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Thread: Spanish or Mexican saber?

  1. #1
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    Spanish or Mexican saber?

    I recently acquired an iron-hilted, horn-handled light cavalry saber that I need help identifying. The 35-inch curved blade is hand engraved "No me saques sin razon" on one side and "No me embaines sin honor" on the reverse. It appears to be put together from parts from different periods and horn-handled as many Mexican swords and machetes are found. Could this be a Spanish light cavalry saber blade (c1820s?), engraved in Mexico and re-fitted with an even earlier sword hilt (c1790?) and then fitted with a horn handle (c1890?)? Any help in identifying the parts or the entire thing would be much appreciated.
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    Andy Masich

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    Last edited by A. Masich; 03-24-2015 at 08:08 AM.

  2. #2
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    Starting with the revolution in 1810 many of these homemade swords begin being made. Yours is in one of the standard styles. I have only begin researching these but there seems to be three main styles. The cutlass looking shell guard, the short cup hilt with branches attached and end pommel and ofcourse the espada ancha of which there seems to be 3 major and many sub groups. Many are made with blacksmith blades but many are also made with spanish, french, american and german reworked blades. I have seen your style attributed to Argentina and other south american countries. I however see the "No me saques sin razon No me embaines sin honor" mostly on North Mexico and southern US examples. I am by far no expert or claim any real knowledge in these as I have only been researching over the last year or so. The Mexican revolution and battles for power lasted for over 100 years from about 1810 until 1929 I think. Your style cutlass cup hilt is sometimes calvary and sometimes foot soldiers length and has a nicer guard etching than lots of these. Most are horn or hard wood grip. Nice find. http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dew.../espancha.html, if you google search espada ancha images you will see many of your type although yours is not a true espada ancha in that it means wide or broad sword like a machete. Great find 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

  3. #3
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    espada ancha

    This shows the short cups with branches and the true espada anchas. Your blade in my mind looks like the early french style calvary sabres from the American revolution to the turn of the century. I have one with the lion head pommel. Santanna's army was armed with ANIX, ANXI light calvary and British 1796 light Calvary in 1836. I would guess your sword 1810 to 1821 or after Mexican American war 1848 when the poor of Mexico were arming themselves. It is hard to say with homemade weapons that were used many years. I think the Mexican revolution is a better date.
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    Last edited by Eric Fairbanks; 03-24-2015 at 09:12 AM. Reason: add thoughts
    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

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    Difficult to say. The "no me saques sin razon" curved blades are relatively abundant and have a constant lettering style, probably an export thing from Solingen. Although they seem like early 1800s, similar writing appears in straight cavalry blades for the model 1728.

    In your sword, the notch in the grip is typical from Cuba, but I do not know if that is meaningful.
    La vida amable, el enemigo hombre fuerte, ordinario el peligro, natural la defensa, la Ciencia para conseguirla infalible, su estudio forçoso, y el exercicio necessario conviene al que huviere de ser Diestro, no ignore la teorica, para que en la practica, el cuerpo, el braço, y los instrumentos obren lo conveniente a su perfeccion. --Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez.

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    Thanks you for generously sharing your knowledge. I have learned that this sword was acquired in Arizona by a collector in the 1960s. Of course, we cannot know how long it had been in that region, but it's an interesting clue nevertheless. I have also been told by a curator of Spanish colonial arms that a very similar specimen was found in the hands of the Gullah people in Sea Islands of South Carolina. This curator also thought the shell guard had a coastal/Carribbean look.
    Andy

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    Spanish Colonial blades

    A few photos I had saved of one. They all are similar but all very different.Great find Mr. Masich, and yours would look super on my Spanish Colonial wall. Eric
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    Last edited by Eric Fairbanks; 04-03-2015 at 09:14 AM.
    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

