Sword Booklets for the Collector

BRAND NEW SWORD BOOKLETS 

FOR THE COLLECTOR!

 The British 1796 Pattern Light Cavalry Trooper's Sword

The Scottish 1828 Pattern Highland

Basket-hilted Broadsword

British 18th and 19th Century Naval Cutlasses

Swords at the Battle of Waterloo

by

Harvey J S Withers

SPECIAL COMBINED PRICE INCLUDES FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING!

PRICE: £49.95

TO PURCHASE THESE BOOKLETS PLEASE CLICK HERE

With over 200-300 full colour illustrations and photographs in each booklet

Glossy softback booklet

Book length average is 64-68 pages

BOOKLETS INCLUDE:

Historical Background

Examples of the Pattern

Sword Makers

Maker Marks

Collecting the Pattern

Care and Preservation of Antique Swords

ALSO AVAILABLE AS SINGLE BOOKLETS

FOR MORE DETAILS ON MY OTHER BOOKS PLEASE CLICK HERE

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Swords at the Battle of Waterloo

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Swords at the Battle of Waterloo

by

Harvey J S Withers

A BRAND NEW BOOK FOR THE SWORD COLLECTOR!

PRICE INCLUDES FREE SHIPPING!

With over 300 full colour illustrations and photographs

Glossy softback booklet

Book length is 68 pages

Number 4 in a new series on British military swords

PRICE: £17.95

TO PURCHASE THIS BOOKLET PLEASE CLICK HERE

BOOK INCLUDES:

Historical Background

Examples of  British and French Napoleonic Swords

Sword Makers

Maker Marks

Collecting Napoleonic Swords

Care and Preservation of Antique Swords

SEE THE SAMPLE IMAGES BELOW:

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British 18th and 19th Century Naval Cutlasses

 

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 British 18th and 19th Century Naval Cutlasses

by

Harvey J S Withers

A BRAND NEW BOOK FOR THE SWORD COLLECTOR!

PRICE INCLUDES FREE SHIPPING!

PRICE: £17.95

TO PURCHASE PLEASE CLICK HERE

With over 250 full colour illustrations and photographs

Glossy softback booklet

Book length is 63 pages

Number 3 in a new series on British military swords

BOOK INCLUDES:

Historical Background

Examples of the Pattern

Sword Makers

Maker Marks

Collecting the Pattern

Care and Preservation of Antique Swords

SEE THE SAMPLE IMAGES BELOW:

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British 1796 Pattern Light Cavalry Trooper’s Sword

 

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British 1796 Pattern Light Cavalry Trooper's Sword

by

Harvey J S Withers

A BRAND NEW BOOK FOR THE SWORD COLLECTOR!

REVISED EDITION

PRICE INCLUDES FREE SHIPPING!

PRICE: £17.95

TO PURCHASE THIS BOOKLET PLEASE CLICK HERE

With over 300 full colour illustrations and photographs

Glossy softback booklet

Book length is 64 pages

Number 1 in a new series on British military swords

 

BOOK INCLUDES:

Historical Background

Examples of the Pattern

Sword Makers

Maker Marks

Collecting the Pattern

Care and Preservation of Antique Swords

SEE THE SAMPLE IMAGES BELOW:

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NEW CD-ROM – British Military Swords 1786-1912 – Full Colour Price Guide for Collectors

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BRAND NEW CD-ROM!!

British Military Swords

1786-1912

The Regulation Patterns

An Illustrated Price Guide for Collectors

by

Harvey J S Withers

If you collect British military swords you

will definitely want this CD-ROM!

Important Note: This book is now only available on CD-ROM

 Fully updated PDF for both Windows and Mac.

Over 1500 full colour photographs and illustrations

COST: £15.95 + £2.95

SHIPPING WORLDWIDE

TO BUY THE CD-ROM PLEASE CLICK HERE

Containing over 1500 unpublished full colour photographs and illustrations, it is the first full colour price guide for collectors of British regulation military swords. The CD-ROM contains detailed photographs of all the British regulation sword patterns from 1786 - 1912.

