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Thread: Basket Hilts

  1. #76

    Walter Allan-style Stirling-hilt backsword, C.1740

    This hilt matches a known group of similar swords which diverge from the standard Scottish hilt design of the period and are associated with armourers working in Stirling – particularly James Grant and Walter Allan.

    This hilt is notable because the primary and secondary guard plates, more usually present as panels, have been replaced with diamond shaped apertures. For similar examples see Cyril Mazansky's "British Basket-Hilted Swords", Boydell Press, 2005, page 142 ref G3 and page 143 ref G3a.

    The bars to the hilt are of flattened rectangular section and are incised with lines. The pommel is finely executed with ridges of different widths which radiate from the pommel button. The blade is of plain back sword form with a single fuller. The spirally fluted wooden grip is covered with shagreen and bound with twisted brass wire.

    Although this is a rare and high quality sword in the style of Walter Allan, it is not of sufficient quality to suggest that WA made it himself. It has enough minor deficiencies in workmanship to suggest it might have come from a follower of WA but not the master.
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  2. #77

    Practice sword?

    This well-made broadsword was definitely used for a lot of practice. The cutting edge of the blade is chewed up well in the striking area. The tip of the 31 3/4-inch blade has been forged into a ball.

    The blade is held in place with a hexagonal which suggests this practice blade could be removed and replaced with an active-service blade when needed.

    Mazansky shows the hilt type C.1789, which accords with the scabbard with iron furniture and a frog button.

    Unfortunately, Mazansky does not indicate what kind of units might have had this style of sword for active use or show any of the blade.

    If anyone recognizes the type and will share information it will be appreciated.

    This sword has been in a collection somewhere; the ID no. S-4-68a is inked on the ricasso.
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  3. #78

    Trellis-hilt English cavalry backword C.1740

    The cage-style basket hilt is formed with a trellis or diamond pattern and with a large oval for the reins.

    It has a a bun shaped pommel and a wire bound fish-skin covered grip; the red-faced leather liner is present.

    The straight, double-fullered single-edged cavalry blade is 31 1/2 inches with a fuller to the tip. It is engraved on both sides FECIT HOUNSLOE. It is unusual to have an English-forged blade at time when most good sword blades were imported from Germany.

    Cage hilts appear in various configurations, of which this diamond pattern is particularly attractive.
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  4. #79
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    Very interesting example, Bob.
    mark@swordforum.com

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  5. #80

    Stand-of-Arms Cavalry Sword, 1768-80

    One of the rarest and most attractive swords of the 18th C. is this Stand-of-Arms sword, so-called by the bank of military trophies chiseled on the outside panel of the hilt.

    Made of scrolls of honeysuckle fronds and flowing bars, this sword was used by various dragoon regiments; other ranks models lacked the decoration. According to Mazansky, Pg. 209, and Charles Martyn, "The British Cavalry Sword From 1600," Pgs. 43-45, some of the baskets were two-thirds models; this one is a full basket.

    The pommel is cast in a swirling pattern and the wrist guard is in the shape of a crown. The white sharkskin grip is wrapped with copper wire.

    The single-edged blade is etched with the Royal Arms on both sides. Apparently some regiments preferred different blades. Mr. Martyn refers to a broadsword in his example, while the photo in Mazansky shows the ricasso of a multi-fullered blade.
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  6. #81

    Basket cage hilt backsword, C. 1740

    This is a more or less standard version of a cage basket hilt with parallel rounded bars vertical and horizontal.

    Mazansky devotes a section to these hilts starting on Page 183. He illustrates a number of the various configurations in which they appear.

    This sword has a Japanned hilt, black with some of the gilt decoration retained and still has its red-faced leather liner.

    The blade is lavishly etched with foliate scrolls on both sides and includes the motto: RECTE FACIENDO NEMINEM TIMENS, which translates approximately to (ACTING RIGHTLY, FEARING NONE). Even the top of the blade is decorated.
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  7. #82

    Thomas Gemmill horseman's broadsword, early 18th C.

