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Thread: Please help with sword identification

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Please help with sword identification

    G'day everyone,
    I have a few swords from my late fathers collection that maybe someone can identify please.
    I must say that I am developing a keen interest.

    The one in this post I think is cavalry?
    It has a massive 33.5" Wilkinson un numbered blade with etchings of lion and 'VR' cypher.
    Manouchehr from MEIA forum translated script as 'the work of Henry Wilkinson from London'
    The hilt and scabbard seem plated but I dont know what type, scabbard has unusual hanging rings, the grip looks like horn,bone or antler?
    I can't believe that a sword as nice as this does'nt have a serial number!.....it would make it so much easier for ID.
    Robert if you there, this is the one that I thought might be 'scinde horse pattern'.

    .....any body want to have a lash at it? I have more images if needed.

    thank you in advance
    cheers
    sid.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by Sidney B.; 03-16-2009 at 10:29 AM.

  2. #2
    Stunning sword! Definitely a cavalry sword for an HEIC cavalry regiment, although I do not know which one. I am not sure if the acanthus hilt was exclusive to any one regiment. Like your other sword, an enquiry to ArmsResearch.co.uk may yield an answer as to the sword's original owner as well as the regiment.

    All the best,
    Jonathan

  3. #3
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    Mar 2009
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    re sword ID.

    Here are some more images.
    Thank you
    sid.

    .....Geez that was quick Jonathan!!
    thanks for the prompt info.
    what is HEIC?
    Yeah, father had a detailed description list of all his swords but buggered if I can find it anywhere!
    The sword is in really good condition, I have not cleaned anything, nor do I dare try!

    Can the original owner be traced without a numbered blade?...would that mean that there are no records whatsoever?

    cheers
    sid.
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by Sidney B.; 03-16-2009 at 10:21 AM.

  4. #4
    Sid,
    Owners can be traced without serial numbers, but other clues are needed, e.g. initials/monograms, names etched on the blade, etc.

    HEIC is the Honourable East India Company, and the rampant lion on the blade indicates HEIC. Knowing the serial number of your sword we can figure out the year it was made/sold, but without knowing that we can date it to the period 1857-1874 (1857 is the year the scroll hilt was introduced, 1874 is when the HEIC was dissolved).

    Jonathan

    Hopefully John Hart and Robert Wilkinson-Latham will comment as they have more experience with these than I do.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
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    Thanks Jonathan for your informative resolve!

    Yes we wait in anticipation for the other two oracles to join us!
    I did not locate any number on the back edge, nor other names, initials etc on the sword.
    An interesting odd detail I found pertaining to one of John's Wilkinson swords was that there was a serial number stamped on the inside of the scabbard mouthpiece.
    I'll have a good look when I get back home...you never know, we might find provenance yet!

    So could we safely narrow it between 1857 and 1874?
    If between those years there is a gap in the proof books, that would narrow it down even further since it is un numbered.
    I shall get onto armsresearch.com presently.....in the mean time I'll research Honourable East India Company.
    The sword indeed looks like a special order, too nice for undress purposes, I've never seen hang rings, grips like that before.

    regards
    sid.
    Last edited by Sidney B.; 03-16-2009 at 11:13 AM.

  6. #6
    The acanthus hilt could pre-date its official introduction in 1857. Wilkinson began numbering blades in 1854, so perhaps this one demonstrates that the hilt existed before it was introduced as the regulation pattern for Royal Engineers officers in 1857 (the hilt was brass instead of steel).

  7. #7
    Hi Sidney,

    I also have an un-numbered Wilkinson sword with the same or similar guard and Arabic marking on the blade. The blade on my sword is much more curved, has a wooden leather covered scabbard and the grip is of standard type and it would be interesting to compare notes. I am presently researching and writing on the subject of swords such as this, and it was not un-common for makers such as Wilkinson and Garden to display their name and address on swords made for Indian service. The guard type and scabbard loops are of a design used by some officers of the Scinde horse and some blades were made at a length of 37"; the horn (if it is horn) grip is not common, but also not unusual on officers swords in use in India. I would be very interested to get some finer details and dimensions of your sword and discuss your sword with you at length.

