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Old 13th September 2021, 04:05 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,889
Default Awesome Jacobite period basket hilt broadsword

Hello folks! Here's the newest member of my collection (straying a little from the naval/pirate, but there were many Scots who were privateers!)

Here we have a nice early 18th century basket hilt, probably made during the first quarter of the century (1700-25). The piece measures 35" overall with a 29" blade. The blade is classic German import, with a lenticular profile, unmarked, rounded tip and broad flat ricasso. Note the pommel is an early form of squat muchroom form. I have heard many speak of 'munitions-grade pieces' made in direct response to the Rebellion (used on both sides, BTW. Not all clans embraced the Bonny Prince!), but I think mine is nicer than some of those rougher examples.

You will note the nice piercings of hearts and dots to the side plates, as well as the merlons/fish tails, ridged decorations to the plates and bars. Interestingly, this example is missing two items, the so-called wrist guard to stop the slashing blow used by Scottish fencers (mine appears to have never had one. These wrist finials started popping up around 1700, with some earlier baskets actually braising them on later) and also the 'additional rear guard'. I attribute this to the early pattern and also this provincial weapon's no-nonsense creation as rebellions loomed. You will note that, as with the missing wrist guard, there doesn't appear to be any indication with this basket ever had the 'additional guard', no evidence of damage/removal, etc. I've seen several other types missing the additional rear guards, including the 'S' bar types which seem to never have them, on several British baskets and on at least two classic Scot examples.

The basket is tight and probably made for a smaller hand than mine (I've 5' 11''). My hand fits, but you can see there isn't any extra room! I'll post a pic of my other basket hilt for comparison soon. Note the original leather grip with double strand twist wire. The overall pattern of the basket would be the 'Glasgow style', meaning flat noodle-like bars nicely braised and the flaoting bars resting uder the grooved slot just under the pommel (another early feature). The overall impression is one of a basket created by garrison smiths imitating the 'masters' in Glasgow. The nice patina and some damage (cracked main knucle guard with inner basket reinforcement, minor damage to blade, chips, etc) are a testamony to it's use and history!
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Last edited by M ELEY; 13th September 2021 at 05:20 PM.
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