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Thread: Basket Hilts

  1. #126
    Here's my next basket.

    English, ca. 1620

    32 1/2" de blade, with short central fuller.

    Excavated condition, but retains part of the grip and both brass wire Turk's head knots. The knucklebows are screwed to the pommel. Interestingly, this basket has the feature of a screw-on capstan. Most hilts of this basic pattern are dated in the late 1500s, but I date this one to the 1620s because of the total lack of the long quillions that characterize earlier examples.

    An interesting feature of this sword (and something that I didn't think to photograph!) is what looks like langets at the blade shoulder. However, what appears to be langets are actually a repair. This blade apparently broke right where the tang meets the shoulder. The repair was effected by making a tang that has ears protruding on either side of the blade. The blade was inserted
    between the ears and the whole welded back together. I'll be able to access my collection again in a few weeks, and will try to remember to photograph the repair.
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  2. #127
    Another one.

    English? Scottish? Probably dates 1680 - 1720 or so.

    31 1/2" de blade with two narrow fullers extending about 8" down the blade. No stamps or inscriptions are present.

    Hilt of fairly typical form for the late 1600s with plain unpierced panels with some simple filed/engraved lines. The grip appears to be original. An interesting feature of this sword is that rivets have been used to reinforce the hammer welds (see last photo). However, there's also an additional hole by the blade, and what is this hole for??? Securing the liner?
    This is one of the lightest basket hilted swords I have seen. The hilt is composed of rather thin elements, and the weight of the sword is about 1.8 pounds.
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  3. #128
    The first of my Mortuary swords. This one may not even qualify as a basket or half basket (not enough protective bars making up the hilt), but since Mazansky covers Morts in his book, this sword is not inappropriate for this thread!

    Mid 1600s in date, with a 32 3/4" de blade inscribed on one side "+ SOLIDEO +" and the other side "+ GLORIA +".

    What makes this sword of interest is that it has a thumbring, a feature not found commonly on English swords. The hilt decoration is composed of four grotesque faces, and foliage with some sparse piercings. The grip is one of my restorations, and the diagonal lines seen in places on the blade are artifacts of where some idiot in the past used an angle grinder on it.
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  4. #129
    English, early 1700s.

    30" se straight blade with a single back fuller, stamped on both sides with a running fox and SH.

    This is apparently a grenadier's baskethilt of the 23rd Regiment: the Royal Welsh Fusileers. The grip is of embossed brass, each side with a crown, POW feathers, the motto "ICH DIEN", and a Hanoverian horse. Neumann shows this same grip design on an S hilted hanger (sword 26S), which is dated to about 1745. I think that the sword shown here is a pattern used ca 1700 by the 23rd. The blade is not shortened, and the fuller ends about 7" from the blade tip.

    Mazansky shows several hilts of this type in his book.
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  5. #130

    Early 17th C. basket hilt with decorative pierced plates between the front bars

    Although an early type of basket, this sword also shows a very early use of a conical pommel, which does actually belong to the sword and is not "associated." The hilt could date from late 16th into the early 17th C.c

    The piercing in the two plates inset into the front of the basket are unusual in that such plates are usual solid, as are the four plates on the bottom of the hilt The grip is bound with iron wire.

    The 31 1/2-inch broadsword blade is early and inscribed ANDRIA FERARA, with various dots and "eyebrow" marks, in addition the are the remains of marks on the ricasso.

    The closest similar swords I could find are A18b and A18c in Mazansky, pate 60.

    This sword has been in an English collection for many years but the previous owner undertook an excessive cleaning. Fortunately, the pommel button and the area around it retain their original patina.
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  6. #131
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
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    284
    Hi Eljay and Bob

    Very interesting group of swords, in particular I would love to see more detailed pictures of #129 the brass hilt on English Grenadiers sword. I have never seen a grip decorated like this before.

    Also post #130 the Early 17th century Basket with the decorative pierced plates in extremely interesting, thanks for the detailed pictures Bob. Unfortunately it appears that many swords coming out of England have been subject to excessive cleaning, personally I always prefer the original patina but we can’t have everything.

    Cheers Cathey and Rex

  7. #132
    Bob,
    Nice early 1600s basket, and it shows the "bite" out of the quillion that is very characteristic of English swords of this period (I've seen this quillion treatment on a left hand dagger, and a large, simple hilted broadsword in addition the ones seen on baskets).

    Cathey,
    I'll be able to access my collection next week and will remember to get some better shots of the grip for you.

