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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2009 9:15 am    Post subject: 18th Century American Sword         Reply with quote

This is my latest acquisition. Its an 18th cen. American hanger/sabre. It has a 30 and a half inch blade which has some talismanic writing on it whose origin I havent been able to pinpoint exactly. The grip is ebony and has a nice silver ribbon wrapped around it. The sword is nice and tight and has a very comfortable feel in the hand. The craftsmanship of the guard is really good. Even though it is sort of diminutive hilt the guard is very, very strong and durable. All in all in very nice shape! The balance is definately set for cleaving, though because it is only slightly curverd it would make excellent thrusts. I have polished up the silver ribbon (but not in these pics.) and it contrasts very nicely with the patina on the whole sword. I'm really happy with it.


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Ian Hutchison




Location: Louisiana / Nordrhein-Westholland
Joined: 27 Nov 2007

Posts: 568

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2009 9:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting, that script looks like Hindi or maybe Thai.
'We are told that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I know which of these weapons I would choose.' - Adrian Carton de Wiart
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2009 10:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hunh, It does look like thai........anyone know anyone who can read Thai?
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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
Joined: 17 Mar 2008
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2009 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow! That sabre is beautiful. I wish someone would make a nice replica of it. If I may, what was the price on this beauty? I hope that question isn't rude, I'm just curious what something like this would cost me.
Nathan.
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2009 1:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not at all Nathan.
I'll p.m. you the price.
I am really satisfied with this sword. It could have gone for more. It has capped off my collection for the next year. Collecting old swords has been an exciting ride, but I reached the "magic number" in my savings and we'll have to beg off for awhile. I have always wanted one of those dark wood/horn gripped swords with the silver ribbon going around it. I tried to get a few english ones but it didnt happen. Would you believe this is only my second U.S. sword.? The other is a Nathan Star 1818 pattern.
This new sword is probably between 1770 and 1790.

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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
Joined: 17 Mar 2008
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2009 2:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The sabre looks like it is really well designed. An almost straight blade for thrusting, but still balanced for cutting. I also love the guard and grip. I'm really surprised it didn't go for more, it looks like a real find.
Nathan.
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2009 3:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Mystery deepens Nathan,

It looks like the letters on the sword are Georgian/Caucuses! And the blade is an almost perfect match to a Georgian sword blade pattern. So that means the hilt may not be U.S. But something European. Maybe even Polish. Behold the comparison. I found this pic of a georgian sword (red backround) right hear on myArmoury.com!



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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
Joined: 17 Mar 2008
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2009 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The blade on the Georgian sword looks identical to the one on your sword, right down to the double fullers! The shape is also identical. I wonder if the Georgian sword blade has any writing like yours does? Is it possible that it's a Georgian blade mounted to an American hilt? I would love to see how this plays out, keep posting any new information.
Nathan.
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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
Joined: 17 Mar 2008
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Tue 10 Nov, 2009 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After doing some searches, I found some Polish sword hilts, and they really do look quite similar to yours.


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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I just contacted a Georgian language professor at Columbia Univ. So hopefully sne will write me back with some concrete answers.
The hilt on my sword does have a "homespun" feel to it. Not exactly a full size military hilt. More of a civilian hanger style to it. It does look quite american. But I'd bet 50 bucks the blade is Georgian! I hope we find out. Thanks for your interest Nathan Happy

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 10:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Morgan,
You have a number of threads on this sword--and several different theories about the sword--which is making the overall conversation hard for me to follow. What is your current though on the sword? A Georgian blade on a Western European-style (and possibly American) hilt?

Jonathan
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry for the confusion Jonathan,

I do think it is a Georgian blade on a western hilt, or at least eastern european hilt.

Interestingly enough I'm reading a book on the American Revolution. In it they talk about a General Charles Lee. He was a Welshman who served as a British Grenedier, then as a mercenary all over Europe, including Poland before settling in America and becoming a General under George Washington.

"In 1765 he fought in Poland, serving as an aide-de-camp under King Stanislaus II. After many adventures he came home to England. Unable to secure promotion in the British Army, in 1769 he returned to Poland and saw more action, and lost two fingers in a duel in which he killed his opponent. Returning to England once again, he found that he was sympathetic to the American colonists in their quarrel with Britain. He moved to the colonies in 1773 and purchased an estate in Virginia, in an area now part of West Virginia, which he named Prato Rio."

Perhaps some similar scenario for this sword? Someone who traveled as far as the borders of Eurasia then came to the New Worlde? While its not that important to me if the sword has an american connection it would be nice to pin the hilt down somewhere. That may be alot harder than identifying the blade.
Do you have any opinions Jonathan?

