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Thread: Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Sword - no markings?

  1. #1

    Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Sword - no markings?

    I seek expert advice on this sword please, it is not mine but belongs to a very serious & long term collector of British militaria, who has collected since the 1960s.

    His info to me re this sword is:
    Pat 1796 British Heavy Cavalry sword, ex Tower ex Peter Dale of Pall Mall arcade London with scabbard. Bought 1982. Exc example Not been altered. Peter Dale had lots of these purchased direct? from The Tower I believe. Sell one in the shop, down to the basement and bring out the next.

    The sword itself is devoid of markings which is unusual. It does not appear to me - a non expert on this subject - to be a reproduction, is this an original sword?

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    Last edited by A Roads; 12-18-2018 at 10:13 PM.

  2. #2
    more photos..
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    Last edited by A Roads; 12-18-2018 at 10:15 PM.

  3. #3
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    From your photos it looks like a genuine, very good example of a 1796 HC. Rare to see fully unmodified, typically being langets removed, hatchet point sharpened to spear point, or the disc hilt cut down to reduce the diameter.

    Osborn & Gunby listed from around 1808 - 1820.

    No sign of the makers mark on the back of the blade which would be nice to confirm sword and scabbard originally together. The other mark you would hope to see would be a small crowned number, which is an ordnance inspection stamp, on one face of the blade. This could have been polished out in the past.

    Jerry

  4. #4
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    Lovely original sword in my opinion, if it is by Osborn & Gunby, it can be dated from about 1805 until 1820 when O & G parted company. Wish I’d bought it in 1982! (Snap! - Jerry).
    Last edited by Ben Bevan; 12-19-2018 at 06:59 AM.

  5. #5
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    This is one sword I would love to have in my collection, however; they are so stinking pricy and often replicated. One pattern not copied buy us but an awesome sword. Very hard to find over here and rather impossible in the wild west. Thanks for posting an original for viewing. 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

  6. #6
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    And with the uncommon eight-lobed grip, no less!
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Cain View Post
    And with the uncommon eight-lobed grip, no less!
    That grip and straighter profile of it along with the apparently thinner plate on the guard threw me, but it’s comforting to see that it was a variant of the 1796 HCTS.
    Last edited by Larks G; 12-19-2018 at 10:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    I see the grip variant topic has actually already been discussed here before, I for one am very interested to learn more if anyone has any more knowledge on the topic:

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...-grip-variants

  9. #9
    Thank you gentlemen, it is a relief to be assured that the sword is original. It is curious though that there are no markings on the blade - no makers mark nor an inspection stamp - the blade does not appear to have undergone any severe polishing that would remove that much metal, has anyone come across this before?

  10. #10
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    I don't think the absence of a maker's name on the back of the blade is an issue. Many of these models do not carry makers names at all, and swords and scabbards have often been paired up later, either in their working lives or later still.

    The lack of an ordnance inspection stamp on the blade I dont have an answer for. You can see what the stamp looks like on my one, not easy to miss. I would still say it could have been polished out, if not deeply struck, but I can't think of a reason why it would not have been stamped. Possibly a private purchase example for a militia regiment, therefore not inspected by ordnance? Though I would have thought these would still have been inspected. Others on this forum might have another answer.

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    Jerry

  11. #11
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    The lack of inspection mark most likely because it was never presented for inspected. Having no modifications could be a sign of lack of official use.
    It is possible a light inspection strike and later cleanings removed the marking but usually the whole sword would then show signs of considerable corrosion.
    Regardless of markings or not this sword is in the desirable original configuration and the peened tang appears untouched.
    A hard to improve on 1796 HC sword, only regimental markings could add to it.

  12. #12
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    Given it’s lack of modifications and inspection/maker marks could it be one of the 2000 odd that were exported to Sweden?

  13. #13
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    The Swedes marked the 2000 p1796 HC swords they acquired in 1808, as did the Portuguese, who also acquired examples of this pattern (I have photos of both that show how they were marked), so I think Will's explanation makes a lot of sense.

    For those interested in the grip variations, I have now seen eight of the eight-lobe examples, all but one of which were made by Osborn & Gunby (the odd man out being a Bates sword). I don't believe the lobe count is significant in any way . . . just a manufacturing variance.

    Mr. Roads, for what it may be worth, the Osborn & Gunby stamp on my example is on the spine, about a half-inch from the guard and is fairly faint. The point of balance "B" stamp is on the spine about 12 inches from the guard and requires a good magnifying glass to see clearly.

  14. #14
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    If this was one of a number purchased direct from the Tower by Peter Dale, you might expect that it would have been through the ordnance system and received an inspection stamp. Given that provenance it doesn't quite add up, though I completely agree its a very good original piece. Sword and scabbard may not have originated together though, for that I would have expected to see the makers name on the spine as well as the scabbard.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Cain View Post
    The Swedes marked the 2000 p1796 HC swords they acquired in 1808, as did the Portuguese, who also acquired examples of this pattern (I have photos of both that show how they were marked)
    Hi Mark,
    I have an unmodified P1796 H.C. that I got from Portugal and I would be grateful if you could post the photos that show these Portuguese markings.
    My Regards,
    Norman.

  16. #16
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    Here you go, Norman.

    They're not the greatest shots, but there is no photography allowed in the Military Museum in Porto, and it was enclosed in a case, so I had to sneak these quickly without a flash and hope for the best.

    This example is marked on the outside of the knucklebow with four alphanumerics at the corners of a square with another in the center of the square, but in this case, the stamps on the guard (R-1-7-0 with a A in the center) do not match the stamps on the scabbard (R-1-6-9 with a C in the center). I'm guessing they refer to Regiment 1, Troop A, weapon 70, and Regiment 1, Troop C, weapon 69, respectively. The "F 20" on the scabbard is anyone's guess (perhaps a later assignment?); it did not appear to be represented anywhere on the sword itself. I haven't done any research on what unit the R1 designation might be, but I would guess an elite HC unit.

    Sadly, the angle of the blade combined with the poor lighting to prevent me from seeing any maker's stamps, but it is another eight-lobed grip, so maybe it's another Osborn & Gunby.

    Keep in mind this is only one example; others may have been stamped in another manner (or maybe not stamped at all), but we won't know until we find them.
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  17. #17
    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for the images. My sword is marked to Gill and the scabbard is marked to Osborn and Gunby. It does have a curious mark, see photo, but not like yours. Thanks again.
    My Regards,
    Norman.
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  18. #18
    Mr. Roads, for what it may be worth, the Osborn & Gunby stamp on my example is on the spine, about a half-inch from the guard and is fairly faint. The point of balance "B" stamp is on the spine about 12 inches from the guard and requires a good magnifying glass to see clearly.

    Hi Mark, I was unaware of these having a balance point mark & thus your post soon had me with blade & magnifying glass in hand to seek a very faint "B" mark, the back edge is in good condition & there is no mark there. I double checked for a faint makers mark or inspection stamp, nothing at all. I do not think this blade has gone through the marking process, I suppose that there are exceptions to every rule & one can only speculate as to how this example avoided that & for what reasons. Adrian.

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