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Thread: Basket Hilts

  1. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob erlandson View Post
    This heavy, sturdy sword has long been a mystery to me, both origin and date.

    The only markings are on both sides of the blade: Thistle in a garter inscribed Nemo Me Lacessit Impune, the Scottish national motto, surmounted by what appears to be a grenade.

    The grenade, however, is not as flamboyant as that of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

    The large basket has an S in the side guards on either side. The rams' horns are marked with parallel lines that resemble a fringe and there is a shield-shaped marking on each side.

    The bars of the hilt include hearts, circles and various other non-traditional piercings.

    The pommel is large and faceted all around with a decorative pommel button. Some of the leather remains on the wood grip, which is wound with two-strand brass wire.

    The 32-inch single-edge blade is 1 1/4 inches wide for most of its length. There is a single 22 1/2-inch fuller above a raised pipe that extends all the way to the tip of the blade. The last 9 1/2 inches of the blade are double-edged.

    I have not encountered a similar sword before. I speculate that it could have belonged to a volunteer fusilier officer or perhaps to a retired officer who served in a fusilier unit.

    It has no real similarities to any regular government sword I've seen. If anyone on SFI has seen one like this and can identify it please do so.
    Perhaps it has something to do with Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart the last of the Stuart's that died in 1807. The motto nemo me impune lacessit. : no one attacks me with impunity was the motto of the Stuart's family, S for Stuart and of course the Catholic stylized dove on the guard.Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  2. #177
    Hi everyone,
    I’m a french medals and militaria collector and I love Scotland since I was ten, so I collect scottish militaria, I found this nice forum and I’ve seen very beautiful swords on this topic so I decided to register and show you the three broadswords (only  ) of my collection,

    The first one, classical victorian era basket-hilt sword :






    The second one, with iron guard and round pommel, I think of the 18th century, the iron scabbard is from the nineteenth cenrury :








    Ans the third one, I believe from 19th century but I’m not sure, there are two snakes on the guard, some waves on the pommel and three marks on the blade, do you have any idea on this one (date, origin) ?












    Thanks for your help,

    Best regards,

    François

  3. #178
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    The three marks are French poincons on what appears to be a early 1800's French ANXII double fullered cavalry blade.
    How long is the blade? On the French cavalry swords they were about 39" long.

  4. #179
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    Hi Guys

    I agree with Will, I think this one is French. We know that there where a lot of Jacobite's in France and a number of unique basket hilts have come to light that appear to have been manufactured in France with unusual guard configurations.

    Regards

    Cathey and Rex

  5. #180
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    Reply to Tim Anderson

    Hi Tim

    Thank you for posting your two swords its great to see more collectors joining this thread. I think I have one similar to the first one you posted, the brass hilt. Tell me is there a maker on the blade by any chance.

    Mine is marked FIRMIN & SON SWORD CUTLERS TO HIS MAJESTY 153 STRAND LONDON

    Given the blade is marked to his majesty and it is similar in design to the pre-pattern versions of the 1828 my first thought is that this sword dates to William the 4th rather than George IV. The first known Royal Warrant as a button makers was granted by King George III in 1796, however thereafter Firmin has held Warrants for every successive British Sovereign to the present day. In 1838, Firmin added a further title to it's trade description, that of "Sword Cutlers". Whilst this would suggests the sword may date from the first year of the reign of Queen Victoria, the fact that it read to His majesty indicates that it was probably produced during the reign of William the 4th.

    Regards

    Cathey and Rex
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  6. #181
    Scottish Broadsword with Cut-Down Claymore Blade Circa 1690

    This Scottish basket-hilt broadsword dates from the late 17th Century and presents one very intriguing question: Who was it made for?

    At the base of the forward guard is a coat-of-arms, a saltire with tent-shaped marks along the arms.

    On the right side guard, just aside the pierced heart decoation is stamped “14.”

    (I speculate that this sword was one of a group ordered by a Scottish nobleman for his men. If any Forumite has seen similar marking on a similar sword and could identify the arms I would appreciate a heads up.)

    The blade of this sword was cut down from a two-hand claymore and is much earlier than the hilt. It carries a 16th C. Passau Running Wolf mark, with some of its brass-like inlaid latten remaining. There is a deeply incised crescent-shaperd armourer’s mark in the short 1 3/8-inch wide ricasso.