    --ElJay

  8. #133
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    284

    Regulation “Howard” Cavalry Basket hilt c1748-65

    Nationality English
    Overall Length: 99 cm (39 inches)
    Blade length: 84 cm (33.1 inches)
    Blade widest point: 4cm (1.6 inches)
    Hilt widest point: 13 cm
    Inside grip length: 8.4 cm

    Description
    Troopers version of the Howard hilt cavalry sword. Typical flattened circular pommel, leather wire bound, good condition grip with steel basket guard of squared lattice panels, large trailing rein loop oval panel. One central fuller 17cm long which starts 4 ½ cm down from hilt. Howard 3rd dragoon Guards commissioned from 1748-1765. Good condition for age, some pitting.

    The term Howard hilt comes from the connection based on plate 43 in John Wallace’s Scottish Swords and Dirks. Wallace connected the pattern with Howard based on a similar sword in a portrait of General Sir Charles Howard in the uniform of the 3rd Dragoon Guards.

    References:
    MAZANSKY (C.) British Basket-Hilted Swords: A Typology Of Basket-Type Sword Hilts. Pp184. 186 & 232
    NEUMANN, George G. SWORDS AND BLADES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION pp71, plate 29.S
    SOUTWICK, Leslie, The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons Pp 143 No 389.
    Wallace, John Scottish Swords and Dirks an illustrated Guide to Scottish Weapons plate 43.
    Wallace John Scottish Swords and Dirks Plate 43.
    WALLIS & WALLIS Connoisseur Collectors Sale Spring 1996 1/5/96 Lot 133.
    Weller & Dufty Sale 11409 lot 1287 (shows Scabbard) pp33

    Cheers Cathey and Rex
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  9. #134
    As promised, more photos of the grip of my 23rd regiment sword.

    The grip is of two pieces of embossed brass, copper (?) brazed along the centerline over a wood core.
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  10. #135
    Germanic half basket, probably early 1600s.

    Blade is de, 31 1/4" long, fairly worn, with a short central fuller with 1414 and a running wolf mark.

    Hilt is composed of elements hammered together to form a trellis. Usually these hilts are full baskets, but I have seen a photo of a similar half basket in a Norwegian museum. The grip is one of my restorations.
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  11. #136
    English "Proto Mortuary" sword, mid 1600s.

    Blade is de, 35" long, with a short central fuller within which is 1414 and a running wolf: exactly like the blade on the German half basket above.

    Hilt is composed of three shells, the left one is plain and unfluted. The pommel is hollow and rather crude (as is the hilt overall). The grip is another of my restorations.

    Mazansky shows a very similar hilt in his tome (which is back in Thailand, otherwise I'd cite the page/photo in his book).
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  12. #137
    This sword is very similar to one of Cathey's, but mine exhibits some serious assymetry, which I have tried to show in the photos. The sword is made for a right handed person, and one's knuckles bind with the side knucklebow if one tries to use the hilt left handed.

    The grip is a modern replacement which I need to redo one of these years.
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  13. #138
    English, probably last half of the 1700s.

    38" se blade with wide and narrow fullers that begin about 6" below the hilt.

    Basket is built upon a heart shaped base, with two scrolled side branches on the left and three on the right.

    This sword was an eBay purchase of about 2 years ago. It is very rusted, but except for down near the point, is not deeply pitted. The hilt has a golden tone because someone has painted it with gold paint in the past. The grip is a two-piece replacement that I made, as this sword had no grip when purchased. The reason that I made a two piece sandwich grip is that this sword has never been disassembled, and why take something apart when you don't need to? The hilt and blade are tight, and it retains parts of the original leather washer between the hilt and blade shoulder. In the future I will remove the red crusty blade rust, give it a thorough cleaning and see what we've got under all the rust and paint.

    Mazansky shows hilts like this, and the Tower has this hilt type, but with a longer grip and curved blades.
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  14. #139
    English 1788 pattern heavy cavalry sword.

    35" shortened blade, with a single wide fuller.

    Typical massive sword of this pattern based upon a slotted guard with 3 side branches to both sides. Sadly, there are no marks anywhere, but it's still a good example of this type of sword. The grip is one of my restorations.
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  15. #140
    Here's another brass basket, ca. 1740s.

    30" de blade with single shallow fuller.