    Gordon

  8. #8
    Hi Sidney,

    I also have an un-numbered Wilkinson sword with the same or similar guard and Arabic marking on the blade. The blade on my sword is much more curved, has a wooden leather covered scabbard and the grip is of standard type and it would be interesting to compare notes. I am presently researching and writing on the subject of swords such as this, and it was not un-common for makers such as Wilkinson and Garden to display their name and address in Arabic on swords made for Indian service. The guard type and scabbard loops are of a design used by some officers of the Scinde horse and some blades were made at a length of 37"; the horn (if it is horn) grip is not common, but also not unusual on officers swords in use in India. I would be very interested to get some finer details and dimensions of your sword and discuss your sword with you at length.

    Gordon (Melbourne Aus.)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidney B. View Post
    Here are some more images.
    Thank you
    sid.

    .....Geez that was quick Jonathan!!
    thanks for the prompt info.
    what is HEIC?
    Yeah, father had a detailed description list of all his swords but buggered if I can find it anywhere!
    The sword is in really good condition, I have not cleaned anything, nor do I dare try!

    Can the original owner be traced without a numbered blade?...would that mean that there are no records whatsoever?

    cheers
    sid.
    Like the Henry Wilkinson Pall Mall London in Sanskrit!
    Robert

  10. #10
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    Oct 2007
    Location
    Hampshire
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.G. Hopkins View Post
    Sid,
    Owners can be traced without serial numbers, but other clues are needed, e.g. initials/monograms, names etched on the blade, etc.

    HEIC is the Honourable East India Company, and the rampant lion on the blade indicates HEIC. Knowing the serial number of your sword we can figure out the year it was made/sold, but without knowing that we can date it to the period 1857-1874 (1857 is the year the scroll hilt was introduced, 1874 is when the HEIC was dissolved).

    Jonathan

    Hopefully John Hart and Robert Wilkinson-Latham will comment as they have more experience with these than I do.
    The HEIC may have finally been dissolved in 1874 but the Company lost all its administrative powers; its Indian possessions, including its armed forces, which were taken over by the Crown after the 1857 Indian Mutiny and this included its armies.
    The India Office was established under the provisions of the Government of India Act 1858. This act transferred the powers and functions of the British East India Company to the Crown, which continued to function as the ultimate ruler of India until 1947, when British India was partitioned into the independent states of India and Pakistan.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Wilkinson-Latham View Post
    The HEIC may have finally been dissolved in 1874 but the Company lost all its administrative powers; its Indian possessions, including its armed forces, which were taken over by the Crown after the 1857 Indian Mutiny and this included its armies.
    The India Office was established under the provisions of the Government of India Act 1858. This act transferred the powers and functions of the British East India Company to the Crown, which continued to function as the ultimate ruler of India until 1947, when British India was partitioned into the independent states of India and Pakistan.
    Thanks Robert! I could not remember the dates so I did a quick Google search. 1874 seemed late to me but I went with it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    New South Wales Australia
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon byrne View Post
    Hi Sidney,

    I also have an un-numbered Wilkinson sword with the same or similar guard and Arabic marking on the blade. The blade on my sword is much more curved, has a wooden leather covered scabbard and the grip is of standard type and it would be interesting to compare notes. I am presently researching and writing on the subject of swords such as this, and it was not un-common for makers such as Wilkinson and Garden to display their name and address in Arabic on swords made for Indian service. The guard type and scabbard loops are of a design used by some officers of the Scinde horse and some blades were made at a length of 37"; the horn (if it is horn) grip is not common, but also not unusual on officers swords in use in India. I would be very interested to get some finer details and dimensions of your sword and discuss your sword with you at length.

    Gordon (Melbourne Aus.)
    Hi Gordon,

    Thank you very much everyone for the ID information.
    I shall describe it as a HEIC cavalry officers sword.
    I still am confused with what pattern it might be, the reference books have this type as a p1821 heavy cavalry, is it so?

    Yes Gordon it will be most interesting to confer and compare details, what would you like to know?

    regards
    sid

  13. #13
    Sid,
    This sword is not a regulation pattern. It is a special pattern for an Indian Army cavalry regiment, and was a pattern of the regiment's own choosing rather than a regulation pattern mandated by the British government. It has elements of several regulation patterns. The blade is similar to or the same as the blade that is found on P1821 HC or LC officers' swords, and the hilt is a steel acanthus hilt which is similar to P1857 Royal Engineers officers' swords (but as stated earlier, these hilts were gilt brass).

    Jonathan

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