  7. #7
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    These photos are excellent, thanks once again. Is the notched grip diagnostic--is it peculiar to a time or place? Is it possible to tell where the straight blade on your specimen was made? Are the engraved decorative floral elements on my horseman's saber any indication of where the blade was manufactured or engraved? Has anyone studied the lettering on these "No Me Saques..." swords for stylistic differences that might help with dating or provenance?
    Andy

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    A, The wood and horn hand or finger stop grips are Spanish colonial. Be it Mexico, Cuba, South Western US or the Philippines as far as I know. Perhaps others on forum can pin it down more but from what I see in Mexico, Central America and some of the islands it is common to Spanish speaking countries even in later machetes. The "no me saques sin razon" I think Javier said is of a common form and lettering used through out Spain and her colonies made in Solingen. Javier is really the "cats meow" when it comes to Spanish swords. The different blades are very simple. They reused what ever they had and built what they did not have. I think your blade is very early French calvary (I should have said French style or model and with Javier input made in Solingen) rehilted, and a very nice rehilt I might add sometime between 1775 and 1810. Dan R or one of the French sword guys could pin that down or correct me. The Spanish held much of the US and aided us in RW. Parts of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, California, Texas, Caribbean islands, Old and New Mexico were all controlled and Colonized by Spain. Many conflicts, guard post, uprisings, revolts and just general up keep and repair. Your hilt is very well built and ornate for a blacksmith job and must have been an attempt by some outpost or Captain to resupply their troops or repair broken or damaged swords, but could be from Revolution of 1810. I have some pikes from that conflict and they are crude. The best way to estimate the timeline of the "espada colonial" is to identify any reused parts and date them. Eric
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    Last edited by Eric Fairbanks; 04-03-2015 at 04:29 PM. Reason: correct myself and add photo
    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

  9. #9
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    The Spanish America swords are not systematized. Every country has probably their own experts, but it is not probable they will come to an English speaking forum, where they will know very few details about their concrete examples, and possibly have little interes on most of the threads on European and USA swords. Most of what I can say on such swords are just guesses, made from too few examples I have seen.

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    You are way too modest. I understand your knowledge is based on correct models of Spain and not the colonial thrown together swords of our early years in America but as you once said to understand the sword you must understand how it was used. In the same way to truly understanding American swords you would have to understand the swords and country they come from. Which I unfortunately am lacking. 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

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    another one that passed through auction

    Early blade with less defined hilt. Most do not show the level of craftmanship of yours.
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    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

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    These are wonderful images, Eric. I'm impressed that you can pull them from your memory/data base. The guard is more of a "type" than I had suspected. I find it interesting that the blade of my horseman's sword has not been shortened, as usually seemed to happen on the frontier Southwest borderlands (Chihuahua and Sonora). I wonder if this is evidence of its use elsewhere or, rather, that it was little-used at all. If only these things could talk. As it is, we historians are just cold case detectives analyzing evidence ripped out of context without even a "crime scene" to guide us. Thanks again for your excellent sleuthing.
    Andy
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    Last edited by A. Masich; 04-05-2015 at 08:22 AM.

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    I have a couple at home I will post when and if I get back there. Possibly these are weapons of the spanish soldado de PRESIDIOS as they were native to the Americas and rather independent in their style. Most likely they had to make do with what they could as many were at distant outpost
    https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/uqp09
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by A. Masich View Post
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    That blade has the thin channel and the general aspect of a French 1822 light cavalry sword. Guessing if that could come with emperor Maximiliano. Another quality of South American swords is the long pervivence of styles.

