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Old 25th July 2009, 12:56 PM   #1
kronckew
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Default Late 19c Italian Sabre

forgot to post this one as the forum didn't have a european section when i bought it. it's actually my 1st sword purchase in the UK, roughly 15+ years ago at an antiques fair, (pre ebay ) thought i'd post it for comment and for the records...

italian cavalry sabre from about 1895, no decoration on the guard shell, wood grip, checkered metal back strap, fairly light & springy blued pipe-backed blade, slightly curved & very sharp. armourer had at some point ground out a couple of nicks in the sides, but edge is OK, first few inches of the tip are double edged. nice rebate in the guard for the thumb. blued steel scabbard. back strap and scabbard both stamped C1644. appears to have a very small 'M' stamped on one side of the blade near the guard. sword knot a later addition.



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Old 25th July 2009, 03:19 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Thanks very much for posting this here as well Kronckew! Italian swords are truly quite esoteric in collecting, and information on them is difficult to come by. With this being the case I have seen instances where these have turned up misidentified as various European swords, such as 19th century Italian sabres mistaken for Hungarian or Austrian forms etc.

The one reference I know of where these are shown is in the 1987 book by Cesare Calamandrei, "Armi Bianche Militari Italiene 1814-1950", published by Editoriale Olimpia (Firenze).

This valuable reference presents outstanding detail and illustrations, which is great as I'm not great at the language but could make pretty good use of the book. It was unfortunately not one of the books I could bring with me when I began this odyssey on the road over two years ago, but I remember the content well, and these attractive hilts are very familiar. I know that your assessment on the approximate date is right, but I cannot say which pattern or branch of use would apply.

The only other reference I can think of which would have these referenced is "Swords in Colour" by Robert Wilkinson-Latham, an great little handbook with great overview on international military patterns. The color plates show groupings of patterns from different countries, and I believe these are in there as well. While the text is brief, it is concisely and well presented, especially considering the scope undertaken by the book, and reflecting the broad base of knowledge of the author.

Hopefully someone out there might collect in this field, and it would be great to get some of the references included in our holdings.

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Jim
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Old 26th July 2009, 03:19 PM   #3
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Interesting to see a pipe-back blade with such a late date.
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Old 26th July 2009, 04:04 PM   #4
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Thank you for the input Kisak. These type blades seem well known on many of the Prussian swords of latter 19th century, and I agree, it really does seem strange. I had always thought these were confined to the early 19th century. Some good line illustrations in "Cut and Thrust Weapons" (E. Wagner, 1967) will better show the type meant. I am wondering if this is a Solingen blade, and of course, that perhaps someone out there might have access to Calamandrei.

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Old 26th July 2009, 10:40 PM   #5
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i'd also posted this over on sword forum international, the following info was received so far. (no pictures there yet)

Quote:
Originally Posted by niall dignan
This appears to be an Italian Model 1888 Artillary sabre.The thumb rebate first appeared on the Model 1871 Cavalry troopers sabre.This innovation followed work by Capitano Settimo del Frate to improve the grip and balance of the Italian military sword.It proved very successful and was used right up until WW11. Most Italian swords in service during WW1 were blued and I assume this one is from that period.Also they generally appear to have been sharpened for service use. The pipeback blade on these swords can seem somewhat flimsy but is certainly very lively.A nice sword.


Quote:
Originally Posted by David M. W.
As for the reference, similar saber is depicted in Storia Della'Arma Bianca Italiana on page 89 and described as M1888 Horse Artillery sword.
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Old 26th July 2009, 10:54 PM   #6
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Model 1888 Artiglieria a cavallo (mounted artillery). Appears to be a "non-regulation" (fuori oridinanza) blade, which was very common with privately purchased officer swords. Very nice.
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Old 27th July 2009, 12:12 AM   #7
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very interesting; i'd been told it was an officer's sword when i bought it, but the plain guard and blade had me thinking it was more likely a lower rank's issue weapon.

Last edited by kronckew : 27th July 2009 at 12:25 AM.
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