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Old 1st August 2021, 11:37 PM   #1
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Default Mystery Hanger

AS I mentioned in my post on the markings thread the Auckland Sword & Shield Society has been studying the swords stored at the local museum.
On the first visit after spending a couple of hours studying the 11 swords we had selected from the online catalogue we were shown the storage area and my eye was caught by a half basket hilt, so I photographed the ID tag to ask for on the next visit.
The museum discovered that they had no record of the sword and I had to provide a copy of the photo so they could get it out for us on the following visit!

The sword turned out to be a cutlass or hanger with the Solingen anchor stamped on both sides of the blade and a somewhat indeterminate mark on the left ricasso (possibly a miss-stamped Solingen anchor). The grip is cast brass, helical and quite distinctive but I am unable to find anything else like it. Any information would be appreciated.

Overall Length: 76cm Blade Length: 62.5cm Weight: 686.9g Balance Point: 7.5cm
Curvature: 15mm
Profile Taper: Shoulder Width: 31mm Point Width: 18mm
Distal Taper: Shoulder Width: 7mm Point Width: 1.7mm
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Old 2nd August 2021, 05:41 PM   #2
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This is a very interesting hanger indeed! You are right that it is a mystery, as I don't know of any pattern exactly like this one. That being said, many of the hangers of this time period didn't fit into nice clean 'patterns'. So, we are left with clues only. The marking is indeed German and I think we've discussed this mark before on another thread. Just a few points for consideration. You will note the quillon on this piece juts straight out from the guard and is teardrop shaped. This detail is one found on German swords of the early/mid 18th century. See Neumann's 'Swords and Blades of the American Revolution", 42S, 161S. However, the pommel looks distinctly English or Scottish and falls into the same time period 1700-50.

The intricately recurved bars of the guard are beautiful, but tell us little. German, English and French swords all had similar patterns of similar fashion. As Germany was supplying most of the blades during this period, the fact that it is a German blade likewise gives no clues.

I believe the key in possibly finding some answers lies in the brass grip. Assuming the brass grip is original to the piece (and I think it is), I would wager this hanger would have been used by infantry. Brass grips and solid brass hilts were popular with both infantry and naval officers as the metal was naturally rust resistant. Horsemen/cavalry dispised brass as it didn't give them a strong grip when slashing at an opponent. Typically, the maritime hangers would not have had an open grip (but there were exceptions), so I personally think this is infantry? Because of the style of pommel and similarites I've seen of early English hangers, I'm guessing that's what we have here (but it's only my guess!)

Last edited by M ELEY; 3rd August 2021 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 2nd August 2021, 07:30 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
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I have been researching this since it was posted, and I heartily concur with the Cap'n's astute comments! I could not find any approximate match to the guard system, but as he has noted the lobed type quillon is characteristic of many of the Prussian infantry hangers of 17th century which remained in use into the mid 18th.
As Mark has also noted, while this curved and rather short blade of course suggests maritime use, the closed hilt was indeed favored by those on ships. The close quarters hacking blows pretty much demanded as much protection to the hand as possible. Infantry swords were more secondary weapons, with the musket primary, and were not as subject to these kinds of consideration.

My personal feeling is that this is likely a French, possibly low countries hanger of probably mid to later 17th century. The curls on quillons in the guard system were an affectation notably seen on later French saber hilts. The French artistry even extended to the most pedestrian munitions forms in many cases. With the possible Low Country affiliation, this would extend in a sense to England as Mark has suggested as many blades and often complete swords went into England through ports in Holland. This is why there are many strong similarities between English and Dutch swords (Aylward, 1945).

The markings, while resembling the familiar anchors seen on the German blades (copied from the 'anchors' used on Spanish blades)..however, these symbols are more akin to the curious 'glyphs' used in magic or occult parlance in Europe from 17th well into 18th c. The French in the 18th century were particularly known for these kinds of esoteric marks on blades, many from Nantes and termed Caissagnard if I recall.
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Old 3rd August 2021, 12:33 AM   #4
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Thanks for coming in on this one, Jim! I was also wondering if it might be earlier than my assumption of ca. 1700, as I know there were earlier hanger patterns. You also concurred with it being possibly maritime, possibly infantry. Maritime swords had the uniqueness of all manner of nuances, like this twisting brass blade. I've even seen a naval hanger with a pewter grip before! Always the odd ones and that's why i love them!
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