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Lewis A.




Location: United States
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

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PostPosted: Tue 07 Aug, 2012 10:10 am    Post subject: ID help on maker of these Scottish Basket Hilts         Reply with quote

I recently purchased a pair of Scottish basket hilted swords, one a broadsword, the other a backsword, that appear to have been made some time ago. Both swords are marked with a stylized "H" on the underside of the basket guards and on both sides of the blade of the broadsword. The swords appear to have been hand-made and have some age on them, they are well made pieces, but do not appear to have ever been used for combat and I suspect they were only displayed by the previous owner. They do not appear to be mass-produced or factory made, they have peened tangs rather than they typical screw-on pommels that one normally sees on factory made swords.

Does anyone have any idea as to who the talented maker of these swords might be?

Here are some photos:









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Michael Parker




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Aug, 2012 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those are some handsome swords! Good pictures, especially against the blue background.
"This is a sharp medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases and miseries."
-Sir Walter Raleigh, upon being allowed to see the ax that would behead him, 29 October 1618
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Lewis A.




Location: United States
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

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PostPosted: Tue 07 Aug, 2012 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Parker wrote:
Those are some handsome swords! Good pictures, especially against the blue background.


Thanks, although I can't take credit for the photos, they were taken by the seller who I bought the swords from. $650 for the pair, which I thought was a very good price.

Here are a couple more:



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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Aug, 2012 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lewis...

If those are indeed antique Scottish basket hilts then you got a tremendous bargain at a price of $325 each. However, I rather doubt they are antiques, at least dating back to the era when that type of sword was produced. First they are very clean although not so clean as to look brand new. Second, the baskets appear a bit larger than originals although it is difficult to tell that from a photograph. The liners are in awfully good shape too. Can you provide some dimensions such as blade width, length, balance point, etc? Width and depth of the baskets.

While the workmanship appears to be good, it is not up to the standards of the hilt makers of the 17th and 18th centuries and to my eye lack the grace of the old hammermen. Also, except for the one initial, there are no markings on the blades. While not all basket hilt blades were marked, most of them were, especially with Andrea Farrara in various spellings and the trade marks of the Solingen smiths who made them. Absence does not mean they are not old but it is a clue that they may be relatively modern.

All that being said, I think you got a good deal and should be happy. I paid that much for an "S" hilt from Armour Class last year, and you got two nice swords for the price of my one.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Lewis A.




Location: United States
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Aug, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Lin,

No, I don't believe that these are from the 18th century, although I am not sure what era they actually do date from. They may well be 20th century copies done in the style of older swords, given the fact that Scottish swords of this type have long been popular with people of Scottish descent such as myself as decorative items or for ceremonial use at clan functions, etc.

They do have a patina of age, which leads me to believe that they were made some time ago, how long ago I really can't tell, unless someone might hopefully recognize the maker from the marks on them.

The broadsword has a blade length of 33" and is 1-3/4" wide at the riasco. The basket guard is 4-1/4" at the widest point of the opening and the hilt is 4-1/2" . The point of balance is about 5" from the base of the blade.

The backsword has a blade length of 34-1/2" and is 1-3/8" wide at the riasco. The basket guard is 4-1/2" wide at the widest point of the opening and the hilt is 4-1/4". The point of balance is about 6" from the base of the blade.
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Jack W. Englund




Location: WA State
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Aug, 2012 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What a pair for $$$$
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Wed 08 Aug, 2012 4:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of those hilts appears to be based on an original Walter Allan of Stirling design !

Mac

Walter Allan of Stirling Baskethilt Broadsword, c. 1735-60

(SW 37) Overall length - 37 1/4", Blade length - 31 1/4" , Blade width - 1 5/8", Weight -3 lb. 1-1/2 oz.

Broadsword with open-work basket hilt of rare and exceptionally fine design and execution, signed on the underside of the quillon WA over S (Walter Allan, Stirling). The front of the basket is formed of a square panel filled in with Scottish thistle displayed and crowned. Each member is engraved down the centre with a 'wiggle' line. The blade is double edged with a short narrowed recasso and is channelled with a short, broad, central hollow and a narrow flute on either side. It bears in Spanish lettering the Latin inscription, on one side reads -- PARCERE SUBIECTIS,the other side ET DEBELARE SUPERBOS, which translated reads -- 'spare the vanquished and crush the proud.'
Total length, without the button, 36 7/8" inches. Blade, 31 1/8" inches by 1 5/8".
-- Scottish Military and Naval Museum, Edinburgh Castle (N.R. Colville Collection).

* Text - Charles Whitelaw 'Scottish Arms Makers' ,Plate IV,Fig. 5-6
* B&W photo - Scottish Swords & Dirks by John Wallace, 1970.
* Color photo - Vince Evans.



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was thistle.jpg


 Attachment: 57.27 KB
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'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail


Last edited by Thomas McDonald on Thu 09 Aug, 2012 7:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lewis A.




Location: United States
Joined: 18 Jul 2010

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Wed 08 Aug, 2012 5:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas McDonald wrote:
One of those hilts appears to be based on an original Walter Allan of Stirling design !

Mac

Walter Allan of Stirling Baskethilt Broadsword, c. 1735-60

(SW 37) Overall length - 37 1/4", Blade length - 31 1/4" , Blade width - 1 5/8", Weight -3 lb. 1-1/2 oz.

Broadsword with open-work basket hilt of rare and exceptionally fine design and execution, signed on the underside of the quillon WA over S (Walter Allan, Stirling). The front of the basket is formed of a square panel filled in with Scottish thistle displayed and crowned. Each member is engraved down the centre with a 'wiggle' line. The blade is double edged with a short narrowed recasso and is channelled with a short, broad, central hollow and a narrow flute on either side. It bears in Spanish lettering the Latin inscription, on one side reads -- PARCERE SUBIECTIS,the other side ET DEBELARE SUPERBOS, which translated reads -- 'spare the vanquished and crush the proud.'
Total length, without the button, 36 7/8" inches. Blade, 31 1/8" inches by 1 5/8".
-- Scottish Military and Naval Museum, Edinburgh Castle (N.R. Colville Collection).

* Text - Charles Whitelaw 'Scottish Arms Makers' ,Plate IV,Fig. 5-6


Excellent find, Thomas, thank you for that. Yes, I can certainly see that the backsword I have had its guard patterned after the Walter Allan original. I knew the design was that of a crowned thistle, but I wasn't sure if it was a historical pattern or not, or what period it would date to - certainly a bit earlier than I had imagined in the case of the original.
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