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Thread: Robert Mole Serial Number asistance ...

  1. #1
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    Robert Mole Serial Number asistance ...

    Cheers lads,

    I recently purchased a Pattern 1895 VR Officers Sword - the blade is marked Robert Mole and Sons, Birmingham, Makers to the War and India Offices - S/N - M2243

    Any insight on this number appreciated!

    Simon.
    Last edited by S.White; 11-07-2016 at 08:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi Simon,

    Unfortunately, when Wilkinson took over Mole's sword-making interests in 1920, they don't appear to have inherited (or didn't preserve) detailed order book info. While Robert Wilkinson-Latham's rather useful book on Mole does give details of his government and other bulk contracts, as well as some private sale info, as far as I know there is no linkage between serial numbers and purchasers for any British swords apart from Wilkinson.

    Cheers,

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  3. #3
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    Cheers John,

    I had suspected as much but had hopes that something may survive or that private owner surveys may have turned up something new at some juncture. I'm very happy with the sword however as it came with provenance - a photograph of the Officer holding the sword from the Gloucestershire Regiment circa 2nd Anglo Boer War in Patrol Uniform. I suspect that's about as much as I'm likely to know and that's fine by me.

    All the best, Simon.

  4. #4
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    If you can narrow it down to a rank that would give you an even smaller number of choices. Also if yours is an 1895 pattern instead of an 1897, then my money would be on an officer commissioned during that 2-year timespan.

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  5. #5
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    Cheers John,

    It is absolutely an 1895 Pattern, no turned up lip on the inside guard - it also came with the original sword knot and dress scabbard. I'll have to try and see what I can deduce regarding rank from the photgraph provided - thanks for the suggestions!

    Simon.

  6. #6
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    How strong is the provenance of the photo? In my experience photos get mixed up or added at later dates and have nothing to do with the sword. Sometimes the family photo is correct and the sword was a later addition.

  7. #7
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    Cheers Will ...

    Prov is good - dings in the scabbard photographed also match exactly those on the sword scabbard itself. The sword came down through a family estate but I do not have the Officer's name sadly.

  8. #8
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    You would have the surname since it was a family estate? If not the auctioneer would know this.

  9. #9
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    Sorry no ... the estate was removed from my time of purchase - and the dealer I got it from did not have that information either. I am happy with the image and the sword details matching the sword also ... I had my doubts at first but once the sword arrived and I was able to study both the image and the sword closely I was convinced otherwise. Hence my hope for information through the Serial No to tie the name down to something more concrete ...
    Last edited by S.White; 11-08-2016 at 05:48 AM.

  10. #10
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    I hope your dealer is trustworthy, most to all are not 100%. I could not tell one 1895p sword from another using a period photo unless something in particular was altered.
    I purchased one sword with good provenance but the photo was an obvious later addition, a Scottish officer photo but the provenance was to an English officer.
    I have a Mole 1827p sword supposedly to a Canadian officer, the etched blade has VRI and his initials . The sword belonged to a British officer in India who temporarily went insane.
    I don't like bursting bubbles but since your sword came from a dealer one must purchase the sword not the story.
    The photo could be correct but lets hope there was no premium on the sword for a photo.
    Can you post some photos?

  11. #11
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    Thanks Will ... I hear you and appreciate your concern - we are of the same mind, have no fear. I've spent the bulk of my collecting life buying Military Firearms from late 19th Century, WW1 and WW2 so I am not blind to tricks and deception in the dealer market concerning antiques. The old saying in the Milsurp market was "Buy the gun, not the story" ... same applies to swords as you say. Luckily the dealer is absolutely solid, someone I trust and is vouched for by another absolutely solid dealer who I regularly buy from. I don't have any images to share right now but healthy skepticism is in no short supply since I've been around the track a few times - I'm sufficiently satisfied with all I know and now possess, including the good name of the dealer that what I have is very likely correct. Of course there is always a chance it is not right at all ... and without a name and something to tie a Serial Number to ... the connection will always be tenuous rather than iron clad. The sword did not come at a premium and I got it for a song in fact, so all is fair here ... I knew exactly what I was getting and I'm well happy with the purchase.

    Best, Simon.
    Last edited by S.White; 11-08-2016 at 06:26 AM.

  12. #12
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    Good to hear. I find Mole etching on their blades 1st rate. I have an 1895p Mole with a tag written by an old hand stating the original owner (Maj Gen. Graham). Number M2404
    Came directly from the family the auctioneer said.
    Same type of provenance but more likely than not to be true.

  13. #13
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    Our Serial Numbers are very close ... up until recently I was a Senior Mod of a large International Military Firearms forum, a duty I performed for nearly 10 years (Stepped away due to lack of time) ... I contributed quite a bit to the community by starting several Serial Number surveys for Enfield rifles from members data that shed a great deal of light on production figures and dates. I don't half wonder if the same idea might well be applied to Robert Mole swords - if it hasn't been done already?

  14. #14
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    A survey would be helpful. Only range that is within a couple years are the 1895p swords. Traded my Enfield years ago a No4Mk1 Longbranch made in 1947. Used to have shelves full of parts including wood stocks, now removed from the shops years ago. A friend has come across many small unused parts that he sells.

  15. #15
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    Nice ... good old Canadian Longbranch - I have my Longbranch No4 Mk1* (Generally all 2 groove barrels) still sitting in the safe along with all the other factory makes of Lee Enfield - Malty, B.S.A, Fazakerley, Enfield, Lee Speed etc ... many Aussie made Lithgows and a lovely No4T Sniper along with it. I still have all my Military Rifles, no plans to sell those off ... yet ... though my Sword collecting is becoming rather obsessive of late and I have been tempted to sell a couple to fund a sword purchase or two.

  16. #16
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    Mole sword #M2673 is an 1895p infantry officers sword. This is the highest number I've seen for 1895. Is there a dedicated post to Mole serial numbers?

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