    On the reverse side the slight remains of two fullers are present (none present on the other side) indicating that the blade has been formed by the armourer grinding down and modifying a larger two handed sword blade to suit the basket hilt. Typically the blade tapers to a rounded point.

    The blade length is just under 33.25 inches (84.5 cm) and overall the sword length is 39 inches (99 cm).

    The solid iron hilt consists of flat square and rectangular section guard bars decorated in each case on the outside along the middle with a longitudinal incised line. The main and secondary guard panels are filed with delicate frets and merlons to the edges, incised with lines and pierced with patterns of circles and hearts.

    The secondary side guard panels terminate with merlons at the base in each case pierced with bold heart shapes. Underneath the hilt the rear guard bar is decorated with incised lines and crosses at the intersections with the rear, and secondary rear, guard bars of the hilt.

    The hilt is of early form and not manufactured with a scroll wrist guard as is common on later swords. In this instance the wrist guard is a simple small knop.

    The dome shaped pommel is mounted with an integral button and decorated with four sets of triple lines which radiate equidistantly from the button. The central groove in each case is wider than those on the flanks and punched with rows of dots which is an early feature on Scottish basket hilts. Just below its middle the pommel is cut with a pronounced groove with extends around its full circumference into which the upper terminals of the guard bars are fitted.

    The grip and liner are all unmistakably original. The spirally grooved wooden grip is covered with shagreen the binding now lost. The liner is of leather.

    This hilt is very similar to those of two swords housed in Glasgow Kelvingrove Museum which are of a similar date and attributed to the leading Glasgow maker John Simpson (I) due to the initials "IS" struck into the guard bars (for photos see Cyril Mazansky's "British Basket-Hilted Swords", Boydell Press, 2005, page 109). This maker was working from the late 17th century when he was admitted to the Incorporation of Hammermen in 1683 until his death was recorded in 1717.
    Attached Images Attached Images            

  7. #182

    A superb Stirling-hilted backsword with Jacobite association, C.1740,

    Scottish Basket Hilt Backsword: Stirling Type and Jacobite Significance C. 1740, possibly an unsigned Walter Allan.

    This is one of the finest swords I have seen and a very rare type, too. The most interesting part is that it was probably made for a high-ranking Jacobite who didn't spend much time in the muck and mire with Bonnie Prince Charlie, thus preserving the superb condition of the sword.

    Here is a detailed description of the sword given to me:

    A fine Scottish basket hilted Back Sword of Stirling type dating to circa 1740. The hilt is
    robu stly constructed from a frame of flattened, fluted structural bars similar in form to the
    high quality "Glasgow" style hilts of the time. However, the execution of the main and
    secondary guard plates diverge from the Glasgow style to create an almost unique hilt form.

    The more usual square section main frontal guard plates are replaced with fluted diamond
    shaped panels with saltires inside, intersected with a diamond shaped aperture top and
    bottom, and diamond shapes to the sides, incompletely cut to leave inward facing merlons
    from the middle. The secondary side guard plates are formed as fluted bars in two diamond
    shapes, one on top of another, with horizontal bars cut with further merlons at the ends
    applied to support the intersection of the diamond shapes in the middle. The frontal guard
    plate is formed as a further fluted diamond shape above a circle containing a vertical bar
    slotted as a keyhole.

    The pommel is cone shaped with four sets of parallel triple bars radiating from the pommel
    button with the central groove formed wider than those on its flanks. The pommel button is of
    an upturned vase shape. Just beneath its middle the pommel is cut with a groove into which
    the upper terminals of the main guard bars are secured. The upper parts of the guard arms are delicately fretted with merlons.

    The original spirally grooved wooden grip is covered with shagreen and mounted with ferrules top and bottom and bound with wire. The hilt retains its leather liner covered with red velvet to the outside and blue silken hem.

    The hilt of this sword displays a level of innovation which typifies the unique work of Walter
    Allan in Stirling (working circa 1730 to 1760) , and although it does not bear his signature
    initials, it is most certainly one of his designs and from his work shop. This type of hilt, and
    its many related imaginative variants created by Walter Allan, have become known as hilts of
    "Stirling" type. Many of the survivors that have come down to us are housed in various
    public collections and are well publicised.