Includes:

  Fully Updated Price Guide

Infantry Swords

  Cavalry Swords

  Scottish Swords

  General Officers' Swords

  Naval Swords

  Departmental Swords

  British Sword Maker/Retailer Index

  Close-up shots of Blade & Hilt

  Sword Markings

  Wilkinson Sword Serial Number Index

  Sword Knots

   Wilkinson Sword serial number date index

 

The CD-ROM also contains a short history of the Wilkinson Company, including a detailed examination of how a Wilkinson Sword was manufactured.  The Wilkinson Sword serial number date index from 1854 has also been reproduced to enable collectors to accurately date their Wilkinson swords.

In addition, there are illustrated excerpts from the 1796 Sword Exercise for Cavalry by Napoleonic British cavalry officer, Gaspard Le Marchant, as well as comprehensive sections on collecting antique swords today, the care and preservation of antique swords and a comprehensive bibliography.

The Foreword is written by the renowned edged weapons author, Frederick Wilkinson.

The CD-ROM contains 176 pages and comprises one disk.

Shipping - the CD-ROM is sent standard airmail service.

READ THE REVIEWS!

“It is by far and away the best reference guide to Victorian era British swords and is highly recommended”

Stuart Mowbray, Man at Arms Magazine.

“Well researched, well written and well illustrated, this book is an essential addition for the sword collector”

Gun Mart Magazine.

“Contains plenty of information……a valuable addition to our library”

National Army Museum, London.

“….is a very worthwhile addition to any sword collectors bookshelf”

The Armourer Magazine.

 

SEE THE SAMPLE PAGES BELOW:

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TO BUY THE CD-ROM PLEASE CLICK HERE

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Antique Swords for Sale – Welcome to my Web Site

© Harvey Withers

Dear Antique Sword and Edged Weapon Collector.

Do you collect antique military swords and edged weapons?  Are you interested in acquiring the best quality infantry, cavalry and naval swords?

British, French and German Antique Military Swords

If so, then please take the time to look through my constantly changing stock of antique British swords here, including infantry officers' swords, British cavalry officers' swords and British naval officers' swords.  I also specialise in European antique military swords including French Napoleonic infantry, cavalry and naval swords.  German antique military swords are a speciality of mine and I particuarly like to acquire Imperial German infantry, artillery, cavalry and naval swords.  I have found that German swords from the period 1850-1914 are especially fine and range from German lionshead infantry and artillery officers' swords to the wide range of enlisted mens' swords and hangers.

NOTE: All the images of swords shown here are examples of swords sold by myself over the last few years and are indicative of the quality and variety that I sell.

© Harvey Withers

17th and 18th Century Hanger Swords

One of my personal favourites is the 17th and 18th Century Hanger.  The sheer variety of these swords is quite remarkable and a lifetime's worth of collecting can be devoted just to this area - the hunting sword is one of the most recognised forms of the hanger and you can find them in a myriad of forms.  Below are a few typical styles encountered by the collector and also sold by myself.

© Harvey Withers

The Antique Rapier

A very exclusive area of antique sword collecting is the rapier.  By the very nature of it being a sword type most popular in the 16-17th Centuries, original examples are not easy to find and prices tend to be quite.  Saying that, it is one of the most attractive of antique swords and the sheer beauty of some examples can take one's beath away.  The rapier was probably at its zenith in the early 1600's and it is during this period that we encounter a large variety of complex hilts and extremely long blades.  Most rapiers were designed primarily for duelling and would not have been used in the field of combat where a shorter and more robust sword blade was required.  See below for some examples of swords that I have sold or featured on web site.

© Harvey Withers

 

 

Antique Sword and Edged Weapons Bibliography – Authors A to G

Dear Sword and Edged Weapon Collector!

I have put togther a comprehensive bibliography listing a large number of books devoted to the history and collecting of antique swords and edged weapons.  I have listed them alphabetically and split them up into four sections - just go to the Home Page and click on the article listings on the bottom right of the page.