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    I think Javier is probably correct. I had thought the blade seemed to be a little thinner/lighter than the French M1822 and US M1840 sabers (I only compared one of each), but when I inspected it again it does have the characteristics of the French 1822 blade. Is this called the Montmorency style? Is the small strengthening channel peculiar to the French model or did the Spanish adopt as well in the early years (late 18th century)? On my saber, the small channel begins 9-1/4 inches from the hilt and quits about 10 inches from the point. Total length of the small fuller: 16 inches.
    The ricasso also seems very short--when compared to US and German blades--but it is similar to the French 1822. Is this a characteristic that is helpful in determining country of origin, date, or manufacturer? Is there a Spanish model that is similar to the M1822 blade?
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    Last edited by A. Masich; 04-05-2015 at 04:37 PM. Reason: typos and faulty observations on my part
    Andy Masich

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    http://www.napoleon-series.org/milit...tsaber.htmlhis is the French AN XI light calvary which has a short ricasso but does not have the double fuller. It is the light calvary before the 1816 or 1822. The French swords confuse me but many of The US and Colonial Spanish used them and copied them.
    http://swordscollection.blogspot.com...ers-sabre.html
    The AN IX is closer to yours I think as it has the short second fuller. Dan R or one of these French guys would be better help.
    I read somewhere someone called it Spanish style but can not remember where or figure out Spanish connection other than the Spaniards and Mexicans imported them. There seem to be so many styles in the French blades I don't know how they remember them all. Anyway my guess is AN IX light calvary for your blade which would put your sword in the 1780 range plus or minus 10 or 20 years. Light calvary as the Heavy calvary blades were straight. If you stand too heavy on my brain you will fall. 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

  17. #17
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    I know I'm beating a dead HORSEMAN'S saber with this line of questioning, and I promise to stop now. Thanks to you and Javier for your wise counsel--it is very much appreciated.
    Andy Masich

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    This forum is for questions. I wish I was smarter and could answer all your questions but unfortunately I am not. I am guessing as I am still unsure of French sabres. Having the sabre in hand is key unless you are like some of these hawks on here. I think I am close to right on your sabre but do not want to miss lead you. I have some I have beat for a long time and still know little. I do not think these types have been reasearched a lot as there can be so many variations. I am glad to see other examples, especially yours. Your hilt is a real beauty in its craftsmanship and detail. Compare it to the hilts in the other examples. I hope others chime in and post more.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

  19. #19
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    Another of those "NO ME SAQUES" curved blades:

    http://charlestonmuseum.tumblr.com/post/66187635454

    I do not think it is a 1796, nor a Woolley blade.

    And another one, without the small channel:

    http://www.delcampe.net/page/item/id...anguage,S.html

    Another:
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...tues-Sin-Razon
    And another:
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...Identification
    Last edited by Javier Ramos; 04-18-2015 at 10:57 PM.
    La vida amable, el enemigo hombre fuerte, ordinario el peligro, natural la defensa, la Ciencia para conseguirla infalible, su estudio forçoso, y el exercicio necessario conviene al que huviere de ser Diestro, no ignore la teorica, para que en la practica, el cuerpo, el braço, y los instrumentos obren lo conveniente a su perfeccion. --Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez.

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    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...t=#post1210598
    Antonio López de Santa Anna as well as previous leaders in Mexico used French AN IX and British 1796 swords. British 1796 pattern swords were made in Solingen as well as some in the US. The French swords as well were made in Solingen copied in the US. I did not mean to imply it was made in France but rather it is a French style. The Spaniards as well as Mexicans later used everything till it was used up in Colonial America and Iimported many swords. I think your hilt because it is so well made in the Colonial Spanish style predates its present blade many years. In my travels in the US south west and in Mexico I see uncountable variations*Juan had a great post about Spanish regulations in 1796 that was very informative. in this forum at link on top. Javier your info on the "NO ME SAQUES" blades is very informative. I would be interested in any info you have on them as they play a big part in our colonialzation. How many years and what is the time frame they were produced? Masich your sword predates 1820 and everything southeast and southwest US to the border of Brazil was Spanish. I am not sure where your style originated. The true espada anchas seem to have originated in the Texas, New Mexico and northern Mexico area, but thats a guess. In 1720, 45 Spanish soldiers and their Pueblo guides were massacred in Kansas by a French troop with a bunch of ( I think) Pawnee indians. Point being the Spaniards were everywhere including Vancouver Island and beyond. 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