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Nathan M Wuorio




Location: Maine.
Joined: 17 Mar 2008
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 151

PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 10:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wonder how common is was to mount a blade from one country onto a hilt from another? I guess someone who was in possession of a bare blade needed a new hilt. It does have homespun feel to it, I agree. Perhaps they took several parts of different hilts and had a smith put them all together?
Nathan.
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If the blade is Georgian, I think it is unlikely that it would have originally been paired with an American hilt. Without confirmation of the origins of the script, I think that the best descriptor is simply "late 18th century European sword". I think you need to positively ID the script before we can theorize any further.
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well the Georgian Linguistics Prof just wrote back and said that it is not Georgian script. So it will probably remain "late 18th century European/American sword". The writing doesnt pair up with any know european esoteric- magical script either. But I really like this sword anyway and thats what counts Big Grin The unknown writing gives it an enjoyably curious character.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,925

PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 1:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although I have not yet, might I suggest looking through Neumann's gallery/book again? I would honestly disregard what the blade might read and concentrate on how it may have been incised or etched. I am not sure how one would assign this as possibly American, other than that was how it may have been described.

Myself? I l have at least four swords that were just as likely carried specifically by the Lewis & Clark expedition and I have the supposition to prove it Laughing Out Loud

I see this one as likely Armenian as American. A Mediterranean trade piece maybe? Although, the bound grip is quite nice. I see little homespun about that, compared to some of the really quite crudely put together stuff.

Unfortunately, it is all the supposition over the past half century that mislabel a good bit of what is presented as fact and I see this from both authors and dealers. Some of what gets listed with certain properties (to me) seem to be a guess that might appeal to a buyer. This from some pretty well learned and respectfully regarded individuals that pump simple falsehoods and offer supposition. Let the new owner see what they want to see and then that becomes a new maxim. I am by no means an authority on 18th and 19th century arms manufacture and trade. The further I look into contemporary research, the less I am impressed both by my own misconceptions but also what is often quite apparently incorrect in other's judgments.

In my own view of this piece, there is actually nothing that might not expand that time line possibility to the 19th century and as late as some decades into it. Proof (at least some reassuring evidence) of provenance and manufacture can then be stapled to a bill of goods. What it does leave us with is a lot of "interesting" swords to admire and research what we can. I'd go back to Neumann's first, as it is what is readily available to me. I'll browse some others as well, even Peterson's silver hilts and a jaunt through Medicus.

Cheers

GC
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well the original dealer listed it as french but D. Critchley called it as American. I did look at Neumans book and there is a sword in there that is listed as American Shortsaber with a hilt remarkabley the same. (I dont have the page number on me at the moment..) You stated: " I would honestly disregard what the blade might read and concentrate on how it may have been incised or etched." Could you tell me more how I would go about doiing that?

I wish I could find more about western blade inscriptions and talismanic/luck/protection markings but there doesnt seem to be much info on those traditions and no one has made any pictorial collections of them either (beyond the usual suns and moons of course) If anyone has similar examples of these kind of markings I hope that they will share them.

Any more info that you can come up with Glen would be much appreciated.

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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,925

PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Regarding the blade, disregard those inscriptions as proof of original manufacture. Are they the only marks? What you display in several threads are characters that could have been added at any time. No? Or are they of an etch such as the fine blue and gilt stuff. We are pretty sure they are not as those are offered. Hence, the markings could have been added quite separately from manufacture. Are there any other marks that might point to manufacture. Disregard what you have offered as provenance due to those characters.

If one is determined it is American, find another just like it proven American. Neumann's similarities are only one possible source of evidence and his work proven incorrect more and more as other evidence surfaces. On the flip side, look to other swords that are not exact matches but clearly display the same hilt constructions and trends. From that, one might reason that the sword was likely made in ??? or similar to swords made by ????

Something that recently chapped my butt was an authority labeling a bone gripped 36"bladed thumb ring grip as an American infantry ofiicer's piece. Ummmm, ok, I guess. Am I enthusiastic and eager to buy a guide from one such interpreter? That said, he uncovers and moves some incredible swords.

Neumann's book is a nice gallery while disregarding most of the descriptions and text. One item finally better described to me as Belgian infantry shows up in his book as French naval artillery. Many assumptions are simply incorrect and it only takes other explanation of even a single item to question the varacity of entire volumes filled with best guesses.

Cheers

GC
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 2:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glen,

there are not any other marks on the sword that show proof of manufacture. And while the marking on the blade may not determine origin or even be original, they are on there and I'm curious what they mean. I'm not particulary determined that the sword be proven American but it would be nice to find out one way or another. If you come across any similar hilts or blade profiles in your other books, be sure and let me know. Happy

Regards,
Morgan

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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,925

PostPosted: Wed 11 Nov, 2009 2:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Honestly, I would suggest going back to an earlier suggestion and actually spending a good amount of time in studying what has already been presented. Such as

http://www.prs.org/gallery-kabblh.htm

Now, don't just take a superficial look at such and then move on. It has been what, half a dozen days and most of that moving from thought to thought?

As to applying my time to the research, it will likely be a case of bumping into something similar that might relate. I have a dozen I would love better explanation of when I get to them.

Cheers

GC
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