    Thomas Gemmill was a Glasgow swordmaker who was appointed King's Armourer in 1717-18. According to Charles Whitelaw, in "Scottish Arms Makers," Gemmill signed swords as Kings Armourer and also TG & G.

    This sword is signed T G. If there was a second G it may have been deleted by the creation of the button wrist guard.

    It has a Glasgow-style basket of wide bars with a central groove. The blade of diamond-shaped cross section has elaborate etching of which very little remains legible. There is one figure of a soldier wielding a broad-bladed scimitar and an inscription in what could be Latin.

    Over-all, it is a very well made sword and an excellent early example of its type.
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  8. #83
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    279

    Brass S Bar Basket Hilt

    Hi Bob, thank you for sharing so many of your swords, please keep them coming. Rex commented that he thought we had a few but after seeing yours we feel rather inadequate. I know Eljay has a steel hilted S-Bar so I thought I would post our brass version.

    Brass S Bar Basket Hilt

    Date: Circa 1714-1750 (18th Century)
    Nationality: English/Scottish Grenadier Company
    Overall Length : 101.5 cm (40 inches)
    Blade length: 87cm (34.3 inches)
    Blade widest point: 4cm (1.6 inches)
    Hilt widest point: 12.7 cm
    Inside grip length: 10.4 cm
    Marks, etc.: Mark on Sword blade, possibly German trade mark, Darling refers to it as the Solingen anchor.

    Description
    BASKET-HILT British 1714-1750 Brass hilted backsword
    Makers mark Solingen anchor and British broad arrow signifying government property on both sides of blade. English Dragoon, plain tapering single edged blade. The brass hilt consists of a flattened, mushroom-shaped pommel with affixed tang button and a guard made up of an open-work counterguard and four narrow vertical bars whose apices are soldered to a ring into which the base of the pommel fits. The bars are interconnected by three open “S” figures thus giving more protection to the thumb and fingers. The quillon is omitted, but the counter guard’s bar bend out on both corners to protect the hand in that area. Its straight single edged blade has a 23.5 cm false edge and a 64 cm fuller. The grip is wood, its leather cover long gone and the wood shows considerable worm damage.

    General Remarks
    Note: In the lately discovered regimental History of the Queens Own Hussars (7th Light dragoons) by C.R.B. Barrett and published in tow volumes in 1914, this type of sword is stated to have been used by that regiment, but at a date no later than 1714.

    References:
    AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ARMS COLLECTORS: BOOK OF EDGED WEAPONS Mid 18th Century British Military Swords with open S Panelled Guard by Anthony D Darling pp140-154
    BEZDEK, Richard H. SWORDS AND SWORD MAKERS OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND pp 325
    DUFTY, Arthur Richard, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London Pp28 Plate 69 (c).
    LENKIEWICZ, Zygmunt S. 1000 Marks of European Blade Makers Pp1
    MARTYN, C. THE BRITISH CAVALRY SWORD FROM 1600. pp50
    Mazansky – Cyrill British basket Hilted Swords Pp212, Fig IVA4, 216 Fig IVBC3 (c1725-50)
    NEUMANN, George G. Swords & Blades of the American Revolution Pp 152 plate 272s.
    WAGNER, Eduard, SWORDS AND DAGGERS Pp102, plate 70.
    WALLIS & WALLIS Connoisseur Collectors Sale Spring 1996 1/5/96 Lot 128

    Cheers Cathey and Rex
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  9. #84
    I remembered that I had photos of another one of those 1600s baskets. This one showed up here on SFI several years ago, and the owner (?) was wondering what it was. The pommel is gone, the grip is replaced, the blade is worn and repaired, but this is still an interesting sword. The blade has an "ER" stamp at the forte, presumably Elizabeth Regina, so would date in the late 1500s.
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  10. #85
    Scottish brass basket hilted back sword, hilt made up of incised flattened bars and diamond pattern shields consisting of four open diamonds. Total length 39.5 inches, 101 cms; single fullered, spear point blade, 33 inches, 84 cms, without marks. The diamond pattern is a little reminiscent of a Walter Allan of Stirling hilt in the National Museum of Scotland (see Mazansky, type G3A, p.143) Does anyone have any thoughts on approximate date?