I am a firm believer that building up a collection of books and material devoted to the study of antique swords and edged weapons is essential if you really want to understand and learn about your subject.  It is also common sense in that when you buy from an auction, Arms Fair or whatever, you need to have some basic knowledge about what you are buying - that does sound like stating the obvious but there are many newcomers who shell out large amounts of money and take it for granted that the piece is correct and genuine.  There is nothing that can replace handling and inspecting the item and I would recommend you doing this as often as possible, but a little investment in books will also pay you back many times over and perhaps save you from making a rash or ill-judged purchase.

I do hope that you find it useful and please let me know if you have any books that you feel should be added or you can supply me with a missing book cover image.  I will be regularly updating the bibliography so check back often!

Here are the authors from A - G

William. A. Albaugh

Confederate Edged Weapons

(Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1993).

 ISBN-10: 1568372671

ISBN-13: 978-1568372679

 

P.G.W. Annis

British and American Naval Edged Weapons 1660-1815

(Arms and Armour Press, 1970).

 

Christian Aries

Armes Blanches Militaires, Français

(Paris, 1967).

J.D. Aylward

The Smallsword in England

(Hutchinson, 1960).

 

 

Matthew Balent

Compendium of Armor, Weapons, and Castles

(Palladium Books, 1989).

ISBN-10: 091621138X

    ISBN-13: 978-0916211387 

 

Bannerman Catalogue of Military Goods - 1927

(DBI Books,1980).

 ISBN-10: 0910676208

ISBN-13: 978-0910676205

Bruce Bazelon

Swords from the Public Collections … Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

(Andrew Mowbray,1987).

 ISBN-10: 0917218264

ISBN-13: 978-0917218262

Russell E. Belous

Richard H Bezdek

Swords and Sword Makers of England and Scotland

(Paladin Press, 2003).

 ISBN: 0-486-25434-8

Richard H Bezdek

German Swords and Sword Makers.  Edged Weapon Makers from the 14th to the 20th Centuries

(Paladin Press, 2000).

ISBN-10: 1581600577

ISBN-13: 978-1581600575

Richard H Bezdek

American Swords and Sword Makers Vol 1

(Paladin Press, 1994).

ISBN-10: 0873647653

ISBN-13: 978-0873647656

Richard H Bezdek

American Swords and Sword Makers Vol 2

(Paladin Press, 1999).

ISBN-10: 158160016X

ISBN-13: 978-1581600162

Howard Blackmore

Hunting Weapons from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century

(Dover Publications Inc.; Dover Ed edition, 2003).

ISBN-10: 0486409619

ISBN-13: 978-0486409610

Claude Blair

European and American Arms 

(Literary Licensing, LLC, 2011).

ISBN-10: 125807320X

ISBN-13: 978-1258073206

H.T. Bosanquet

The Naval Officer’s Sword

(H.M.S.O.,1955).

I. Bottomley and A.P. Hopson

Arms and Armor of the Samurai

(Random House USA Paperbacks, 1999).

ISBN-10: 0517103184

ISBN-13: 978-0517103180

Charles Boutell

Arms and Armour in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

(Da Capo Press; New edition 1996, orig. 1907).

ISBN-10: 0938289624

ISBN-13: 978-0938289623

Martin J. Brayley

Bayonets: An Illustrated History

(Park Lane Books, 2012).

ISBN-10: 078582930X

ISBN-13: 978-0785829300

Rodney Hilton Brown

American Polearms 1526-1865

(Flayderman, New Milford, 1967).

Jean Jacques Buigne & Jean Lhoste

Armes Blanches: Symbolisme Inscriptions Manufactures

(Editions Du Portail; 2nd Edition edition,1999).

ISBN-10: 2865510417

ISBN-13: 978-2865510412

Richard F. Burton

The Book of the Sword

(Dover Publications Inc., New York, 1987).

ISBN: 0-486-25434-8

Michele Byam

Arms and Armour

(Eyewitness Books - Dorling Kindersley, 2003).

