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Thread: Scots Grey sword. Restore or leave?

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Knight View Post
    I have found out some information about the person who owned the sword at the time of WW1. It was a family piece:

    Corporal Douglas S. Edward of the Royal Engineers 7th Div. no. 161783.
    Apparently he was of Scottish decent.
    He subsequently moved to The Netherlands.

    I have checked 'The Waterloo Roll call' and can only find a George Edwards not Edward.

    Ian
    Could still be the same name Ian.
    They weren't too fussy about spelling after all, and he might have spelled his name with an 'X' anyway.

  2. #52
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    Very true David.

    Ian

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wilkinson-Latham View Post

    Only 6 troops went to the Netherlands to join Wellington -- 4 remaining at Ipswich.

    Actually It was the Barracks in Maningtree 8 miles outside Ipswich at the time

    Its just marked in most records as Ipswich as Maningtree is quite small...from there they crossed the fields opposite where I sit at this moment in time, on the way to Harwich to transfer over seas
    Last edited by dominic grant; 06-09-2010 at 04:34 AM.
    “Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the spirit.” Napoleon Bonaparte

  4. #54
    I am a collector of both guns, swords, documents etc from this period....I think adding anything to this sword would devalue it and take away from its HONEST history and appearance. Personally I wouldn't buy anything that has been messed with...your sword is an honest piece which is getting harder and harder to find!!!!!... it shows its age for two hundred years which would be expected...personally I would leave it alone. I also see a trend in the musket market...muskets that have been cleaned, and or messed with are becoming less desirable than ones that may be a little rough and dirty..BUT...are good honest pieces for the period. Are we not preserving history not trying to change it by making things look pretty, its wear is part of its history? I find swords untouched hold far more weight.
    Last edited by Brian Rollason; 06-09-2010 at 09:55 AM.

  5. #55
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    Leave it alone

    I agree Brian. I like to see honest wear and damage. I normally leave things as I find them except for stabilizing them. I did restore one very rare Confederate sword because someone recently had gone after the blade with a bench grinder. But except for modern damage, I think it is part of the history.

  6. #56
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    view marks, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wilkinson-Latham View Post
    Inspection and View marks as we know them started in around 1788 when instructions were issued for stamps or punches to be made. These were to be issued to Board of Ordnance viewers for military goods. Many of these were for firearms but some were obviously intended to be used on swords as well.
    Joseph Witton was paid for having made viewers marks and the document in the PRO states there were 7 designs, small crown and cross sceptres (For firearms), crown alone and a crown above the figures 1,3,4,6 and 8. the price was 1/6d (one shilling and sixpence) (PRO WO.52/34 p 135)
    Robert- I've been doing a bit more reading on the crown arrow mark. Take a look at Erik Goldstein's "The Socket Bayonet in the British Army 1687-1783." The crown over arrow mark (an ownership mark)shows up at the very beginning of the 18th century. The view mark of a crown over a number starts in 1738 according to Erik. The crown over arrow mark continues to be used as well as the view mark, but more normally found on muskets instead of edged weapons. I'm a bit surprised this sword doesn't have a crown over number view mark on it. It might have at one time, but has worn away. I think the order for stamps you see in 1788 were replacement stamps. The Crown 4,5, & 6 view marks are often found of 1750s vintage bayonets, long before 1788.

    BTW, this is a bit of an aside about these markings. I see nothing in the swords markings that are inconsistent with its reported age.

  7. #57
    Ian...I also think by adding a new grip it would add unwarranted suspicion to its originality.

  8. #58
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    Thanks for your comments guys.
    I have had another good look at the grip under a magnifying glass and it isn't original. Also, someone has driven a small nail either side through the ears and into the wood.
    Had the grip been original and in this state I would have left it well alone but I have taken the tough decision to replace the grip.
    Doing this won't detract from the sword in my opinion because it has been 'messed' with in the past. Perhaps that was part of the swords history, but my replacement grip will also be in a few years time.
    I will make sure that the grip doesn't look out of place.
    I will be taking photos of the various stages of the grip's construction. If anyone thinks it might be of interest to them I will post a thread when it is completed.