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  11. #86
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
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    Hi Eljay,

    I remember this sword, very interesting example. If it where mine I would be tempted to replace the pommel, I am sure it would have been a wheel configuration. Being stamped with the ER is a real bonus, as you say it gives us a strong indication of the date of this example.

    Maybe one day one will surface in Australia if I am lucky.

    Cheers Cathey and Rex

  12. #87
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
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    Hi Alan,

    Very interesting hilt on this one, it certainly looks to be in the Stirling style. The diamond pattern is very unusual. Do you have any thought as to the date of this one? Thanks for joining this post the more the merrier. After seeing the quality and volume of the swords posted so far, Rex has actually stopped telling me I have too many Basket hilts.

    Cheers Cathey and Rex

  13. #88
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Madrid, Spain
    Posts
    1,412
    Hi to all,

    Not a British basket, but a relative after all. And military, of course. A Venetian schiavona, circa 1630 (Oakeshott's type 2). Some stats:

    Blade length, 883 mm (probably for use on horse)
    Blade max width, 40.5 mm
    Total hilt length, 190 mm
    Balance, 97 mm from the hilt
    Weight, 1075 gr

    It bears the stamp of the Doge's armoury, and has a swallow cut in the ricasso to allow enough room to place the index finger. Which is the proper way to wield these particular baskets, after all...

    A few pictures, showing some construction details.

    Juan J.
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    SI, SI
    NO, NON

  14. #89

    17th Century Basket hilt

    Attachment 135651Attachment 135651Attachment 135651Hello Cathey,
    Excellent topic, would have pitched in earlier if it wasn't for work commitments but here we go. The basket hilt is similar to the one excavated at Jamestown as highlighted by forum member Mr Erikson . Have done some research since the sword was last on the forum and I must thank the Baron of Earlshall for his expert contribution.
    The blade with it's Elizabethan stamp is possibly pre-1566 (see Tudor proclamation for sword length dated 12th feb 1566 ) is 45.75 ins long with a clean break and subsequent repair at 39.5 ins. Basket is 5ins wide, turned back quillon and missing it's disc pommel, grip is a recent replacement. The sword has an overall length of 50.75 ins. In conclusion my research has led me to indicate an Elizabethan rapier blade made prior to 1566 mated to an early Lowland Scottish hilt made prior to 1607.The Tudor design still present at forte so possibly 1603 whilst still under Elizabethan rule ( james 1st succeeded Elizabeth 1st on march 24th 1603 ).
    Regards,
    PS see photo's on E B Eriksons reply the red wine is making my computer skills worse ! Paul..
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    Last edited by paul griffiths; 05-01-2015 at 03:59 AM. Reason: to add photo,s

  15. #90
    Hello Paul,
    Thanks for posting; for the research that you did, and thanks for the measurements; that's a long blade.
    Will you have a pommel made for it (I agree with Cathey on the pommel)? It looks rather naked without one.

    Juan,
    That's a very nice Schiavona: so many of them have unmarked and rather nondescript blades.

    --ElJay

    --ElJay

  16. #91

    Early 18th C. dragoon sword, Serpent Sword"

    A rare early 18th century basket hilted military backsword, C.1716.

    The basket is composed of a number of vertical bars, five of which incorporate 'S' shaped bars, each terminal of the 'S' bars is in the form of a serpent's or dragon's head and there is a large oval horseman's ring on the inside of the basket, the pommel is bun shaped, with an almost spherical tang button and it stands in a pommel ring attached to the arms of the hilt, the spirally grooved wooden grip has iron ferrules, top and bottom and there is a fragment of a liner at the base of the basket.

