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Thread: Black Watch baskethilt

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Black Watch baskethilt

    I was lucky to get this really nice baskethilt at a recent auction that will get a nice place on my wall. Marked to W. Buckmaster and co. who was a retailer active between 1842 and 1884. The blade has battle honours (I didn't include all of them) finishing with Sevastopol. It also has the owner's family crest, a dragon's head over the motto "Toujours propice" (always propitious). I had a couple of questions for the group here:

    1- I am trying to date the blade and I was wondering how long it would take for battle honours to be put down on a blade? The next battle for the 42nd was Lucknow which was barely two years after Sevastopol. Could it had been made between 1855 and 57, or were the battle honours only added to swords several years after the facts?

    2- I haven't been able to identify the family crest so far. The motto is shared by the Dawsons and Sandersons, while the dragon head is shared by at least a dozen family including the Westropps (who, it seems, had links with the Dawsons).

    3- You probably notice the field scabbard. I am guessing either an early adopter (I couldn't find any note about when the Sam Browne scabbard started to be adopted unofficially) or a later replacement (older officer needing a new scabbard, or collector's mismatch, the scabbard does fit rather nicely and is the correct length even though the picture make it look very long).

    4- There seems to be remnants of bluing on certain parts of the etchings. Has anyone ever ran into such a late use of bluing on Victorian swords?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Hi Max I believe it was 1900 when the bottom drag was no longer metal, so an 1890's scabbard that a family relation used with this sword? Could have seen Boer war use, not to mention Indian Mutiny 1857 and Ashanti Wars 1873-74. I don't see added etching on many swords such as battle honours. I would believe the sword was purchased with all the etching it has now.
    I was not in the last few bids so it wasn't I who bid you up.
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 10-18-2017 at 06:30 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Perhaps Jon Snow used it.
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Or his (spoiler alert) aunt!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    Hi Max I believe it was 1900 when the bottom drag was no longer metal, so an 1890's scabbard that a family relation used with this sword? Could have seen Boer war use, not to mention Indian Mutiny 1857 and Ashanti Wars 1873-74. I don't see added etching on many swords such as battle honours. I would believe the sword was purchased with all the etching it has now.
    I was not in the last few bids so it wasn't I who bid you up.
    Hi Will,

    I think the metal drag was always there, at least my WW1and WW2 versions have it. I don't think they would have added etchings, but I am wondering when the blade was made. If they included battle honours just after the fact, it would mean it was made right after Crimea and just before the mutiny.

    Here is the etching of the regiment. It also shows a bit of the bluing, or it could be some strange corrosion.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    If the sword is pre Mutiny or Ashanti it would not have this scabbard I believe. The blueing is from corrosion and cleaning or? The blade has been cleaned enough not to have any blueing if it did have it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
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    So I was looking at Hart's and realized that it also lists the honours included on the swords for each regiment. Lucknow only appears in 1863 it seems while Alma and Sevastopol appear right in 1855, which means that this sword could have been made between 55 and 62. Now I just have to find the family connected to that crest.

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