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Thread: Can someone help me to identify this sword?

  1. #1
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    Can someone help me to identify this sword?

    Hello to all, I'm a new member who collects Japanese swords. I recently bought this sword and was wondering if someone could help me identify it. It appears to be a short sword and from what I have researched, possibly French due to the brass handle and guard. The blade is 31 1/4 inches long and 3/4 inch wide at the base. The handle is 5 1/2 inches long. There's some writing on the blade but it's hard to read because it's worn were the blade came in and out of the scabbard. From what I can make out, it reads in script " Oui Soparet." There is more writing below it, but can only make out an N. I can't find any makers marks stamped anywhere on the blade or handle. There are signs that there was gold inlay, but the majority of it is gone. The handle is loose and the round pommel on the end is threaded. Taking the pommel off, I can see that it would be possible to "un-peen" the end and take the handle off, but don't know if I should do that. It looks like whoever peened it over last time didn't do a very good job. It's common to remove the handle with Japanese swords, but this is the first European sword that I bought. Also not sure if there is any info on the tang, should I consider taking the handle off? I would appreciate information on the date, origin and value of this piece. I paid $250 for it. It came with a leather scabbard but I don't think it was original to the blade.

    Thanks,

    Phil

    PS, This is my first post to this sight, and I'm not sure if the photos attached or not. If not, bare with me and I'll try to insert them in my next post.
    Attached Images Attached Images      

  2. #2
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    Britain and other countries also had similar swords. Any sword that does not have a tang nut that easily unscrews must not be removed.
    In some cases it takes special tools to remove a tang nut but in most cases destroys it. Swords made in this fashion once disassembled lose value as the obvious pommel damage raises questions of authenticity, it is a parts sword??
    Most likely nothing is on the tang , possibly a letter or number that the meaning is long lost to us, but could be an inspection mark or fitting mark and these marks are of no use.
    Your sword looks to be in good condition and the hilt and blade compliment each other making a fine dress sword.

  3. #3
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    No, not a parts sword, but the handle is loose on the sword. Also, it appears to have been monkeyed with at some point in it's life, the peen looks amateurish. Is it common for sword collectors to change handles and blades on swords? The Japanese do it all the time. Any idea of age? I've added a few more photos.
    Attached Images Attached Images    

  4. #4
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    It is less common but family blades are sometimes re hilted. Some less than honest dealer/collectors will mix and match sword parts creating Frankenstein swords.
    The tang on your sword does not appear bad at all though with a photo it's hard to tell. My guess is that this sword has an older blade than the hilt.
    Best scenario is a family blade on a later hilt so the officer could wear it and have a regulation sword.

  5. #5
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    Looks like an Austo-Hungarian military intendants' hilt c. 1890 or so mounted to an older blade. Such hilts can have solid or hinged guards (one or both). Swords with such hilts are often sold as officer's small-swords c. 1800. This hilt type was first used in A-H in the 1830s with minor changes as long as it was used--the quality of hilts varies. I have 2--one with period sharpening probably from WWI era. They can be found with "heirloom" blades--as is the case with many pattern swords of European countries.
    Last edited by T. Donoho; 02-04-2018 at 10:03 PM.
    Tom Donoho

  6. #6
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    Looking at the tang end it appears the sword is missing a pommel cap which would hide the tang end.

  7. #7
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    The blade is much earlier than the hilt. We are seeing a composite.
    https://www.metmuseum.org/art/metpub...hunting_swords

  8. #8
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    Could be a composite. I am not saying either way. But I have seen one of this pattern with an "heirloom" blade (cut down rapier blade). Both of mine have standard blades and threaded tangs to take tang buttons. They actually handle quite nicely.
    Tom Donoho

  9. #9
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    Thanks Tom

  10. #10
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    I have to pommel cap, I just took it off to show the peened tang. Thanks for your help.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the link Glen, the download was very helpful.

  12. #12
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    Phillip,

    I sent you a PM that might help.
    Tom Donoho

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