    The unmarked 36-inch blade has a wide fuller running its entire length and a narrow fuller close to the back of the blade for 2/3 of its length, the remaining third of the blade is double edged

    The scabbard is formed of two laths of wood, Japanned and gilded, it has no belt attachments, so must have been carried in a leather outer case, probably attached to the saddle. The gilt decoration on the lower portion has, on one side, a two handed sword and on the other side, an arrow.

    In a 2009 auction, this sword was listed as the type carried by the "Earl of Stairs Dragoons." A world-renowned expert rejected this, saying it was of a type carried by various dragoon regiments and could not be pinpointed with any one of them.

    However, the thistle among the gilt scabbard decorations suggests a definite Scottish connection.
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  17. #92
    Hello Eljay,
    I'm glad that you appreciated my contribution to this interesting topic. I am going to leave the sword ' as is ' even though I have had a very tempting offer by a skilled repairer to fabricate a replacement pommel. The sword is like a magnet when you take it to arms fairs and I have been privileged to have seen some very nice swords as a result,it really is amazing what's out there !
    Regards,
    Paul..

  18. #93
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    279

    Scottish Basket-Hilt Circa 1720 (18th Century)

    Hi Paul, great sword with or without a pommel, thanks for sharing. Rex and I are sitting in an apartment in Melbourne having just come back from a two day auction. We carried an empty gun case over on the plane from Adelaide and will be taking it home with five new swords including one basket hilt and significantly less funds.

    I thought it was time I popped another contribution up.

    Scottish Basket-Hilt Circa 1720 (18th Century)
    Overall Length: 96 cm (37.8 inches)
    Blade length: 83 cm (32.7 inches)
    Blade widest point: 4 cm. (1.6 inches)
    Hilt widest point: 11.5 cm
    Inside grip length: 9.6 cm
    Marks, etc.: Blade marked "Andria Farara" in the centre followed by the mark that appears to be that of the German blade smith Stam Johannes c1612.

    Description
    Basket Hilt-Scottish-c1720. Early Scottish basket hilted broadsword. Hilt has typical pierced heart decoration but no holes and no wrist guard. The blade predates the hilt and is a broad sword blade with three narrow fullers marked "Andria Farara" in the centre followed by the mark that appears to be that of the German blade smith Stam Johannes c1612. Overall length is 37.16" 96 cm. Blade is 32.12 " 83 cm. Width at widest point is 1.5 " 4 cm.

    References:
    LENKIEWICZ, Zygmunt S. 1000 SWORD MARKS OF EUROPEAN BLADEMAKERS Pp 65.

    Cheers Cathey and Rex
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  19. #94

    Walter Allan Stirling broadsword with a Jacobite blade

    This is a typical elaborate Walter Allan signed Stirling basket hilt of the second quarter of the 18th C. The blade is etched on both sides with elaborate Jacobite decorations.

    The hilt is somewhat pitted and the blade inscriptions are very well worn. The inscriptions are the same as the blade illustrated in The Swords & The Sorrows which is in much better condition.
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  20. #95
    Bob's "serpent sword" jogged my memory: I realized that I had seen one of those in a Wallis and Wallis auction, and that I had the catalog around here somewhere. So after some digging around, I located and scanned the pertinent pages of the catalog for your enjoyment.
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  21. #96
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    279

    Scottish Backsword c1725-40

    Hi Guys, here’s another one though very ordinary when compared with those posted by Bob and Eljay.

    Overall Length: 103 cm (40.6 inches)
    Blade length: 88 cm (34.6 inches)
    Blade widest point: 3.5 cm (1.4 inches)
    Hilt widest point: 15.1 cm (5.9 inches)
    Inside grip length: 10.7 cm (4.2 inches)

    Description
    SCOTTISH BACKSWORD: flat backed 34½" single edged blade with single fuller & silver grey patina; hand wrought Glasgow style basket slightly loose; wooden spiral grooved grip with some borer damage, lacking covering but retains buff leather hand protection inside front of basket; brown patina mixed with areas of silvery patina to basket; c.1725-40.

