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Lewis Ballard

Location: Houston, TX
Joined: 27 Dec 2009

Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jul, 2013 5:31 pm    Post subject: A discount French 1822 Legere         Reply with quote

It's only a small number of sword enthusiasts who respond, instinctively and strongly, to the charms of the sabre, and most of that number end up with a distinct passion for a particular era---Napoleonic era sabers, US Civil War sabres, etc.---while my sabre enthusiasm seems to be more catholic in nature. 12th century Polovtsi? I'm there. Napoleonic light cavalry? Yes, please! 17th century Polish? I'll take a batorowka and a sigismundowka, with room for a karabella if you've got one.

I started off with a Windlass, their iteration of the American Revolutionary War Sabre. In its way, it was a decent sabre---in that it was well assembled, with a well tempered blade, and a fairly well made leather scabbard. The more I read, however, the more I became aware of its probable shortcomings. I've read *lots* of posts by Glen Cleeton, and eventually the information began to sink in. Likewise, I read Dave Kelly's reviews of reproduction sabres, frequently accompanied by detailed comparisons with the "real thing," and I knew that I would have to get my hands, eventually, on a "real deal sabre."

In the event, I've picked up two of them now, both of 19th century French production. The first one was the later produced, a steel bowl, point oriented version produced, I believe, for Chile as a Model 1871. (I am entirely unclear on this so far, but that's my fuzzy impression.) The first one opened my eyes to the difference between the run-of-the-mill repro/replica and the real deal, and led to the second, a discount purchase that I'm tickled pink over: an 1822 Legere out of Klingenthal.

I'd contacted Dave about another sword I'd seen for sale, and he more or less waved me off that one, but mentioned that he'd seen an 1822 on e-bay, and would I be interested . . . ? Well, there's no fool like an enthusiastic fool, so I told him I was and began watching.

I had by this point read a reasonable amount on the 1822 light cavalry, how it was straighter of blade than its predecessors, how it enjoyed a long run in official service, and how it served as a quasi-inspiration for the 1840 and later 1860 US cavalry sabres. Still, I knew that it was bigger and curvier than the South American sabre, and I was keen to get my hands on one, without, you understand, wanting to go all out.

I post most often at SBG, whose declared territory is the $300 and under market, and I hoped to bring it in under that arbitrary limit. In the very best vulture hawk manner, I lurked until time was expiring, and threw in my bid. I was in control of the auction! Huzzah! Then I was outbid,and time expired as I frantically struggled with the keyboard. Outbid as time expired! Ah well, perhaps it was not meant to be? Surely there would be some other opportunity, later on.

Later on arrived about two weeks later, when the seller contacted me and said the winner had neither contacted him nor made payment, and as runner up would I be interested in completing the purchase at my second place bid?

Why yes, yes I would.

With shipping I got this for $278, and I am tickled pink. This, my brothers, is a sabre, and the fellows that specced it out, they had not just fallen off of the truffle wagon. It moves in the hand in a way unlike any replica I've held: something about it is just right, balanced, whole: it works and it flows. The blade is light enough to let you (me) work the point, while feeling like it could deliver a solid and juicy cut as well. The grip is slightly recurved---a pet peeve of mine with the reproductions, which seem to omit this feature as a matter of course. Whether this recurve (or canted grip) is to bring the point more in line on a curved blade, or for wrist driven cutting, is immaterial to me: I like it. The guard manages to be elegant yet solid, the grip has plenty of room for a hammer, a handshake, or a sabre grip. It's got a full yard of blade, but doesn't feel too unwieldy. It may be obsolescent, but it's certainly not obsolete: it's a fighting sword from a time when men still fought with swords.

I apologize for the picture quality, but this is my 1822 Legere, in as received condition. (It looks better now, cleaned up but still showing some patina.)

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