    These hilts are generally regarded as of the highest quality and represent the last flourish of
    traditional Scottish sword making in the middle to third quarter of the 18th century. One of
    Walter's apprentices, James Grant, continued to manufacture hilts which copied a narrow
    range of Walter's designs into the 1770's, but generally are of lesser quality. Only a few of his
    swords have survived which may indicate not many were made in the first place, the decline
    in Scottish weapons production being well underway at the early part of his career.

    This hilt is most like a sword signed by Walter Allan housed in the National Museums of
    Scotland (Ref: LA126) with diamond shaped front panels (For side view photo see "Scottish
    Swords and Dirks", John Wallace, Arms and Armour Press, 1970, fig 37 page 48, and for
    frontal view see Cyril Mazansky, "British Basket Hilted Swords", Boydell Press, 2005, fig
    G3a(WA) page 143.


    The similarity between this sword and ours is obvious, with one minor difference being that the tops of the guard arms of the Museum sword are forged onto an iron ring which extends around the base of the pommel inside which the stem of the pommel sits.

    This is a later feature on Walter Allan's swords reflecting military hilt design in England. As
    our sword is cut with a groove around the pommel into which the arms fit, the feature is
    earlier and corresponds to a date circa 1740.

    The single edged tapering blade has a short ricasso with a short fuller on the sharp edged side which terminates where the cutting edge begins. A second broad fuller extends from the hilt underneath the spine of the blade to a point 7 inches from the tip after which the blade is
    double edged.

    The blade is second quarter 18th century date and of high quality as fitting for
    the hilt. Below the fuller near the hilt on one side is an inscription, with each word separated
    by quatrefoils of dots "GOTT BEWAR DE", and on the other side in the same place "---
    ICHTT SCHOTEN". This is a known Jacobite slogan in German and in complete form the
    translation reads: "GOD PRESERVE THE UPRIGHT SCOTS". Although the spellings vary
    this inscription was applied by German armourers to a number of blades destined for hilt
    mounting in Scotland in the first half of the 18th century, some of which still survive in
    public and private collections.

    The blades fall into two camps. The first group dates to the early part of the 18th century and
    the union of Scottish and English Parliaments in the 1707 Act of Union. Jacobite propaganda
    targeted Anti-Union Nationalistic sentiment in Scotland with intentions to repeal the Act once
    James the 8th was on the throne. Anti-Unionism generally became synonymous with
    Jacobitism in the run-up to the failed 1715 Rebellion. The second group of blades are a
    generation later and date to the period before the 1745 Rebellion. The engraving on some of
    these blades can be quite flamboyant with busts of James the 8th of Scotland becoming James III of Great Britain. Variations in the quality and extent of the inscriptions are apparent.
    The inscription on our sword seems to be a diluted form of the so-called Jacobite "Rhyming"
    blades produced in the run-up to the '45, reinforcing a circa 1740 date for our sword.

    The sword was presumably manufactured for a wealthy Scottish Jacobite due to the
    undoubted expense involved in commissioning a sword of this nature. Few swords, and
    indeed other objects, particularly weapons, which indicated the Jacobite leanings of the
    owner, survived the period after the failed "45 Rebellion and this sword is a rare survivor.

    Blade length 32.5 inches (82.5 cm and overall length 38.25 inches (97 cm)
    Attached Images Attached Images         

  8. #183

    Scottish basket-hilt broadsword; blade dated. C.1730

    This sword is interesting because of its original and uncleaned condition, still with its original grip and leather liner. The blade is earlier, 17th century, is noteworthy, being marked within the two central fullers either side with the talismanic date or numerals "1666" and the typical running wolf of Solingen armourers mark. The sword was made for a right handed user, is solid, firm and well balanced in hand.

    The basket guard is formed from flattened rectangular section bars. Between these are attached the main and secondary guard panels which are decorated with lines and cut with hearts and circles.

    The conical pommel has a flat button on top and is decorated with four sets of filed grooves, in each case the middle groove being wider than its neighbours, which radiate from the pommel button. The arms of the basket fit into a pronounced chiselled groove which extends for the full circumference around the pommel just below its middle. The spirally grooved wooden grip is covered with shagreen and now lacks its original wire binding. At the top and bottom of the grip two additional bands of leather have been added during the working life of the sword presumably to compensate for the loss of the wire binding and hold the shagreen in place. The hilt retains its leather liner.