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javier Ramos View Post
    Difficult to say. The "no me saques sin razon" curved blades are relatively abundant and have a constant lettering style, probably an export thing from Solingen. Although they seem like early 1800s, similar writing appears in straight cavalry blades for the model 1728.
    I agree, the constant lettering and similar decorations suggest Solingen production for the export to some catholic countries (first of all Spain, but also South Germany/Austria and Poland).
    They were produced during the whole 18th century. I believe, the production date for particularly this blade was around 1760-1790.
    Here is example of earlier production, around 1700-1730, for the export to Austria/South Germany
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  22. #22
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    There is something weird with these swords. Blades can be grouped to a few (at least four) morphologies. But it is difficult to find two grips-hilts alike.
    This would match the idea that blades were exported (from Solingen probably) already etched, and hilted somewhere else, sometimes with crude made ad hoc furniture, less often with top fashion designs (see above the imperial style one).

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    An important question for dating is if the curved blades are from the same workshop and time than the straight ones, since the hilts of these are easier to date. For example:

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    (The motto blades probably arrived to Scotland straight from Solingen, what supports the theory that they were probbaly etched already there).

    This likely since both tipes share the reversed "q" and often another parts of decoration, as moons and suns (typical Solingen):

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    Some straight blades have hilts clearly from middle XVIIIth century:

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    Or even earlier (remounted?)

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    If these blades come from single workshop sometime in the middle of XVIIIth century, the curved ones are older than the 1796 even when they have a similar aspect, what agrees with Ivan post:

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    A variation has the spelling RAZON instead of RASON.

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    Finally there is another type of straight "NO ME SAQUES", with three narrow channels, also remounted in unlikely hilts, typical Solingen export blade but from a different workshop and maybe older:

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    Another with narrower channels was used in US Civil War by the CSA, first one in
    http://www.civilwardealer.com/displa...ery.asp?CID=44
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    Last edited by Javier Ramos; 04-20-2015 at 03:18 AM.
    La vida amable, el enemigo hombre fuerte, ordinario el peligro, natural la defensa, la Ciencia para conseguirla infalible, su estudio forçoso, y el exercicio necessario conviene al que huviere de ser Diestro, no ignore la teorica, para que en la practica, el cuerpo, el braço, y los instrumentos obren lo conveniente a su perfeccion. --Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez.

  23. #23
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    Actually, one type of hilts is known in several identical examples and was regulated or, more likely, it was an order (from Spain?) for a couple of identical swords.
    The guard is inspired by Bavarian m/1788 sword, but it is made from brass, lesser and much more delicate compared to Rumford sword.
    Dmitry have described one here
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...Identification
    and I have completely identical one. I have also seen few similar swords
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  24. #24
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    Yes I saw the older post. The question is what country used that sword? since it seems Solingen was exporting those blades with the Spanish motto to different ones. It could be catholic as you say, but aside from the Scottish examples, there is a thread at www.vikingsword.com about a shamshir with the motto (pictures are not there anymore).

    PS http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ighlight=spain
    Last edited by Javier Ramos; 04-20-2015 at 05:59 PM.

  25. #25
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    Hi to all,

    I honestly think that with these sort of trade blades it is almost an useless effort trying to set up a typology of associated hilts. For instance, I have a light Infantry sabre (or, perhaps, made for a naval officer) mounting the curved version of these "No me saques...", with a hilt of a different variety: made in full brass (grip included) and a simple stirrup guard. Good blade, clean casting, but yet a simple and very serviceable weapon.

    As a side note, regarding the straight blades, I think that some of them could be originally made in Spain, according to some stamps in the ricasso, similar to the Toledo city hallmarks. Soon, both text and font could be copied in the number of thousands in Solingen, and then exported elsewhere. However, I think that the curved version may had a German origin. To expand their catalogue, so to say.

    Interesting pictures, BTW. Specially that military shell guard made of... brass?? Thanks for sharing
    Juan J.
    SI, SI
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