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Old 24th September 2021, 10:17 PM   #1
awdaniec666
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Question A saber of unknown origin and age

Hello there,

I would like to ask for advice when it comes to this saber I bought today at a Polish online auction. My knowledge about sabers from after 1800 ist very sparse, but nevertheless I was interested in that sabers blade and so I bought it.
The auction description has been "An officers saber from before world war I".
And that was it, nothing more. The scabbard looks very funny to me and somehow not matching the weapon, but that i secondary for me.
There is a stamp on the knuckle-bow: "MORSDD*C*" or "MORSUD*C*", I may be wrong.
Something shall be 95 cm long here, the seller didnt specify if it is with or without scabbard, just the blade (I doubt it) or whatever.

I attach all photographs from the auction and wait for the arrival now.
I also hope the image resolution wont be awful on your display, if so, apologies!
Hope you can help and thanks a lot in advance.
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Last edited by awdaniec666; 24th September 2021 at 10:24 PM. Reason: added image of lion head from above
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Old 29th September 2021, 07:15 PM   #2
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A quick update what I have found so far. Probably obvious to some of you:

- Blade style is called "pipe-back". A known maker has been Prosser located in London, early 18th century. Such blades were introduced in 1822 as regular pattern to the british army (infantry)
- Hilt: Most ugly, yet still interesting, lion head I have encountered so far. I still dont know anything about that makers mark.

Probably some Prussian copy of a british saber from the 1830īs???
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Old 29th September 2021, 08:41 PM   #3
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I can't identify it but here are som observations that might help.

Pipe back blades were also used by other European countries, eg. the Prussians in the 1879 redesign of the M1852 Cavalry sabre. But the pipe back blade design originated in the middle east and was imported into Britain following the Egyptian campaign of the Napoleonic wars. It occurs on a few of the unofficial infantry sabres that proliferated prior to the adoption of the 1803 pattern.

Pipe back blades were common in the Ottoman empire but I agree the hilt styling looks very European.

British 3 bar hilts also had a smaller D ring on the thumb side which yours lacks.

The raised yelmen on the false edge is particularly long on your example, that may be a clue.

I have seen that 'ugly lion' referred to as a dogs head as lions weren't the only animal used for pommel decoration.

I'd agree that the scabbard is not the original one for that blade.

Robert
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Old 29th September 2021, 08:47 PM   #4
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Just remembered that the officers model of the 1821 Light Cavalry pattern had a pipe back blade (troopers model had a fuller) and a 3 bar hilt, this hilt doesn't really fit the pattern but officers were known to deviate from it to suit their own taste so that would be where I would start looking.

What is the blade length, Infantry swords were around 31 - 32" while cavalry were 33 - 35" (in general of course individual officers still broke those rules).

Robert
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Old 29th September 2021, 09:17 PM   #5
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Hi Robert,
Sorry to not have come in sooner. Im a bit surprised nobody has responded, but you have moved along pretty well with the research you've done.
The lion head was used on Continental swords as well, especially in Holland, which I thought this might be.
The flowing mane of course supports that it is a lion, not dog.

The three bar hilt was of course also quite well known on the Continent.
With the cartouche with name imbedded in the hilt, this is in my thought a very French affectation so need to look more into this.

Infantry did not carry swords except officers and sometimes the flank companies in some degree. Cavalry blades were typically 35-36" with the shorter blades of 29-33" usually officers sabers.

The blade form with raised yelman is termed 'quill point' and these were known on British swords in Napoleonic, but as you note, these became popular in Solingen blades after 1850s, which of course were supplied to Austria etc. as well as German states.

Possibly Wagner (1967) or some of the other references might have options. I will check later. Interesting sword!
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Old 30th September 2021, 12:53 AM   #6
Will M
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The scabbard frog stud is German style. The scabbard is incorrect for the sword and does not fit well being far too wide and too long.
Continental is a term used for "who knows, somewhere in Europe".
The lion head pommel is typical of British 1803p swords. The pipe back blade can be German and British since both used the type.
Could be French made for the British market. Note the scabbard mouth indentation on the brass guard around the blade, only a steel mouth would do this being harder than the brass guard.
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Old 30th September 2021, 08:31 AM   #7
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For my two cents, I don't think the lion head is typically British at all. Instead, it is more like this cavalry sabre from Solingen.
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Old 30th September 2021, 09:19 AM   #8
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The key to the solution is certainly the signature at the hilt. I can read MORSDL & Cie", the "DL" is uncertain. Maybe someone here knows this name?
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Old 30th September 2021, 09:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26 View Post
The key to the solution is certainly the signature at the hilt. I can read MORSDL & Cie", the "DL" is uncertain. Maybe someone here knows this name?
Steve Langham is compiling a database of British Makers and Retailers that is available online: British Sword Markers and Retailers

But a search for MORS doesn't turn up any likely candidates, alas.
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Old 30th September 2021, 09:59 AM   #10
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Cool

After my understanding this name cannot be English, because in the English language the word "company" is written with an "y" at the end, not with an "ie" as is the case in France or Germany
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