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Thread: Help identifying and dating possible Russian Niello silver sabre?

  1. #1

    Help identifying and dating possible Russian Niello silver sabre?

    Hi Forum
    Just purchased a silver "niello" stirrup hilted sabre with two langets which I would like to identify.The blade is plane and unmarked but the scabbard has three silver niello looking chapes.The silver hilt has no silver markings to identify the maker. I used to own a silver hilted shasqua and the work on the scabbard mounts looks very similar to that sword but my hilt is not typical and resembles the 1788 pattern but is obviously not British in origin.The grip is of smooth horn.
    I would like your opinion as to firstly, if it is indeed Russian, and, secondly, the likely age of the sword.I would guess about the mid 19th century or earlier judging by the style of the hilt but Eastern weapons often look older than they are. There is a long slit at the edge of the top chape to accommodate the entry of the curved blade into the scabbard, Eastern style.Could it be Turkish in origin?
    The images will give you a better idea.
    Thanks for your help.

    ps Just as a long shot, the hilt feels French circa 1800.On carefully cleaning the three silver chapes, the darkened areas may not be niello but polished patina.Hope this observation doesn`t confuse!
    Attached Images Attached Images           
    Last edited by CullyPettigrew; 03-06-2015 at 09:46 AM.

  2. #2
    Am I in the wrong forum?
    Surprised not to have received a reply.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    I very much like the design of your sword. It does not look Russian to me though. The blade and scabbard more looks Turkish to me, the hilt could be German/French/British and in my view is rather pre-Napoleonic 1790-1810s...That would be either Austrian/Hungarian with contact to the Turks, the French with the Egyptian campaign or British/Indian/Persian.

    Best regards
    Non soli cedit!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Madrid, Spain
    I think that the Russian connection is still a firm possibility. Many western-style Russian sabres from the 18th and 19th centuries had Ottoman or Persian blades, or at least had strong Islamic influences. They shared a good border with the Ottoman Empire, too. In the Armoury at the Kremlin it is possible to see several high-end examples.

    In fact, the hilt has some flavour of a Middle-East artisan's work, when trying to reproduce a western hilt. Just an opinion.

    Juan J.
    Last edited by Juan J. Perez; 03-09-2015 at 03:51 PM.
    SI, SI
    NO, NON

  5. #5
    Thank you both for your thoughts.
    The scabbard top chape has a slit from the throat six inches down the back edge to facilitate the blade entry and which you see on Persian weapons.I originally thought that the scabbard was niello work but on cleaning, there is no niello bluing, just silver. I once owned a fully silvered Niello sword so have some experience with this type of finish. The silver work is quite thin, but heavily worked with much detail.It resembles the work on this Russian sabre. and when tapped has a light, thin tinny feel.
    The hilt is very much from the English 1788 pattern,which may indicate a pre-1800 date,but I have no knowledge if that pattern was used elsewhere in Europe and for how long.
    The hilt is definitely silver with traces of gilt, with silver mounts on the scabbard. There are no makers marks whatsoever. Pretty sure it is not English...thought maybe French.

  6. #6
    Just an update. I have sent images to a well known arms auctioneer in Europe and he feels it is Austrian or Hungarian circa 1780 to 1800.

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