    This sword is similar to one that I posted earlier, but this one is in semi-excavated condition. Purchased on eBay at least a decade ago, this sword was found in an old sewer, according to the seller. The brass is uncorroded but oxidized, the blade is not too badly pitted, but the blade tang (softer iron) had been pretty much eaten through in places, especially under the pommel. The tang broke at that point, so since as the sword was apart, I made a replacement grip, repaired the tang, and reassembled the sword.
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  16. #141
    These are additional photos of the Scottish S hilt basket that I already posted. I decided to post these photos because of the unusual treatment of the panel on the main knucklebow: where one would expect pierced hearts and circles, you find only a series of circles.

    I also attempted to show the blade markings. They didn't photograph well, so I did a sketch which turned out very dark for unknown reasons! The blade marks are a series of "x"s, "(S)"s, and the name "Clemens Broch". The other side has "Ihn Solingen" in place of the maker's name.
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  17. #142
    English Mortuary sword, mid 1600s.

    35" se blade with a shallow uneven fuller near the spine. There is a line engraved between the fuller and the spine. The right side is stamped "Ferara" with eyelash marks. The left is stamped "Andrea" with eyelash marks, an additional small stamp near the hilt, and the remnants of a brass inlaid running wolf.

    The hilt is rather normal, being engraved with scrolls, punch marks, two grotesque masks and two raised faces. The scrolls and punch mark motif is repeated on the pommel. The grip is original, and is of copper (? the wire might be bronze, but it doesn't look like brass) wire over a wooden core. The whole sword is a bit overcleaned.

    The blade is interesting, because I have two other English swords of the early-mid 1600s with similar blades. One is a rapier hilted backsword with a 34" blade, and one a "Hounslow" style hanger (the blade has been shortened to 26" on this sword). Southwick's "Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons", plate 351 shows another Mortuary sword with this blade type as well. All the blades have a shallow back fuller, all have an engraved line between fuller and spine, all have the same small stamp at the forte, all have "Andrea Ferara" and eyelash stamps. Since all of these blades are in English hilts of the mid 1600s I have to conclude that a large blade order from the same shop/smith (German?) was imported into England around the middle of the century. Has anyone else seen this blade type? And if so, what sort of hilt has been mounted?
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  18. #143
    Another Mortuary sword, mid 1600s.

    31 3/4" se blade with two fullers. The fullers are marked "XX ANDRIS X KINDT XX", and "XX IHN X SOLINGEN XX".

    The hilt has a more complete basket than the other two Morts I have posted. This hilt is also of much better quality; the chiseling is deep (although a bit crude) and the engraved elements are raised above the surface. The side knucklebows end in animal-headed scrolls, the 4 heads on the guard are in very high relief, and there is an angel at the base of the knucklebow. The background design of the guard is of vegetal elements and scrolls, and this motif is repeated on the pommel. The langets have been reduced on this sword. The grip is original, having brass wire (about 75% still there; the upper Turk's head is gone) over a spiraled wooden core.
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  19. #144
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    284
    Hi Eljay

    "Posted 8-14-2015 As promised, more photos of the grip of my 23rd regiment sword."

    Thank you for posting these, I have never seen a grip like this in the flesh, very impressive.

  20. #145
    Join Date
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    Location
    Australia
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    284

    Howard Basket Hilted Officers Sword

    Date: 1740-55
    Nationality: British
    Overall Length: 103.5 cm (40.7 inches)
    Blade length: 87.4 cm (34.4 inches)
    Blade widest point: 3.673 cm (1.4 inches)
    Hilt widest point: 10.6 cm (4.2 inches)
    Inside grip length: 9.5 cm (3.7 inches)
    Marks, etc: Mark ANDREA and the 17th century version of the so-called “Passau running wolf

    Description
    The hilt is constructed of fine iron cage work three quarter guard formed of a vertical and horizontal arrangement of narrow bars joined at the top by three scrolled bars, each with pierced diamond-shaped central panel, to a ring beneath the pommel. The spaces beneath the guard with three openwork hearts. There are a number of very old period repairs to some of the bars and one of the front bars has a crack toward the blade. The grip is leather warped with brass wire. The pommel, an Adams style urn shaped one, is almost certainly a replacement dating from 1785-95. The broadsword blade has three short central fullers and bears the mark ANDREA and the 17th century version of the so-called “Passau running wolf mark”.

    General Remarks
    Described by the Baron of Earlshall as “An English Cavalry sword, very probably for an Officer in the Household Cavalry and dating from 1740-55. The pommel, an Adams style urn shaped one, is almost certainly a replacement dating from 1785-95. However, it has an extremely good 17th century double edge blade mounted.”