ISBN-10: 0751364924

ISBN-13: 978-0751364927

Lord Archibald Campbell

Scottish Swords from the Battlefield at Culloden

(Mowbray Co., 1971).

ISBN-10: 0917218043

ISBN-13: 978-0917218040

P. Carrington-Pierce

A Handbook of Court and Hunting Swords 1660-1820

(London, 1937).

Anthony Carter

World Bayonets 1800 to the Present: An Illustrated Reference Guide for Collectors

(Arms & Armour Press, Lionel Leventhal Ltd., 1984).

ISBN-10: 1854093444

ISBN-13: 978-1854093448

Anthony Carter

German Bayonets: Vol. 1 The Models 98/02 and 98/05

(Tharston Press, 1984).

ISBN-10: 0946696020

ISBN-13: 978-0946696024

Anthony Carter

German Bayonets: Vol. 2 The Models 71/84, 69/98, 71/98, 98, KS 98, 1914 and 84/98

(Tharston Press, 1991).

ISBN-10: 094669608X

ISBN-13: 978-0946696086

Anthony Carter

German Bayonets: Vol. 3 The Ersatz, Requisitioned and Captured Bayonets

(Tharston Press, 1992).

ISBN-10: 0946696101

ISBN-13: 978-0946696109

Anthony Carter

German Bayonets: Vol. 4 The Regulation Pattern Sword Bayonets 1860-1900

(Tharston Press, 1994).

ISBN-10: 094669611X

ISBN-13: 978-0946696116

Anthony Carter and John Walter

The Bayonet: A History of Knife & Sword Bayonets 1850-1970

(Arms & Armour Press, Lionel Leventhal Ltd, London, 1974).

Egerton Castle

Schools and Masters of Fence from the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century

(London, 1885, reprinted 1910, Dover Publications, 2003).

ISBN-10: 0486428265

ISBN-13: 978-0486428260

Robert Cato

Moro Swords

(Graham Brash Ltd, 1996).

ISBN-10: 9812180591

ISBN-13: 978-9812180599

John Clements

Renaissance Swordsmanship. The Illustrated Use of Rapiers and Cut and Thrust Swords

(Paladin Press,1998).

ISBN-10: 0873649192

ISBN-13: 978-0873649193

John Clements

Medieval  Swordsmanship. Illustrated Methods and Techniques

(Paladin Press,1998).

ISBN-10: 1581600046

ISBN-13: 978-1581600049

M.H. Cole

U.S. Military Knives, Bayonets and Machete - Book 3

(Privately Pub., 1979).

Gary M. Cunningham

American Military Bayonets of the 20th Century

(Scott A. Duff Publications, 1997).

ISBN-10: 1888722088

ISBN-13: 978-1888722086

Czerwinski & Dudek

Szabla Zolnierza Polskiego XIX i XX weik' Sabers of Polish Soldiers, 19th & 20th Centuries

(Warsaw, 1988) (text in Polish).

Hilda Ellis Davidson

The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England

(Boydell Press, 1998).

ISBN-10: 0851157165

ISBN-13: 978-0851157160

Jim Dawson

Swords of Imperial Japan 1868-1945

(Stenger-Scott Publishing Company, 1996).

ISBN-10: 0971912726

ISBN-13: 978-0971912724

I. D. Davidson

Bayonet Markings: A Guide for Collectors

(Private Pub., 1973).

Rollin V. Davis Jr.

U.S. Sword Bayonets 1847-1865: A Compilation of Sword Bayonets Issued to the Services of The United States Prior to and During the Civil War

(Privately Pub., 1982).

Clegg Don Furr

American Swords and Makers’ Marks

(Paragon Agency, 1999).

Bashford Dean

Catalogue of European Arms and Armour

(Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1905).

ISBN-10: 1443791830

ISBN-13: 978-1443791830

Anthony D. Darling

Weapons of the Highland Regiments

(Museum Restoration Service, 1998).

