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Thread: Curious engraving on an early Wilkinson

  1. #1
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    Curious engraving on an early Wilkinson

    Hello chaps,
    I would appreciate some advice. I have picked up an 1855 dated Wilkinson - an 1854 pattern to the Coldstream Guards with a non-regulation straight double-edged thrusting blade. It is numbered 6900, though I have yet to obtain the ledger entry. Now the question is, what might this engraving (not etching) on the blade be? I initially assumed it was a word in something like Urdu, but I am now wondering if they are stylised name initials. Opinions appreciated!





    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
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    The Guards were in the Crimea at the time this was made, maybe some meaning behind it? Almost the same as my Guards Wilkinson # 6695 with Toledo blade. The blade shapes may be for better penetration of Russian winter coats.

  3. #3
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    The first letter looks Hindi, the letter E but upside down.

  4. #4
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    http://www.google.ca/imgres?hl=en&sa...,r:3,s:0,i:159

    This one contains all the marks: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=...QEwAg&dur=2581

    some marks are letters, others vowels and consonants
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 12-09-2012 at 09:42 AM.

  5. #5
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    Sword made 1855

    Could be G H S
    On the other hand it could be the initals in the Hindoo language.
    I attach a part of the page of Henry Wilkinsons Notebook showing lettering of some gun and sword inscriptions for comparison. I still go with Initials perhaps in Hindoo
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 12-09-2012 at 11:11 AM.

  6. #6
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    I agree, they look like Hindi characters when the picture is flipped upside down.
    Cheers,
    Mike

  7. #7
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    I'm not sure but I think Nepalese is read from right to left.

  8. #8
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    Thanks guys! Fascinating stuff - I see the Hindi letters have the line at the top, so perhaps they should be viewed this way up, as Mike suggested:


  9. #9
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    Wow okay, they are definitely Hindi letters or some other Indian dialect.
    The first and second characters seem to relate to the sounds 'ra' and 'pha'.

  10. #10
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    According to friends of mine, these are letters which *may* correspond to I F I or perhaps I F II or E F E in Devanagari. I can't see anyone in Hart's in the Coldstreams who might correspond to that, so far..

  11. #11
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    The engraving may have been added a few years or more later?
    The characters retain fine details, thought the blade appears to have been cleaned over the years and the Wilkinson etching is worn.
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 12-09-2012 at 12:28 PM.

  12. #12
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    Maybe, but the VR cypher on the other side is also engraved and looks just the same. Got a photo of your Toledo to share, Will?
    Last edited by Matt Easton; 12-09-2012 at 01:10 PM.

  13. #13
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    Here are a few pics of 6695



    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 12-09-2012 at 01:21 PM. Reason: add photo

  14. #14
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    Lovely sword Will and very close in date to mine. Mine isn't a Toledo style blade - I don't know what you'd call it.. sort of like an HAC sword but with a 'step'. It handles pretty much like an 1895 pattern:











    Mine has a scabbard as well, silver plated.

    Matt

  15. #15
    I believe it is a straight "Percy" pattern blade.

  16. #16
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    Very nice "VR" and different Wilkinson etching. Good thick iron guard that recurves, not like the later plain ones of mild steel.
    The "VR" appears to be engraved as the foreign characters are. Must be a good story there.
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 12-09-2012 at 02:39 PM.

  17. #17
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    Thanks Jonathan, yes that seems to be the type. Never seen one with the 'step' before though and I can't really see a sensible purpose for it, as it is sharp edged both above and below the 'step', not blunt in the forte like a Toledo.
    Matt

  18. #18
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    Is the "step" from subsequent sharpenings and not factory?

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    Hard to see in the photos from the brightness. I have a 1888p bayonet with modified diamond shaped blade, done by machine , not by hand. Could the sword have been modified with a keener edge when the engraving was added?
    Hopefully the Wilkinson proof page will have answers.

  21. #21
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  22. #22
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    The officer must have known that there was a good chance he would have had to use it to preserve his life.
    In Nepal and area I think it was a necessity to carry a fighting sword, not to mention the Crimea.

  23. #23
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    The side where the HW naming etch is has initials with the 7 ball coronet.

    The following are the norm
    Earl - 8 silver balls
    Viscount- 16 silver balls
    Baron =6 silver balls

    So perhaps wrongly engraved or perhaps the Viscount coronet only showing the front?????

    Have you got the Proof Docket yet? If so I would be thrilled to see it to see what it says. Let's hope that John Latham or Henry Wilkinson filled in the details!!!
    Robert
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 12-10-2012 at 05:31 AM.

  24. #24
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    Wow, I thought that was just a stylised version of the VR cypher! I have been hammering away at various editions of Hart's list and I have a few possible candidates, but the Indian letters are mysterious. They correspond to the sounds 'I', 'PH' and 'EE'. Probably.. I feel that whoever had this sword engraved must have had some connection to India, which gives a few candidates in the Coldstreams (of officers who had transfered from other regiments). Of course it is entirely possible that this blade was married to a different hilt when first made in 1855 and was re-hilted a few years later.

    Just to be clear, are the letters under the coronet the owner's initials, or VR?

    I have sent off for the Wilkinson ledger page this morning, so hopefully will have it by the end of the week.
    Many thanks Robert,
    Matt

  25. #25
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    The Wilkinson ledger page can be photographed and emailed, seems simple enough and would lessen your (our) wait?

    It makes sense that it's the owners initials, if he wanted a VR it would have been etched at Wilkinsons

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