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Thread: Do you own any numbered and dated SJ Pillin swords?

  1. #51
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    Posted in Facebook and copied here with the owner's permission:

    99131, Retailed by T Mcbride, etched with FEC and crest for Frank Evelyn Coningham, commissioned 1890.
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  2. #52
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    I posted earlier, Capt. John Edgar Dent, a Pillin sword, VR blade 1892 pattern (that is the new style?), Edward VII guard. He served in Sudan, return to barracks in India
    I am presuming he ordered a new sword in 1891 - 1892, maybe for his return to Britain and promotion to Captain. Pillin number 100027

  3. #53
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    I may not have been clear in my previous post with the Maj. Miller-Walnut sword, the number 100619 to 1898. I believe Matts earlier post of an 1893 date may be incorrect due to the serial number being higher than this one. Matt: "My sword 101016 is Victorian and I'm fairly certain dates to 1893."
    Martins chart is quite helpful with dating Pillin swords, do you have an updated chart Martin? I will copy the chart and add it to my sword reference book(s).
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 04-16-2020 at 05:30 AM.

  4. #54
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    I just bought a numbered S.J. Pillin sword yesterday. I thought I would add it here to the growing list for future reference. It’s a 1912 pattern cavalry officers sword number 108128. So I suppose that places it between 1912 and 1922. Here are some pics.

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    Hope that helps...

    Matt

  5. #55
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    Hi, I've been doing a bit of work on this, gathering data on all numbered Pillins I can find whether named or not although most have something to help date them.

    I've got a spreadsheet, not sure how best to share the info. Most of these are from online public sites but some are from Oldswords (i.e. behind a paywall) so I don't feel I can share the whole thing without permission.

    However here are the numbers identified so far, including those discussed in this thread. If anyone knows of any others please let me know. Some of the sites didn't have enough info to identify the officers but there is still a lot of work that can be done. Also welcome advice on how best to share what I have with the group.

    85032
    96443
    96982
    97006
    97060
    97090
    97314
    97415
    97473
    97569
    97578
    97648
    99032
    99045
    99118
    99122
    99131
    99279
    99304
    99349
    99649
    99727
    99862
    99871
    99886
    100027
    100246
    100381
    100418
    100450
    100470
    100614
    100619
    100640
    100838
    100875
    100922
    100959
    100968
    100988
    100993
    101016
    101328
    101333
    101394
    101687
    101800
    102011
    102531
    103393
    103401
    103631
    104070
    104956
    105979
    106068
    106187
    108128

  6. #56
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    Found this one on an old Swedish auction, judging by the surrounding numbers i'm guessing 1896/97 (amended - not 1904)

    I'm struggling to make out the details from the image.

    https://www.bukowskis.com/en/lots/73...ts-andra-halft

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    Last edited by james.elstob; 08-30-2020 at 03:10 PM.

  7. #57
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    Another one for you James, my 1896p, retailed by Holt & Son London, Edward VII Cypher, # 105738. The initials are ‘T L’, Unfortunately I still haven’t conclusively tracked down the Officer. Sorry, images inverted for some reason!
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  8. #58
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    Hi all,

    Every now and again I find another numbered Pillin, mostly with limited information but I've become a little obsessed with this research and I'm not far off completing an article about current knowledge.

    You just never know though when the next piece of the jigsaw is going to come along.

    Today I discovered an example well documented and dated owned by a little known officer named John. R. M. Chard!

    #96533

    I can't tell you how excited I was, you'd almost think I'd won the sword itself!

    Anyone here buy it in today's auction?
    Last edited by james.elstob; 12-17-2020 at 07:47 AM.

  9. #59
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    £81,500 including premium! What a Christmas present...for someone ��. Look forward to seeing your research James.

  10. #60
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    Could anyone help with this regimental etch? Am I being daft? I think the initial are PMS.

    1896p dated around 1896-8
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    Last edited by james.elstob; 12-17-2020 at 12:13 PM.

  11. #61
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    Is that 3 H G? What does the scroll say beneath the lances James, the lighting on your photo is obscuring the detail somewhat.

  12. #62
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    Its not my sword, the images are from the link in post #56.

    I can't make it out. Possibly Lancers but the HG confused me.

  13. #63
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    The only suggestion I have is that it might be H C, that is The 3rd Lancers Hyderabad Contingent (disbanded in 1903), but I’ve never seen an 1896p attributed to an Indian Cavalry Regiment that I can remember.

  14. #64
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    Thanks Ben, I'm not finding a match on the initials PMS in the 3rd lancers HC lists but you could still be right. Another mystery.
    Last edited by james.elstob; 12-18-2020 at 10:03 PM.