 ISBN: 0-919316-33-6

Vladimir Dolinek and Jan Durdik

The Encyclopedia of European Historical Weapons

(Hamlyn, 1993).

 ISBN: 0-600-57538-1

Edge and Paddock

Arms and Armor of the Medieval Knight

(Bison Books, 1988).

ISBN-10: 0517644681

ISBN-13: 978-0517644683

Eickhorn Catalog 1908

Exports to US and Europe

(Original publication).

Nick Evangelista

The Encyclopedia of the Sword

(Greenwood Press, 1995).

 ISBN: 0-313-27896-2

R.D.C. Evans

British Bayonet Letters Patent 1721-1961

(Privately Pub., 1991).

ISBN-10: 0951797204

ISBN-13: 978-0951797204

Charles Ffoulkes

The Armourer and His Craft

(Dover Publications Inc.; Facsimile of 1912 edition, 2003).

 ISBN-10: 0486258513

ISBN-13: 978-0486258515

Charles ffoulkes and E. C. Hopkinson

Sword, Lance and Bayonet

(Arms and Armour Press, 1967).

Stephen Fliegel

Arms and Armor: The Cleveland Museum of Art

(ABRAMS, 2008).

ISBN-10: 0940717921

ISBN-13: 978-0940717923

James D Forman

The Scottish Dirk

(Museum Restoration Service, 1993).

Richard Fuller and Ron Gregory

Military Swords of Japan 1868-1945

(Arms and Armour, 1997).

General Washington’s Swords and Campaign Equipment

(The Mt. Vernon Ladies  Association – privately published, 1948).

William Gilkerson

Boarders Away. With Steel, Naval Edged Weapons and Polearms 1626 – 1826

(Andrew Mowbray Publishing, 1991).

 ISBN: 0-917218-50-7

Erik Goldstein

The Bayonet in New France 1665-1760. Historical Arms Series No. 35

(Museum Restoration Service,1997).

ISBN-10: 0919316352

ISBN-13: 978-0919316355

Erik Goldstein

The Socket Bayonet in the British Army 1687-1783

(Andrew Mowbray Publishers, 2001).

ISBN-10: 0917218957

ISBN-13: 978-0917218958

Carol Belanger Grafton

Arms and Armor: a Pictorial Archive from Nineteenth Century Sources

(Dover Publications, 1995).

ISBN-10: 0486285618

ISBN-13: 978-0486285610

Stephen Grancsay

Catalogue of Armor: The John Woodman Higgins Armory

(David Press Inc.,1969).

D S H Gyngell

Armourer’s Marks

(Cambridge University Press, New York, 1963).

 

 

 

 

LOOK OUT FOR MY OTHER FORTHCOMING POSTS FOR AUTHORS:

H-N

O-T &

U-Z

Henry Wilkinson Sword Maker and his “Observations on Swords”

Here we find Mr Henry Wilkinson publishing a leaflet in the 1850’s entitled “Observations on Swords“.

It was a very popular publication and ran into 21 editions.

I have included some highlights.  Below that are his views on “Modern Service Swords”.

"Observations on Swords"

It is now universally admitted that if a sword is to be worn by an officer it ought to be an efficient one, especially for India.

The attempt I have made to ensure an efficient weapon has been attended with the most perfect success and I have received the greatest encouragement to proceed; my pattern swords having been approved by the Commander-in-Chief, adopted at Headquarters, both for the army and Navy and recommended by the highest authorities in England and India.

It is universally acknowledged that the manufacture of swords was never at a lower ebb in this country than at the period when I commenced my present undertaking.  Our officers returning from India can attest the numerous failures they have witnessed.  Every civilised nation in the world, except England attaches great importance to this branch of manufacture.  In the East, enormous sums are given for swords and they are handed down as heirlooms from one generation to another.  In Persia, turkey and India, from £50 to £100 is no uncommon price for a blade only; but in England £5 is often considered a high price for a sword, which may be superior to many of those so highly esteemed.

