1879 French Bayonet?
Well this is outside my usual periods of interest, but then again it is a pointy metal thing so I guess it interests me after all.

A local pawn shop was closing down recently and this bayonet and scabbard was 1/3 off regular price. So I thought I would get it and see what the myArmoury denizens think of it.

There are a number of cartouche marks and an inscription on the spine. Not sure if I have the words right, but I believe the inscription says "Mre d'Ormes de Lt. Etienne Fevriev 1879" which a google translate seems to mean "Mother of Lt Stephen Fevriev 1879, Ormes (a town in France). But if another person sees something else, it might make more sense.

The cartouches are as follows:
something that looks like a crown over an O

There is a marked number on both the bayonet and the scabbard which matches: "FG74043"

Any information about this would be appreciated. I do not know anything. I'd like to know:
1. Is it really possible to be from 1879 or so?
2. What kind of care should I give it? Oil? Keep in scabbard or not? Some light rust spots are on blade, how should I treat these?
3. Meaning of cartouches and inscription
4. What kind of rifle would it fit?
5. What kind of wars or battles could it have seen? I do not know much French Military history.
6. How can I find a value of it? If someone here wants to make a guess that would be nice, or maybe there is another place to find out.

If anyone would like more pictures of the mounting mechanism, blade, or any other specs I can try to provide that. The pawn shop owner only said he got it from someone who brought it into his shop and could not provide any other information.

All in all, I think it is in pretty good condition, which makes me distrust the 1879 "dating". However, it is a nice bayonet, no matter the time. Thank you very much for any help.

edited: To be honest, I'm half expecting this to be a relatively modern (20th century) with an anachronistic inscription. Which doesn't really make sense and might be an interesting story by itself. Please any comments or observations welcome. And I certainly can take more pictures if there is something in particular that would help, I just took a quick few of what I thought were the most pertinent details.

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Last edited by J. Nicolaysen on Mon 23 Feb, 2015 6:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
It is French Model 1874 Epee bayonet for the Gras Rifle. The insctiption on the spine include the place and date of manufacture. Yours probably reads "Mre d'Armes de St. Etienne" for Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne, and "Fevrier 1879" for February 1879. I have never studied the stamps (poinçon) on French weapons. Perhaps someone else is more familiar with them. I am not sure, though, if you will derive any further meaning from them not already revealed by the script on the blade. It is wonderful that the serial numbers match. I imagine the bayonet saw use in several of France's colonial wars in Africa. This old thread at SFI discusses a range of bayonets including the M1874: http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.p...amp-Photos And here is another general bayonet thread from here at myArmoury: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=25046

As far as conservation, oil should work fine. I use a silicone impregnated felt cloth for my antiques. Here is a nice article on conservation, also at SFI: http://www.swordforum.com/forums/content.php?...ly-18-2001

For value, I would check eBay and dealer listings. It has been a while since I bought one (mid-1990s) and it was $45 US. I would guess today you could get one for $75-$125 depending on condition. These bayonets were made in huge numbers, and by a range of different manufactories. Bayonets by some makers are more rare, as are the colonial and naval-use bayonets with the anchor stamp. Yours is made by the most common maker, but looks like it is in good condition, so I would think yours might be worth around $100. Just a guess, though!

All the best,

Last edited by Jonathan Hopkins on Mon 23 Feb, 2015 6:47 pm; edited 2 times in total
Here is mine:

Last edited by Jonathan Hopkins on Mon 23 Feb, 2015 6:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
Thank you very much Jonathan! Somehow, though it's been years, I thought Fevrier might be february.

Wonderful info and thank you again. It's nice to see pictures of another model, and I actually quite like mine, though I really am ignorant about it. This has helped me out quite a bit.
It is my pleasure! French bayonets are a good area in which to collect, at least from an acquisition point of view. They are common, relatively inexpensive, and since they come from a range of makers once can collect a number of examples in order have one from each maker. The M1874's predecessor, the M1866 sabre bayonet for the Chassepot rifle, is a nice looking and more substantial bayonet. It would have been the bayonet used during the Franco-Prussian War. You may want to look for one some day. I bought mine from an online dealer for $80 a couple years ago.

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