  15. #65
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    Ben,

    I think I've found a good match in the 3rd Lancers Hyderabad Contingent: PS Hicks. Thanks for that input.

    Regarding your TL '96 cavalry pattern, do you have any candidates? I note there is a Tom Lawrence VC with the 18th Hussars, although my best guess is that this serial number dates from 1907 and he was commissioned 1904.

    As he was commissioned from the ranks he may not have had the means to acquire a personalised sword immediately. Perhaps he began with a loaner?

  16. #66
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    Thanks James, looks like Lieut.Hicks is a good candidate for you. Regarding mine, I had hoped the simple TL or LT would not be too difficult, however trawling through light and heavy cavalry, yeomanry and veterinary corps hasn’t been easy! Lawrence is Brian Turner Tom Lawrence so unlikely, re initials and date, as you say, we’re looking at 1907 onwards. The only three true ‘TL or ‘LT’s’ I could find in that era are Capt. the Hon. Thomas Lister 10H, but he was killed Somaliland 1904. Capt.Lawrence Timpson Hampshire Carabiners 2nd Lieut. Jan 1906, and Major Thomas Lishman RAVC Lieut. 1907. The search goes on...

  17. #67
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    Going on the serial numbers alone, January 2006 seems too early, so Lishman seems the better option.

    I need more dated examples post 1900 in order to pin down the ranges with any confidence.

    Tom Lawrence does of course have his other names but I figure if he goes by Tom Lawrence in the lists he's likely to prefer those initials on the sword. That said, his career doesn't fit the serial number dating.

  18. #68
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    Looking for help with this latest puzzle.

    A pillin identified from a book '1915: The Death of Innocence' by Lyn Mcdonald. The original source is said to be an article in the Times entitled The swords of fallen officers, dated 5th Jan 1915.

    "My late son's sword may have been picked up and forwarded to someone else. It is a claymore, No106,954 made by S.J. Pillin and embossed on it are the battles of the regiment and DCM from DFM."

    So I'm looking for DCM, an officer in a Scottish regiment, whose father is possibly DFM and who died during WW1, probably before January 1915.

    That serial number I believe falls in or around 1910. In 1911 I can find 3 officers with matching initials in the active list.

    DC Mclagan, territorial RFA 3rd lowland brigade. (lt: 1907)
    DC Miller, 5th Bt. Royal Scots (Lothian) (capt: 1906)
    Hon. DC Marjoribanks

    I can find neither McLagan or Miller as serving in 1914 or as casualties and Marjoribanks survived the war.
    Last edited by james.elstob; 02-20-2021 at 11:12 AM.

  19. #69
    Hi James,

    In the first instance I must say that I don't have any Pillin swords, and I can't recall ever having had any swords marked Pillin, and I have never studied Pillin to any extent. Having said that, I can say that to do with my particular areas of research, I have recorded some swords with a Pillin proof mark, no number and no Pillin name on the blade. And I'm aware of at least two swords that bear a four digit blade number in 1,000 range.

    Given that a few Pillin blades are stamped with a four digit number, is there any indication of when swords numbered in the 1,000 range were made? Is there any explanation as to why the firm first started numbering and then seemingly stopped the process for an extended period?

    There is one sword in the NAM Collection that was sold by Garden & Son 200 Piccadilly London however, I'm firmly convinced that the sword was made by Pillin. Although the "P" detail on the proof slug is difficult to read owing to age deterioration and associated wear, the ricasso is etched with a surround for proof mark which is typical of Pillin etching, as is the blade etching as well.

    The most unusual and important characteristic, is that and the blade is stamped with the number 2627; and this four digit number is not consistent with the numbering associated with Garden swords in general.

    Is it possible that it's actually a Pillin number? A particular number which would start to fill in the huge gaps in the numbering of earlier Pillin blades? If my theory is correct, it would then mean that Pillin made swords with blades numbered in the 1,000 and 2,000 serial ranges are extant.

    Your excellent work is really a very good way to show the relationship and extent of number groups as in 85,000 (nothing at all 86,000-95,000), which seems to represent a relatively huge gap in numbers,...What happened?

    Starting up at 96,000, then 97,000, nothing for 98,000 range, and then 99,000. Then with relative continuity of blade numbers representing the number groups 100,000 through to 106,000, nothing for 107,000, and only one sword number for the 108,000 range.

    Much like some charts on the subject of Wilkinson Proof numbers, and given your work on the subject of Pillin; is it now possible to add the year of production, or estimated year of production, that the various number ranges fall within?