    The double edged tapering blade has a pronounced fuller extending from the hilt for circa 6.5 inches (16.5 cm) inside which the talismanic numerals are applied, each interspersed with quatrefoils of dots. The blade length is 33.5 inches (just over 85 cm) and overall the length of the sword is 39.25 inches (99.5 cm).

    Swords with similar hilts are illustrated in Cyril Mazansky's "British Basket-Hilted Swords", Boydell Press, 2005 - see pages 106 Fig F12, 115 Fig F15h.
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  9. #184
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    Bob,

    Great stuff, as always!
    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

  10. #185
    Bob, thanks for sharing this incredibly beautiful sword. I love these 'diamond saltire' hilts. Mazansky, p.143, refers to another example signed by Walter Allan which is in poorer condition and held in the Marischal Museum, University of Aberdeen. The museum kindly supplied me with a photo (attached). I have a brass hilted variation on this style (which is alas unsigned). The single-fullered backsword blade is 33 inches, 39.5 inches overall.
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  11. #186
    Hello Allan, What a beautiful sword. Is the hilt brass or bronze? It has fabulous patina. I have not seen one like it before. I have one that is similar to the museum sword. I put it on this thread some months ago. Also, it is unsigned as well.

  12. #187

    An attic find: Scottish basket-hilt backsword, C. 1730-40

    This is a real fighting sword, substantial, well made and with its single-edged blade finely sharpened all the way to the point. Dating to 1730-4, it well could have seen action during the 1745 Scottish Rebellion.

    It is an "attic find", uncleaned and original. Stuck away and forgotten for who knows how many years ago, it came out of a house in Norfolk, Eastern England. A layer of grime and dust has not affected the metal which is in good condition; the blade is as flexible as when it was made.

    The basket has thick, heavy-duty flattened rectangular section bars. Between these are attached the main and secondary guard panels which are finely decorated at the edges and with lines plus pierced hearts and circles. Due to the robust nature of the hilt the fine workmanship would have been more difficult than usual to achieve and is a compliment to the armourers' craft.

    The conical pommel has a circular button on top and is decorated with three sets of filed grooves, in each case the middle groove being wider than its neighbors, which radiate from the pommel button. The arms of the basket fit onto a circle of iron into which the neck of the pommel sits. The spirally grooved wooden grip is covered with shagreen, has iron ferrules mounted top and bottom; its original wire binding is lost. The full leather liner covered on its outer surface with red velvet and the remains of a silken hem, albeit tattered, is present.

    The single-edged tapering blade has a pronounced ricasso extending for 2 inches (5 cm) from the hilt. Three broad bold fullers extend from the hilt. One is short, nearest the cutting edge, and is the same length as the ricasso. Above this, a central fuller, and one above it, running below the spine of the blade, extend for most of the blade length after which it becomes double edged. Near the hilt both these longer fullers are marked "ANDREA FERARA" separated by thumbnail marks and dots on both sides of the blade.

    The blade is 33 inches (83.5 cm); over-all the sword is 39 inches (99 cm) long.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  13. #188
    Quote Originally Posted by bob erlandson View Post
    Hello Allan, What a beautiful sword. Is the hilt brass or bronze? It has fabulous patina. I have not seen one like it before. I have one that is similar to the museum sword. I put it on this thread some months ago. Also, it is unsigned as well.
    Hello Bob, It was sold to me as a 'brass hilt' but it could be bronze rather than patinated brass.

  14. #189
    Quote Originally Posted by Cathey Brimage View Post
    Hi Guys

    I agree with Will, I think this one is French. We know that there where a lot of Jacobite's in France and a number of unique basket hilts have come to light that appear to have been manufactured in France with unusual guard configurations.

    Regards

    Cathey and Rex
    Hello and thanks for your answers, the blade measures 95 cm long, and what do you think of the second one, this one :





    I think it is older than my two others,

    Best regards

  15. #190
    Hi Alan,
    My post #76 on this thread is the other diamond-hilt sword I mentioned. cheers, bob erlandson

  16. #191

    Rare, early Scottish basket hilt broadsword, 1690-1710; Blade dated 1650

    This is an early and important Scottish basket-hilt broadsword from the mid-and late 17th Century. The Spanish blade is dated 1650 and the hilt could be C.1690-1710.