    The sword will remain in my own collection and not be sold on at any time.

    Ian

  9. #59
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    Not be sold

    Ian,

    You can do what you want with your sword. There is nothing unethical about replacing the grip unless it is being done to fool someone. But, why would you say it will stay in your collection and not be sold on. Unless you are planning to live forever, it will move on to another collection pretty quickly in the life span of the sword. The sword is 200 years old give or take. Even if you will the sword to a museum, it is likely to be sold. The vast majority of items donated to museums are sold eventually. So, by all means replace the grip if you want (I think most collectors would replace it), but you should realize it will very likely go on to another collector someday.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Knight View Post
    Thanks for your comments guys.
    I will be taking photos of the various stages of the grip's construction. If anyone thinks it might be of interest to them I will post a thread when it is completed.
    Ian
    I vote that you either do this as an article or get a moderator to make it a "stickey" thread.

    ... of course, you'll get the hate mail about it.

  11. #61
    I have an 1804 cutlass that has an arrow with crown over it as well...I have seen this on several swords...as with muskets it means inspected approved and purchased....now the property of the Government.

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by WBranner View Post
    I vote that you either do this as an article or get a moderator to make it a "stickey" thread.

    ... of course, you'll get the hate mail about it.
    Wayne,
    I am fabricating a new grip as we speak. I'm taking photos of the construction and will write a explanation to go with them. I'm not saying this is the right way to make a grip but it is the method that I use and it seems to get quite good results. I am quite fussy and won't fit the grip if it doesn't look right. I would be happy to hear member's comments once they have read it and seen the finished grip in situ.
    I am sure that other collectors would have preferred to have left the grip as it was but it wasn't original and didn't look good. Many might have swords in their collections with replacement grips without even realising it.
    The new grip isn't meant to 'fool' anyone. I have photos of the sword as I bought it and these will remain with the sword as part of its history.


    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Knight; 06-11-2010 at 03:41 AM.

  13. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Gibson View Post
    Robert- I've been doing a bit more reading on the crown arrow mark. Take a look at Erik Goldstein's "The Socket Bayonet in the British Army 1687-1783." The crown over arrow mark (an ownership mark)shows up at the very beginning of the 18th century. The view mark of a crown over a number starts in 1738 according to Erik. The crown over arrow mark continues to be used as well as the view mark, but more normally found on muskets instead of edged weapons. I'm a bit surprised this sword doesn't have a crown over number view mark on it. It might have at one time, but has worn away. I think the order for stamps you see in 1788 were replacement stamps. The Crown 4,5, & 6 view marks are often found of 1750s vintage bayonets, long before 1788.

    BTW, this is a bit of an aside about these markings. I see nothing in the swords markings that are inconsistent with its reported age.
    The mark shows up on stuff brought up from the Mary Rose, so it dates back further than that. There is a story that it originated with the Edward IIIs vintner who marked hogs heads of wine fit for the Palace with part of his own coat of arms - a broad arrow, that would put the mark's origin around 1327.

    David

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rollason View Post
    I have an 1804 cutlass that has an arrow with crown over it as well...I have seen this on several swords...as with muskets it means inspected approved and purchased....now the property of the Government.
    I harbour grave suspicions that the absolute equation of "marked = government owned" was true for all periods.

    I would say rather, at least for the Napoleonic period that "marked = having passed the government sanctioned tests."

    I suspect that anyone wanting a blade or sword subjected to the government test could submit it. In particular I have a 1796 P light cavalry officer's sword with a crown over 1 mark to the blade. The sword is of typical officer weight, made by Johnstons of 8 Newcastle St. Strand (cartouche on scabbard), typical Johnstons' square langets, comma ears and a wire-wrapped grip. The scabbard even has an old, slightly pitted, indent from the bottom of the inner square langet - so the sword and scabbard are an original pairing.