    General Remarks
    The Baron of Earlshall Notes: in his letter 15/5/08
    This sword appears to be a good example of what I describe in my book as the “Conventional Basket Hilt” I.e. with a pattern of 4 pierced hearts on the junction plates, with 4 circular holes in each corner, and a pair of opposed pierced hearts separated by twin circular holes on knuckle guard and side plates. This is in many ways the classical Scottish sword which appears not only in the last quarter of the 17th century but up to after the 1745 rising, continuing in the British Army cavalry until the 1760’s. However yours is Scottish and while the date is speculative I personally would date it slightly later – without having personally examined it to 1725-40. It appears to be a good honest example.”

    Cheers Cathey and Rex
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  22. #97

    Mid-18th C. "Fish" Hilt Dragoon Sword, C 1750-60

    This is the type of sword Eljay posted in the 1998 Wallis & Wallis sale catalogue. Mazansky also describes it on Page 179 of "British Basket-Hilted Swords." Neumann pictures an example in "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution," Page 251, No. 271S.

    It is one of the most attractive cavalry hilts of the period. I call it the "Fish Sword" because of the styled shells, salmon figures, engraved in full detail, used between the Roman arches. The single-edged blade, which is very sharp, is marked Andrea Ferrara on both sides.
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  23. #98
    Hi Bob,
    That "Fish" hilt is probably my favorite style of English basket. In spite of that, every time I've had a shot at purchasing one I either get outbid, or if it's not an auction, don't have the $$ on hand. Oh well, maybe someday!

  24. #99
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    279

    Glasgow Scottish Basket Hilted Backsword- Fox Mark H Only

    Hi Guys

    As I mentioned, Rex and I went to Melbourne for an Arms and Armour Auction last weekend. Apart from a number of nice Georgian swords, I had targeted an early Basket hilt which I was fortunate enough to secure. The hilt is reasonably early, probably around 1707, however the blade marked with a Fox with a H over the forelegs is probably latter.

    This brings me back to the old question which Harvey used just the H over the forelegs on the familiar fox marking. Was the S dropped off or did the S come latter. I have seen plenty with SH for Samuel Harvey and have begun to wonder it the absence of the S represents an earlier Harvey such as Joseph.

    Glasgow Scottish Basket Hilted Backsword
    Date: Hilt Circa 1707, blade may be latter
    Maker/Retailer: Blade made by Harvey
    Overall Length: 39 1/4” 99.7 cm fuller 24 3/8” 62 cm
    Blade length: 33” 84 cm
    Blade widest point: 1 ½” 3.7 cm
    Hilt widest point: 4 ½” 11.2 cm
    Inside grip length: 4 ¼” 10.7 cm
    Marks, etc.: Stamped with a fox with H over the forelegs.

    Description
    Glasgow hilt with Cone shaped Pommel, Shields and Guards have bracket cut with central lobes to the edge, Shield and Guard piercings include darts mounted by two circles, other circles and engraved lines. The two shields are pierced by a central star of four points, surrounded by darts mounted by two circles. There is no wrist guard or horseman’s ring. The grip is wood with brass wire. The backsword blade is stamped with a fox with H over the forelegs.

    General Remarks
    No Horseman’s ring in the guard

    References:
    MAZANSKY (C.) BRITISH BASKET-HILTED SWORDS: A TYPOLOGY OF BASKET-TYPE SWORD HILTS pp102 F5c, 109 F13b, 113 F15

    Cheers Cathey and Rex
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  25. #100

    Walter Allan signature

    Has anyone ever seen a signed Walter Allan sword with only the initials 'W A' rather than WA over S (for Stirling)? One went through the Lyon and Turnbull Jacobite sale in Edinburgh this week. The WA initials were incised rather than stamped and the font style looked more early 19th century to me, although in keeping with the incised markings on the guards. Alas didn't take a photo and the catalogue entry doesn't show them:

    http://auctions.lyonandturnbull.com/...+139+/++171827

    Maybe Walter just had an off day, but it sold for £3250 nevertheless.

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