Wilkinson Sword Ledger Entries 

Russia, Austria and France pay much greater attention to the subject; and although we can surpass them in all manufactures of steel if we choose, cheapness in this country has been the principal recommendation to the seller; and the purchaser not knowing where to procure a trustworthy sword, or where to have it proved becomes indifferent, and is content to order one with his regimentals, hat or groceries, conceiving it to be completely a matter of chance. Greengrocers, Bakers or Milliners may be just as likely to sell good swords by accident as Tailors, Linendrapers, Universal Storekeepers or any other tradesmen unacquainted and unconnected with the manufacture of metals, who have of late become the principal vendors of swords to the officers of our Army and Navy, and of course know much less about the weapon they sell to their customers.

A young gentleman going to India is presented with a regulation sword, purchased along with his shirts and stockings and he only discovers, when opposed to some sturdy for the first time, that the hoop of an ale-cask would have been equally serviceable…

Wilkinson Sword Blade Forte Etching and Proof Disks

There are many essential properties in a sword besides the quality of the steel and the temper, which are unknown to makers generally, or wholly neglected, but which are most important to all who have occasion to use them; namely, the mounting, the balance, the combination of strength with lightness, and elasticity with firmness.  Every swordsman knows that a thrust is always more efficient than a cut; and a sword that is too elastic vibrates in the hand, and is more inconvenient to use than one that is firm.  An old officer of the 11th Dragoons told me that it was proverbial through all the Peninsular War, that our Dragoons who were mostly brought into the hospital with slight punctured wounds in the chest or abdomen almost invariably died.  The French Dragoons on the contrary had mostly cut or incised wounds and almost all recovered.  I have invented a sword Eprouvette which represents a power similar to but far exceeding any human force.  It is easily adjustable to every kind of sword and having ascertained by means of a dynamometer the maximum of human force in striking with a sword I subject every sword manufactured under my direction to the unerring power of my machine, which may be likened to the arm of a giant, with power sufficient to decapitate at a single stroke; to which is added the bending proof and the Toledo proof of thrusting through an iron plate thicker than a cuirasse; after which proof it is not likely these swords will ever break in any actual customer.

A sword must not be expected to fold three times round a turban or even bear bending the point to touch the hilt.  It would not be difficult to make such swords but they would be inferior for all practical purposes…

The very great patronage I have already received will stimulate me to persevere in an attempt to render the swords of this country equal, if not superior to any in the world.

 WILKINSON

Modern Service Swords

Sir; - Your article respecting the naval cutlass, which appeared in last week’s United Services Gazette, applies equally to the bad swords that our troopers are armed with, and your remarks are strikingly confirmed by the correspondents of the Daily Telegraph, who, in describing the Battle of Tamai, calls especial attention to Tommy Atkins, and the marked disadvantage at which he was placed by having a badly tempered and clumsy weapon with which to encounter a fierce, determined and better-armed foe.  And, at the same time, attention is drawn to the execution done by two officers of the Black Watch who, doubtless, when selecting their equipment were not blind to the importance of having a light, handy sword, of the best quality and fine temper.

In the regulation trooper’s sword there are points which it is evident are never studied by the powers that be – their greatest consideration being evidently economy – and, as a natural consequence, little attention is given to the quality of material and temper; and, whilst extra and unnecessary weight of metal is introduced as a substitute, too much attention is given to gauging and the fact that one part of one sword should be interchangeable with another.  This great end being achieved, the authorities seem to consider that their duty to the soldier is performed, though the actual result is to place into his hands a clumsy, badly balanced and unwieldy sword, unfit for pointing or guarding, now the recognised methods of attacks and defence; and further; than this, as they are not subjected to a proper and unvarying proof, how can we be surprised when told of their tendency to double up?  And when we read of our men successfully contending in hand-to-hand combat with Arabs who from their earliest years have been taught the use of the sword, and who possess a weapon so immeasurably superior to that served out to the poor trooper, we may truly say, in this instance at least, that ‘the man vanquished not his arms‘.