    The term Howard hilt comes from the connection based on plate 43 in John Wallace’s Scottish Swords and Dirks. Wallace connected the pattern with Howard based on a similar sword in a portrait of General Sir Charles Howard in the uniform of the 3rd Dragoon Guards.

    References:
    Bonhams Knightsbridge Wednesday 26th November 2008 London lot 89 pp33.
    NEUMANN, George G. SWORDS AND BLADES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION pp71, plate 29.S
    WALLACE, John SCOTTISH SWORDS AND DIRKS plate 43


    Cheers Cathey and Rex
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  21. #146

    Rare horseman's sword, C.1740, possibly by John Allan of Stirling

    This is a rare horseman’s sword with a 36 ½-inch broadsword blade and a Glasgow-style hilt, possibly by John Allan of Stirling.

    A technical description of this distinctive sword is available in British Basket Hilted Swords by Cyril Mazansky, Page.138.

    The main visible distinction between this sword and Mazansky is that while the illustrated sword has a wide scrolled wristguard, this sword has a smaller, stylized wrist guard held by two rivets and pierced with the same teardrop design as the other bars of the hilt.

    A well-known British collector/dealer said he knows of five swords of this general design. One of them, also illustrated in Mazansky, Page 139, is marked “JA”, presumably for John Allan, of Stirling.

    This suggests that although the other swords, including this one, which are not signed, were probably produced by the Allan workshop. It might also show early signs of the Allan family’s predeliction to make unique swords outside of conventional designs.

    The blade, which has no fullers and indistinct armourer’s marks on both sides of the ricasso, is 36 ½ inches long and is quite heavy. It would take a big man with a strong wrist to wield this weapon on foot. From horseback, it would be lethal.

    Once again I am having serious problems posting photos so, once again, Mark McMorrow has graciously offered to post for me.

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  22. #147
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    Madrid, Spain
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    Dear friends,

    I'm not sure whether this has been said before, but it has to be done: what you are doing here is truly an impressive contribution to this Forum knowledge, especially valuable for those (like me) who are no experts in the field of basket-hilts, and therefore not aware of the deepest details of this kind of very interesting weapons, as you evidently are.

    Once again, thanks for sharing all this information, that is well worth being, in my opinion, published in some handier version (a PDF format, perhaps? Could it be done?)

    All the best,
    JJ
    SI, SI
    NO, NON

  23. #148
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    North East USA
    Posts
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    Blog Entries
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juan J. Perez View Post

    Once again, thanks for sharing all this information, that is well worth being, in my opinion, published in some handier version (a PDF format, perhaps? Could it be done?)

    JJ
    Sure, Juan - we could definitely hammer out an excellent primer from all the great material posted on this thread.
    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

  24. #149
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
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    Posts
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    Great!

    SI, SI
    NO, NON

  25. #150
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    284

    Black Watch Basket Hilt Circa 1750-70

    Hi Guys

    This is the first of the three Black Watch Basket hilts we have in our collection.

    Date: Circa 1750-70 (18th Century)
    Nationality: Scottish Black Watch 42nd Highland Regiment
    Overall Length: 94 cm (37 inches)
    Blade length: 84 cm (33.1 inches)
    Blade widest point: 2.813 cm (1.1 inches)
    Hilt widest point: 13 cm (5.1 inches)
    Inside grip length: 10.3 cm (4.1 inches)
    Marks, etc: marked FARARA

    Description
    Black Watch pattern basket-hilted backsword. Scottish military basket hilted backsword issued to the 42nd Highlanders, circa 1750-1770. This example has an older straight single edged fullered blade marked FARARA. Regulation hilt, panels pierced with triangular and circular openings. Truncated conical pommel (marked with and indistinguishable character over what appears to be the number 8), wire bound leather grip.

    The sword is typical of a type manufactured in England for lower ranks in Highland Regiments, such as The Black Watch, and Fencible regiments, for service in the Scottish Highlands. The pommel design is unique to this type of sword type being cone-shape with an integral wide pommel button and three vertical incised lines which radiate from the button.

    References:
    BEZDEK, Richard H. SWORDS AND SWORD MAKERS OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND Pp341
    NEUMANN, George G. SWORDS AND BLADES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION pp71, plate 30.s & pp142 plate 241.S
    Wallis & Wallis Connoisseur Auction Autumn 2001 9-10/10/2001 Lot 100


    Cheers Cathey and Rex
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