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Thread: Edward VII P1897 sword - real or not?

  1. #1

    Edward VII P1897 sword - real or not?

    Hello,

    Can anybody tell me something about this sword? I haven't been into British swords until now, and I am a little worried that there are many fakes on the market. To me, the etching looks pretty good, and I think it is most probably genuine. I think (correct me if I'm wrong) that the proof mark belongs to Pillin. I am not able to decipher the monogram letters on the blade - any idea about what letters they are and what's their precise meaning?

    Can you tell anything else/more about it?

    Many thanks,
    Victor
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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I’m sure you have a totally genuine 1897p there, I have one very similar also retailed by Hobson who were known to procure their blades from Pillin. As you say it is a monogram and will be the Officers initials. H J C P M is my guess, shame there are no obvious regimental marking as with that amount of initials it would be quite easy to find your man, good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
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  4. #4
    Another question regarding this sword: the grip doesn't really look to me like fish skin. There is a small place on one side where a hit made the area smoother, like the fish "scales" were made flat. I haven't tried to melt it with a hot needle, but somehow it feels like plastic to me. Could it be possible it was refurbished at some moment with a plastic grip? Or did they use plastic grips in 1901-1910? I know the cavalry P1908 had some kind of synthetic grip, but its feeling is different.

  5. #5
    On the other side, if I look at a modern WKC -made P1897, the grip also looks like plastic in pictures, but they say it is authentic shark skin - so maybe there's a treatment to protect it, which makes it look more black and less gray/silver?

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    From your photo there’s no reason to believe it’s not the original fish skin grip. If you’re feeling brave you might want to disassemble the hilt by carefully unscrewing the tang button to reveal the whole grip, quite straight forward.

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Victor,

    I acquired one recently numbered 100027 belonging to Capt Edgar John Dent who went on the retired list at the end of 1902. (I can't find any other Infantry officer with that combination of letters so I have assumed that it is him!) I was advised to use Hart's Army Lists so if you check 1909 - 1911 you will probably find him, especially with that many initials.

    George
    “The Australian Light Horse attack on Beersheba was the last important cavalry charge in history and the last to win a resounding victory that altered the course of a war." Alec Hepburn

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    As Ben commented, I see nothign to indicate that this would be a fake. This is a fairly common pattern, not associated with a popular period. So not much incentive for a forger to make a fake, which would probably cost him more than the time put into this. I also see nothing wrong with the grip. Keep in mind that they never used ray skin but rather dogfish, which has a flatter, finer and more even texture. This is also a good sign that it's an original, as dogfish skin is nearly impossible to get nowadays.

  10. #10
    After several searches, the only officer anywhere close to the initials is Brigadier Herbert Frederick Cyril ("Pat") McSwiney (1886-1963), DSO, CBE, MC, Indian Army. Gentleman (King's Indian) Cadet, RMC, Dec. 1904; 2nd Lt., 3rd Gurkha Rifles, 29 Aug. 1906; etc. etc.
    That "J-" would make it an "F".

  11. #11
    J=

  12. #12
    Where is "Pat" coming from? I have tried to follow your steps, searching on google, but everywhere I find him with "Cyril" as nickname, and "Pat" appears in his son's name: John Murray (Pat) McSwiney. Is there something I don't know/understand about this situation?

    Thanks,
    Victor

    P.S. How do you search for? I only know about the scanned Hart's, which means I should read a 1400 pages book for each year, until I find him. Do you know about a better method?

  13. #13
    Also, is it normal to use M as McSwiney initial? I would have exected S or MS or McS or something like this, as Mc is just a prefix from what I know..

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Victor, I think you have a job for those long winter evenings ahead! You may want to check out a previous thread on ‘numbered and dated Pillin swords’, as you’ll see it’s not an exact science, but there is a Pillin sword presented in 1908 numbered 105979, so that may narrow down the number of volumes to trawl through. I also think ‘Pat’ may be incorrect too, but would say ‘M’ is the normal initial for all the Mc, Mac surnames. Another long shot would be to search the London Gazette on line, and put in say, ‘Lieutenant H.F.C.P’ etc, you never know, just a shame there are no regimental markings, we’d have found him by now. Good Luck.

  15. #15
    I wasted several days of exhaustive research in indices of army lists, 1901-20, trying every combination of initials and surnames (double and triple), and absolutely nothing matched HJCPM. I even thought that the J might be an S, and attached to the C might indicate St. Clair or whatever. The full names of officers are usually given in the lists, but there's a chance that in this case an initial was accidentally omitted. Then you would have several possibilities, but no way of knowing which one was accurate. I knew that the son's nickname was Pat, so I assumed that it was the father's also, because what red-blooded Irishman would want "Cyril" as a nickname, nor do I know why it was otherwise put in quotation marks. Anyway, I now suspect that either the initials are wrong on the blade or are incomplete in the lists, or the person never served or served so briefly that he never got listed, or the sword is a fake.
    Cheers!

  16. #16
    What if the JC is in fact a second H (HHPM)? In fact, the only major difference between the first H and the JC (or H?) group is that the horizontal line is double in the second case. Or maybe HKPM?

  17. #17
    I agree, but a quick search produced nothing. There are three Gazettes - London, Edinburgh, and Belfast - so, if you have the time and patience and perseverance, go for 'em! But don't hold your breath.
    Good Luck & Best Regards.

  18. #18
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    I dare not even suggest that given there are five initials that the ‘H’ might stand for ‘Honourable ‘!

  19. #19
    Spoilsport! If it does, I still can't find him; but maybe somebody else can or will.
    Cheers!

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    H S=C P M looks like a good call to me.

  21. #21
    Thanks for the suggestion, but still nothing.
    Anyway, Cheers!

    P.S. Even searched the navy lists, just in case.

  22. #22
    Join Date
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    Stop worrying about it eing a fake, the work is clearly original and genuine. Try H H J M or H H P M , I think that is the correct reading.
    hc3

  23. #23
    They were tried.

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