27 Pall Mall, S.W.

WILKINSON & SON

© Henry Wilkinson Sword Maker and his "Observations on Swords" article by Harvey Withers – www.antiqueswordsforsale.com

The Parts of an Antique Sword – a Guide for Collectors

Dear Sword Collector and Enthusiast.

Identifying the parts of an antique sword is important to collectors and adds to the bank of knowledge that is necessary when identifying a sword.

© Harvey Withers Military Publishing. Taken from British Military Swords 1786-1912. The Regulation Patterns. An Illustrated Price Guide for Collectors - available from www.antiqueswordsonline.com

© Harvey Withers Military Publishing. Taken from British Military Swords 1786-1912. The Regulation Patterns. An Illustrated Price Guide for Collectors - available from www.antiqueswordsonline.com

© The Parts of an Antique Sword - a Guide for Collectors article by Harvey Withers – www.antiqueswordsforsale.com

British Army Infantry Swords – the 1786/1796 Pattern

Dear Sword Collector and Enthusiast.

Here is the first in a series on the history of British Army regulation pattern swords.

This series of articles starts with the 1786/1796 Pattern Infantry Officer's Sword.  This sword became a regulation British Army pattern after the abolition of the carrying of a spontoons (polearms) by both officers and NCO's.  The Spontoon (see image below) was used primarily as a symbol of authority and a rallying point in the field of battle and was not actually an effective combat weapon in the field of battle.  The need for a sword that could be used as a proper fighting weapon was seen as essential.

Late-18th Century Infantry Officer's Spontoon

The introduction of a straight-bladed and single-fullered infantry sword was approved by King George III in 1786 and  this pattern is found with a spadroon type hilt comprising a beaded knucklebow, cushion, urn or occasionally, vase-shaped pommel and reeded ivory or ebony grip.

1786 Pattern Spadroon-hilted Infantry Officers' Swords

This early pattern was quickly superceded by the more commonly encountered 1786 Pattern Infantry Officer's Sword.  It has a gilt-brass hilt and rigid, double-shell guard, straight blade and urn-shaped pommel.  The use of a rigid shell guard proved quite impractical as it rubbed against and frayed the officer's uniform.  This practical problem was solved by the introduction of a folding guard to the hilt (1796 Pattern Infantry Officer's Sword).  The scabbard was black patent leather with gilt-brass mounts, including a frog button in the locket.

Blades were either plain or etched and with blue and gilt decoration.  The application of blue and gilt decoration to sword blades was an extremely dangerous operation as it involved the use of mercury - many workers succumbed to the noxious effects of mercury their working lives  could be quite short.  The concept of Health and Safety was not deemed a priority at this time!  Decoration to the blade included the royal cypher, royal crown, martial trophies, standing officers and foliage.

Not many swords are found with their original blueing to the blade.  Swords that retain their original blue and gilt decoration are highly prized and command considerable prices - if they come complete with original scabbard, then you might have to part with a lot of money - several thousand pounds.  It is actually not a rare sword as its service life ran from 1786-1822 and with the Napoleonic Wars occurring during this period, demand for this pattern was extremely high and so large numbers were produced.  It must be noted though that most examples encountered nowadays tend to be in a rather mediocre or poor condition, with grip wire missing or blades badly corroded and also without scabbard - because the scabbard was made from leather and prone to damage, it would have been discarded over the years.

Grips are covered in either silver twistwire or sheet silver.  There is a much rarer and plainer version for NCO's with undecorated hilt and plain blade.

1786 and 1796 Pattern Infantry Officers' Swords

One of the most common names to be found on the blade is "JJ Runkel".  This stands for John Justus Runkel, a German-born sword importer who eventually made his home in England and was responsible for importing many thousands of sword blades for the British Army.  Other maker/retailer names found on these swords include: Samuel Brunn, Woolley and Deakin, Prosser and John Salter.

© British Army Infantry Swords - the 1786/1796 Pattern article by Harvey Withers – www.antiqueswordsforsale.com

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