ANDREA FERA English Basket -Hilted sword?
English Basket -Hilted sword

I was looking over several pages today and ran across this piece at Ron Akeroyd & Son.
Not that I am an expert or anything but it seems to me that a blade in this condition by Andrea Ferrara would be going for a bit more than 2250 pounds. I was just wanting to get some of your opinions about this piece. I know that Andrea Ferrara blades were famous and allot of unscrupulous people marked there blades with his mark. Also I did notice the spelling "FERA" is not correct but I do not know if that is the norm or not. I have never seen the marking myself. However to me this brings in to question the authenticity of the piece as a hole. But then as I said I am no expert and may be missing something here.
Thank you
Dewey H.
From John Wallace's "Scottish Swords & Dirks" , 1970.
Nothing much more than to echo Mac's extract above. I think tangential references to the problem of Ferrara marks have come up in a few previous threads. I think the use of the mark as a general quaility mark was widespread but what value that mark would have given that many people were probably aware it was generic, I don't know. I've seen spellings on original swords as wide as 'AFARRA'

By the way Mac, as an aside, have you ever seen a folding cutlass ? I did last week and was pretty amazed. Have you seen such a thing ?

Daniel Parry wrote:
By the way Mac, as an aside, have you ever seen a folding cutlass ?
I did last week and was pretty amazed. Have you seen such a thing ? Daniel

Hi Daniel

By folding do you mean one side of the hilt ? (you don't mean the blade too, right ?)
I know I've seen a few pieces that had folding guards (Infantry swords, I believe ), which enabled the sword to sit tight to your side, but I'm positive those were not cutlasses ?

I'd like to hear about them ..... any photos ?

Thanks, Mac
I do mean the blade though ! Freakish but true. Not the folding guards of 19th century infantry swords. This is where I really need to get a digital camera and a scanner. Though I can give a book reference to a similar piece below.

The piece was French, the owner thinks early 19th century and I don't have the knowledge on these kind of pieces to agree or disagree.

Basically it's a very simple cutlass with a single bar knuckle bow (not unlike that on a lot of military sabres of the age e.g. light cavalry trooper's swords of the late 18th century). The blade (probably 26 inches or so) has a hinge half way up , the lower section of the blade being in effect a frame (no edge) into which the sharp upper half fits when folded. The hinge has a spring lock on it exactly like a lock-knife. Basically the best way to envision it is a huge lock-knife but with the lock half way up the blade not in the handle. Something nagged at my brain when I saw it and I remembered I had seen something like it before - Lyle Official Arms & Armour Review 1982, page 29 - that one was Belgian but very similar.

Just wondered whether anyone had seen or knew more about these things. What struck me was 'why?' . A cutlass would presumably have been stowed on ship until needed. A bunch of cutlasses takes some space but they're not that bulky compared with all the rope, sails, barrels of food and water etc etc that need to be stowed. Why make it folding? It doesn't help the functionality that's for sure, and even folded it's not exactly a concealable weapon. I don't understand the reason for making it folded - though when folded it does make a fairly vicious club, which made me think of press gangs but I don't know if that system existed on the continent. If it was just one in existence I would put it down to a flight of fancy by a bored sword manufacturer but then two from different countries.....

Just an interesting piece.

Hello Daniel,
I've seen and handled one of those wierd folding cutlasses at a gun show years ago. It was pretty impressive in it's own way. I think the oneI saw had been tentatively Id as English, but since there were no markings thatI can recall, who knows?

On Andrea Ferara signatures, there's an English rapier in my posession that's signed "Andrea Feara".

Thanks ElJay for that info, so it isn't just a flight of fantasy by some bored maker, there are a few out there. I still wonder why though, what was the practical reason? I agree they are rather impressive pieces in their own right - very heavy.

On the AF marks I've seen so many spellings - I think the best summary is - a friend of mine who went with me to the last London International fair looked at a basket hilt with an Andrea Ferrara mark and asked the vendor - 'So do you know who actually made it ?'

I thank you all for the information I knew that you would be able to clear this up for me.
folding cutlass
Dewey H. wrote:
I thank you all for the information I knew that you would be able to clear this up for me.
Hello there. I couldn't help but reply to you about the folding cutlass you mentioned. I own an ivory handled one from the late 1700's or early 1800's. It was a favorite of pirates of the time because when in ports where weapons had to be left on ship, these could be folded and hidden in a pocket or elsewhere in their clothing.Making for a nasty surprise in a fight. My Father carried this one with him during WWll across Europe. He said it was very handy for cutting wood. Had he only known what it actually was.
Here are some (a whole bunch of) these folding cutlasses and some discussion. Pretty cool! I had never heard of them.

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