    The arms of the basket are aligned with a groove in the low conical pommel, which itself has inverted V grooves. The original wooden grip with twisted spiral brass wire binding, with a brass Turk’s heads at the pommel end is present.

    The 29 ½-inch blade, double-edged, is inscribed: “VENER O MORIR.POR MI REY.1650” (WIN OR DIE FOR MY KING) and with an orb and cross mark beneath. The point is rounded.

    The S-bar hilt has the very early feature of no wrist guard; the quillon ends in a small nub. The side panels are pierced with hearts and circles., with ram’s horns below.

    This sword is illustrated in “British Basket Hilted Swords” by Cyril Mazansky, page 86. E3.

    It was formerly in the collection of the late Arnold Rothschild, Baltmore. One of Mr. Rothschild’s brass ID tags, either 6 or 9 is on a chain on the hilt

    Personal note: Mr. Rothschild, a wealthy insurance executive who died in 1992, had a world-class collection of Scottish weapons. It was sold in England after his death and only recently has a few swords from that collection come to market. This is one of them.

    It was a pleasure for me to bring one of Arnold’s swords back to Baltimore. I had the honor of seeing the collection at his home in the 1970s, in the room he had dedicated to his collection.

    It was breathtaking, especially the silver-hilted broadsword made as a gift to Bonnie Prince Charlie at his exile home in Rome. That sword is illustrated and described in the last issue of the Park Lane Antique Arms Fair Catalogue.

    Arnold was a very discerning collector, so to have one of his swords is to know it is one of the best.
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  17. #192
    Hi Bob,
    Do my eyes deceive me, or does that pommel have silver dots inlaid in the grooves? If so, that's a very unique decorative feature on a Scots basket. And, if those are silver, does the rest of the hilt have any of them left?

    --ElJay

  18. #193
    Hi Eljay, I already replied privately but as you raised such a good point I thought I'd let everyone know that they are just small holes, no silver in sight. There are none anywhere else on the hilt.

  19. #194
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    While I can add no intelligent conversation I was recently in Jamestown and spent the day at the dig. Interestingly to me many of the swords found are basket hilts from the 1590 to 1650 time frame. I believe 11 of the swords found so far are of the military basket hilt type. I will once I am up to speed pick up a few as it is most certainly a beautiful sword. Regards Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  20. #195
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    Hi Eric

    If you are interested in these early baskets, have a look at the thread: http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...ol-I-1450-1600

    This book is the definitive work on the subject and well worth the investment.

    Cheers Cathey and Rex

  21. #196
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    History of the Harvey property and dug site:
    https://books.google.ca/books?id=DLW...operty&f=false

  22. #197
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    Cathy thanks I have the book in hand, very interesting to me I have always loved these swords and now they fit in with my British colonial american scope. Will the excavations are on going, I had read a lot of the books on Jamestown and did not relize there was so much left to do or that Basket hilts were the main sword. In starting this study it reminds me of something my friend Chuck said "Some folks education done out run their intelligence". I fear I may be at my limit. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  23. #198
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    Name:  Martys Sword 011 2.jpg
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    My basket hilt

  24. #199
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    Hi Marty, and welcome to the Basket hilt thread.

    Unusual to see a Basket hilt of this period complete with scabbard. I do not have this pattern in my collection yet, still waiting for one of these to surface at Auction in Australia. I noticed that there is one just like it in Manzansky's book British Basket-Hilted Swords on page 171 plate G18c & 174 plate G18i & j. Please keep posting, it's great to see there are other Basket Hilt enthusiasts out there. Actually looking at your photo's more closely this appears to be a Pinch of Snuff pattern basket, would it be possible for you to post pictures of the underside of the basket facing the blade?

    Cheers Cathey and Rex
    Last edited by Cathey Brimage; 12-17-2016 at 07:42 PM.

  25. #200
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    The relic of Montrose

    Hi Guys

    On another Forum a member posted this picture and an article (too large to attach here) showing the Back and Front view of a hand and forearm of the 1st Marquis of Montrose executed in 1650, along with his sword. These items are part of the John Bargrave Collection, and has been formerly Preserved in the Family of Graham of Woodhall, Yorkshire, As Relics of James, First Marquis of Montrose. I would love to get a better look at the sword but this is the only picture I have come by.

    Cheers Cathey and Rex
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