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Thread: Friedrich Herder Abr. Sohn WW1/Ottoman Sword/Sabre ID please!

  1. #1

    Question Friedrich Herder Abr. Sohn WW1/Ottoman Sword/Sabre ID please!

    Hi everyone!

    I am not a collector – I would just like some help with an identification. My father-in-law is from the UK and has a sword that has been passed down from his grandfather who fought in Germany circa WW1. We are not interested in selling it, and are more interested in its origin than its value. I did finally find the manufacturer and have emailed for info but am not expecting a reply.

    With the help of, I have this info:

    General Notes:
    1. Maker's mark on blade underneath the side of the hilt with the shield carving – Friedrich Herder Abraham Sohn, Solingen
    2. Sword is not a replica, has been in family since approximately WW1 era
    3. Very slightly curved saber shape
    4. Silver colored blade is etched from the hilt to about halfway down, and from about the middle to the point is shiny
    5. Blade does not look sharpened, and is etched with floral motif on the top edge also
    6. Hilt is a brassy color, contains crescent moons and both 5 and 6 pointed star carvings, a blank shield shape, tulip motifs, and a lion head with his tongue out on the cross guard
    7. Pommel has the crescent moon and 6-pointed star but appears a brighter gold color in a circle dead center of the insignia
    8. Grip is some kind of blackish hide, with an almost lizard-scale texture (ray? fish?), held in place with twisted, textured wires
    9. Scabbard is plain dark metal with a brassy colored hanging ring

    1. Crescent moon and star (both 5 and 6 points) carvings on side of hilt and top of pommel
    2. Blank shield or crest on one side of hilt
    3. Lion head on cross guard
    4. Tulip carvings on hilt
    5. Blade etched with:
    • 1. Collections of crossed swords
    • 2. Battle axes/pole arms
    • 3. Banners with no discernible country origin
    • 4. Knight's head in plate mail armor
    • 5. Shield with 6-pointed star
    • 6. Crossed pair of lances? Not sure what these items are
    • 7. Drum with zig-zag pattern
    • 8. Floral filigree motif
    • 9. No words or numbers in any language can be found (by me, anyway)

    My guesses:
    1. Ottoman empire probably
    2. Maybe issued to/commissioned by a Turkish/German infantry soldier
    3. Appears to be more of a military item than a gift for a high ranking official – does not have the ornate lion-head pommel I keep seeing
    4. Seems well used, unless the family has just spent too much time handling it

    Photos are all as high res as I could post – link is at photobucket at and just a note that my commiegirl username is just a reference to Commodore 64 computers, not the cold war

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Pictures would help a great deal here for us to help you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    North East USA
    Blog Entries
    the pics are on her photobucket link:

    sword pics

    ~ Hostem Hastarum Cuspidibus Salutemus ~

    "Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who don't."
    Benjamin Franklin

  4. #4
    The link to my photobucket is there at the end. There are 32 pics at high res but you have to click the thumbnail that you're interested in to see the full shot. Here's the link again Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Nipmuc USA
    A crescent moon and star would be for Turkish use.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    L'abbaye de Theleme
    After the enter of Turkey in the war at their side, Germans provided them with some troops to supply deficiencies, including full artillery batteries. They adopted some pieces of turkish uniforms like helmets and their colour. I guess this sword comes from one of their officers.
    It should not be difficult to make some google searchs, better in German...
    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.

  7. #7
    Thank you - I have done a TON of google searches just to get to this point. Many are in german, and I can translate with google to get some information. It does seem that this was either a Turkish officer's German-made sword, or it was a German officer's sword used while fighting in Turkey (such as Gallipoli conquest.) I would like to know whether it belonged to a German or a Turkish officer, and maybe some info such as what the grip is made from. Does anyone know of any books (even in German) regarding German-made WW1/Ottoman era swords, or maybe lists of Friedrich Herder Abr. Sohn weaponry from that timeframe? I have contacted the current FAH company but have not received any response to my email (yet.) Thanks again!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    L'abbaye de Theleme
    After a single search in google images with
    "german uniforms in turkey 1915"

    I got this:

    Your sword fails probably under the 1909 turkish model for officers. We have some Turkish members, maybe they can provide more information.

    Navigating from that page I landed in this other:

    Where it seems there is nothing remarkable about swords used by German troops in Turkey. They are however different for troops in China (not officially) and Africa.

    The grip is covered in shark skin.
    Last edited by Javier Ramos; 02-17-2015 at 04:48 PM.

  9. #9
    I already saw the first link some time ago, but our sword is different with the lion on the crossguard. I think you are right, the 1909 Turkish officers' model looks the closest. I guess I am hoping that I will find a picture of the exact sword and find some history, but that is a crazy thought I am so happy to know anything at all - these forums have been so very helpful. My father in law knew absolutely nothing about the sword - we did not know if it was military or Masonic or just a really nice decorative item. I appreciate your help. Thank you!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Rugby, UK
    To answer one of your questions:- the grip is wood covered in shagreen (sharkskin). This is a common covering as it wears well and provides excellent grip.
    The journey not the destination

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Guy C View Post
    To answer one of your questions:- the grip is wood covered in shagreen (sharkskin). This is a common covering as it wears well and provides excellent grip.
    Thank you for that info - we never would have guessed shark. I am considering buying German Swords and Sword Makers by Richard Bezdek but am trying to decide if it will help me.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Nipmuc USA
    You can contact Bezdek directly and he will ID , as well as appraise it for a fee.

  13. #13
    WOW - I saw that site but did not realize that he is "" Thank you - I am definitely going to look into an ID.

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