  20. #70
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    Hi Gordon,

    I am reaching the end of an article on the subject which expands on many of the your points, some unfortunately I cannot answer.

    I've found Pillin swords with various number formats including 1 2 3 4 5 6 and even 7 digits in one case!

    4 digits are common and in many cases these feature on swords retailed by Hawkes or John Jones & Co.

    The numbers and the dating show the 4 digit format are not consistent with what I would call Pillin's numbering system. Even among the 4 digit formats there are clear inconsistencies in dating versus sequence so there seems to be various 4 digit numbering sequences in play.

    My best guess is that these are examples of Pillin utilising the client's own numbering system. Beyond that I can't offer you much to assist with your Garden example I'm afraid. My focus has been on the 5-6 digit sequence which now has 96 examples identified in the range 85032 - 108133.

    I'm hoping to finish and get the article uploaded here relatively soon but in short, I do have a draft table correlating dates and serial numbers between 1879 - 1912. At either end there is insufficient data.

    I'm also hoping to cover Pillin proof discs which is a difficult topic in its own right.

    Sometimes it feels like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling but I have some interesting findings to share.

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by james.elstob View Post
    Hi Gordon,

    I am reaching the end of an article on the subject which expands on many of the your points, some unfortunately I cannot answer.

    I've found Pillin swords with various number formats including 1 2 3 4 5 6 and even 7 digits in one case!

    4 digits are common and in many cases these feature on swords retailed by Hawkes or John Jones & Co.

    The numbers and the dating show the 4 digit format are not consistent with what I would call Pillin's numbering system. Even among the 4 digit formats there are clear inconsistencies in dating versus sequence so there seems to be various 4 digit numbering sequences in play.

    My best guess is that these are examples of Pillin utilising the client's own numbering system. Beyond that I can't offer you much to assist with your Garden example I'm afraid. My focus has been on the 5-6 digit sequence which now has 96 examples identified in the range 85032 - 108133.

    I'm hoping to finish and get the article uploaded here relatively soon but in short, I do have a draft table correlating dates and serial numbers between 1879 - 1912. At either end there is insufficient data.

    I'm also hoping to cover Pillin proof discs which is a difficult topic in its own right.

    Sometimes it feels like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling but I have some interesting findings to share.
    Hi James,

    Based on theory only, another number I have in my Garden research stuff is 1621; which again is not consistent with Garden numbering however, in this case there is no proof mark. Would such a number come close to any of the other four digit numbers you've recorded? At least with jelly, you don't end up with egg on your face.

    Regards,

    Gordon

  22. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by james.elstob View Post
    Hi Gordon,

    I am reaching the end of an article on the subject which expands on many of the your points, some unfortunately I cannot answer.

    I've found Pillin swords with various number formats including 1 2 3 4 5 6 and even 7 digits in one case!

    4 digits are common and in many cases these feature on swords retailed by Hawkes or John Jones & Co.

    The numbers and the dating show the 4 digit format are not consistent with what I would call Pillin's numbering system. Even among the 4 digit formats there are clear inconsistencies in dating versus sequence so there seems to be various 4 digit numbering sequences in play.

    My best guess is that these are examples of Pillin utilising the client's own numbering system. Beyond that I can't offer you much to assist with your Garden example I'm afraid. My focus has been on the 5-6 digit sequence which now has 96 examples identified in the range 85032 - 108133.

    I'm hoping to finish and get the article uploaded here relatively soon but in short, I do have a draft table correlating dates and serial numbers between 1879 - 1912. At either end there is insufficient data.

    I'm also hoping to cover Pillin proof discs which is a difficult topic in its own right.

    Sometimes it feels like trying to nail jelly to the ceiling but I have some interesting findings to share.
    Could the various four digit numbering systems being in play suggest order numbering, or a particular four digit sequence having been allocated to each of a number of trade customers.

  23. #73
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    Gordon, both suggestions are possible. Because Hawkes operate their own well known 4 digit system (often supplied with Wilkinson trade blades) I had supposed that all the Pillin 4 digits were were part of client systems but it's possible some may be a seperate Pillin batch system, or even Pillin starting with a 4 digit system before jumping to 5.

    I had avoided trying to explain the 4 digit numbers because it meant becoming expert in several different retailer numbering systems but I'll have to take another look.... pass me some more jelly!
    Last edited by james.elstob; 02-21-2021 at 02:20 AM.

  24. #74
    James,

    For some time the four digit numbers (1621 & 2627) on blades sold under the Garden name had puzzled me to no end, and I must admit that it was only this morning whilst reading your material that I suddenly had the thought that they may not be Garden numbers. However, as I say only a theory.

    Gordon

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