, they should be like. Your weights are more in keeping with real ones. If fakes, could be rather good ones.

That's very interesting. I've not heard of that before. Can you point me to the thread you are referring to? I'd like to read some more on the topic.

Norman, thanks for pointing me to that post. It was a very interesting read, and the blade is a beauty!

I have attached a picture of a North Italian sword from the late 15th century that is listed in The Sword Form and Thought (Cat. 17). This sword was mentioned in an interview with Peter Johnson and I was struck by the similarities (no fuller, same guard type, same grip style, same pommel). Yet another book that I really need to get my hands on. I'd love to see more pictures of this very similar sword.
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Old 6th June 2020, 06:49 AM   #5
kronckew
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Old 6th June 2020, 08:37 AM   #6
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There is an explanation for these notches in the book "Les Sabres portés par l'Armée Francaise", by Jean Lhoste et Patrick Resek:
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Old 6th June 2020, 09:46 AM   #7
kronckew
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Translation:

===============================
(English)
Sometimes, near the tip and on the back of the blade, there is a small notch (fig. 15). This voluntary notch is especially present on the sabres of Hussars or Dragons whose courage was joined to a certain efficiency. Indeed, the notch allows the blade of the sabre to transform into a small harpoon by removing the sabre from the wound, the small harpoon aggravated the tears in the deep tissues ... These riders were not tender! Another hypothesis is as follows: the small harpoon could be used to hook the opposing rider and thus unseat him ...

(Deutsch)
Manchmal befindet sich in der Nähe der Spitze und auf der Rückseite der Klinge eine kleine Kerbe (Abb. 15). Diese freiwillige Kerbe ist besonders bei den Säbeln von Husaren oder Drachen vorhanden, deren Mut mit einer gewissen Effizienz verbunden war. In der Tat ermöglicht die Kerbe, dass sich die Säbelklinge in eine kleine Harpune verwandelt, indem der Säbel aus der Wunde entfernt wird. Die kleine Harpune verschlimmerte die Tränen in den tiefen Geweben ... Diese Reiter waren nicht zart! Eine andere Hypothese lautet wie folgt: Die kleine Harpune könnte verwendet werden, um den gegnerischen Reiter aufzuhängen und ihn so abzusetzen ...


===============================

My Comment:
I doubt that anyone would want to intentionally make it MORE difficult to extract their blade, it's hard enough to remove if you thrust into your opponent during a charge as it is. I suspect if it had the effect proposed, you'd have to let go and find another sword. In a more stationary melee you don't want to have your blade stay trapped for any amount of time as another opponent can take advantage of your inactivity, or even the guy with your blade in him could give you a parting gift.

I'd suspect, never having tried it tho, it would be more useful to use it to pick up a discarded but intact lance if you lost yours, by hooking the lanyard or pennant. A lance is better if you are going to charge again, the sword /sabre is probably better in the more chaotic melee.

Last edited by kronckew : 6th June 2020 at 09:57 AM.
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