    The sword could have been bought into government ownership from the original owner, but I think that it is more likely that a cautious buyer wanted the sword subjected to the government tests before buying from the sword cutler.
    Sweord ora ond sweordes ecg.

  15. #65
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    View Marks

    I think you are right about having the government inspectors pass a volunteer or private purchase item. However, the inspector would stamp a view mark crown over number as on your sword. The crown over arrow or BO with arrow are not inspection marks, but governmen ownership marks. If I understand this all correctly.

  16. #66
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    Nearly there. I'm not 100% happy with it so I may make another.
    About 12 hours work to get this far.


    Ian
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  17. #67
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    I'd say that's looking pretty good.

  18. #68
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    Thanks Wayne.

    There are the initials 'IR' on the tang. Would I be correct in assuming that thes are the initials of Issac Reddell? The back of the blade is marked 'BIRMm'

    Ian

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Knight View Post
    Thanks Wayne.

    There are the initials 'IR' on the tang. Would I be correct in assuming that thes are the initials of Issac Reddell? The back of the blade is marked 'BIRMm'

    Ian
    Ian
    Seems a good assumption to me

  20. #70
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    Is the spine script possibly gone with age? I've seen Redell spine scripts before although I can't remember them saying Redell Birmm

  21. #71
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    I don't think that there was anything on the back of the blade apart from 'BIRMm'

    Ian

  22. #72
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    Very nice sword, Ian. I am torn on this. It is becoming more and more acceptable in the American Civil War sword collecting ranks to restore grips. Then again, the lack of the grip is part of the sword's history.
    I can't remember on this sword, but wasn't the wooden core wrapped with cord toform the "ridges" of the grip? To me, the challenge is to get leather thin enough to duplicate the original grip and to age it to where it looks proper. IMO, a brand new grip on a non-pristine sword looks funny.

    We have all seen good regrips and bad regrips. Even a good regrip will reduce value somewhat, though. For this sword, the question is will a good regrip improve the value over the state that it is? Real question, however, Ian is for you to decide -- do you like the aesthetics of the sword as is? In other words, would it be more pleasing to your eye regripped or is the historical signficance of the sword enough to satisfy you?
    Andre F. Ducote
    Mississippi

  23. #73
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    Thanks Andre.
    I was in two minds about replacing the grip but as the grip wasn't original to the sword I thought it acceptable. In the antiques world it is deemed acceptable to have an item such as a painting restored without effecting its value. In some cases a valuation of an antique increases upon professional restoration.

    I believe that grips of this type could be cord bound or ribbed wood. I chose to use the ribbed wood method as I have made grips of this type in the past.
    I am not 100% happy with the finished result and will probably have another try in a while.
    You are correct in saying that the leather covering is the key to achieving a good result, which is part of the reason that I am thinking of remaking the grip using a piece of skiver leather this time. I have only loosely fittted the hilt at the moment so the sword can be pulled apart easily.
    The leather that I have used on my grips is very thin but does have a slight grain which doesn't look quite right.
    Original grips do have that hard, shiny and worn look which I will practice at achieving. Maybe using an old piece of aged leather might be the answer?
    Another solution would be to find a P1796 light cavalry sword in poor condition and use the grip from that as a replacement but having made four grips now I can see that this wouldn't be as straight forward as you would imagine. They have all been slightly different in some way. The length, the width, the curve on the backpiece, the size of the ferrule, the shape and dimensions of the tang, the way the knuckleguard connects with the backpiece at the pommel etc.

    I don't believe that my replacing the grip will have too much effect on the value, but I'm not really concerned about that. I just want to be fully happy with the end result so that the grip looks original to the sword.

    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Knight; 06-16-2010 at 02:00 AM.

  24. #74
    I think, thin leather, aging and making it shiny before you make the grips is the key.
    Last edited by Brian Rollason; 06-16-2010 at 05:06 AM.

  25. #75
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    I think that might be worth trying next time Brian.

    Ian

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