Hi and Help
To cut a long story short. I am an archaeology student at the University of Exeter with a dilemma. For an assignment, I am writing a report on an artefact. The artefact is a sword that belonged to my grandfather which he received during his service as District Commissioner of Tanganyika (Tanzania) in the 1950's. Unfortunately, I am not very learned with regards to swords so I thought I would get some advice from the pros :). I have (hopefully) attached a JPEG which is a collage of a bunch of photos of the sword which should hopefully help.

Anything you can help me with would be awesome. Any sword it resembles or any techniques you think might have been used to make it or even what type of guard it has.

Thanks Guys :)

PS - I've posted a copy of the JPEG here http://flytch.deviantart.com/art/Sword-Collage-197034041 if the attachment doesn't work. Sorry for the limited images, most of them are on my girlfriends camera which I don't currently have access too.

Nice Sword! No idea what it is, I'll leave that to the experts on here as I'm a newbie! Just to say there are a lot on here who know their stuff!

Cheers Mike
It is a British court sword and is based on small-swords of the 18th century. I am not too familiar with who was entitled or required to own these, but upper level civil service members seem as good as anyone! Your sword has the cypher of King Edward VIII (ERVIII, Edwardus Rex VIII) and therefore dates to 1936. Given Edward VIII's short reign swords with his cypher are quite rare. Griffiths, McAllister Ltd. were a retailer as opposed to a maker. I cannot find any firm dates for the company but other swords bearing their name are decorated with the cyphers of George VI so they were in business during at least the 1930s and 1940s. As to manufacturing techniques, I am not familiar with specifics, but the hilt parts are cast brass and the steel blade was probably forged using more modern techniques. Robert Wilkinson-Latham, a frequent contributor to the Antique & Military Swords section at www.swordforum.com, may be able to help you with specifics of manufacture.

All the best,

Last edited by Jonathan Hopkins on Fri 11 Feb, 2011 1:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
Wow, thanks :) Thats all fantastic information :D You really know your stuff.
There are two examples of this type of sword pictured in Swords and Sword Makers of England and Scotland by Richard Bezdek. One is identical to yours and was retailed by the same company (which existed from 1930-1940 per Bezdek) and with the cypher of Edward VIII. and the other is apparently unmarked. One caption describes the sword as a court sword while the other states it is a diplomatic sword. I can't find any substantive literature on this specific pattern.
Have you read John Moreland's essay on the Bradbourne Cross? It's not at all about swords, but it gives a wonderful example of how to write an archaeological analysis of the biography of an object. It's chapter 8 in John Moreland, Archaeology, Theory, and the Middle Ages (London: Duckworth, 2010), 255-275. I don't know if you have enough context for this sword to do this kind of analysis, but if you do it might work well.

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