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Thread: 1796 HC Sword, Rack Marks

  1. #1

    1796 HC Sword, Rack Marks

    Greetings All

    I've been a lurker on here, but now I need a little help.

    I'm currently doing some work on a 1796 HC Trooper's Sword, it doesn't belong to me but the owner tells me it belonged to her Grandfather (who died in 1933) although where he got it from is anybody's guess.
    Its been somewhat neglected as its spent quite a few years in a shed.

    At some point it its past someone thought that painting the metal parts of the hilt and a couple of inches of blade with black modeller's enamel paint was a good idea

    Anyway, I've managed to remove the paint and discovered what I think are engraved Rack Marks (front of the knucklebow, written with the blade down) . They read:
    No 5

    So, Number 5 of D troop ?
    "Y" suggests Yeomanry ? If so which?

    The unsharpened blade is full length and still has its hatchet point, the hilt has its langets and the full guard.... Even the leather washer was under the paint. The leather grip wrapping is there but is cracked in all the places sweaty fingers would go, I think that someone was diligent with his swordwork.

    I can't post pictures ATM as I haven't uploaded them anywhere, I'll add them asap

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Stratford upon Avon UK
    Look forward to seeing some pictures Harry, always helps, but it is often a guessing game if it is Yeomanry. You’ve got Leicestershire, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, and Lanarkshire as the main targets, but at the time many referred to themselves as ‘Light Horse’, ‘Loyal’, ‘Volunteers’, or certainly Yeomanry Cavalry ( is there possibly a ‘C’ after the LY?) plus a number of other L’s that were raised and disbanded in the early 1800’s. Have you found an inspection or markers stamp on the blade, and I assume there is no scabbard? Ben.

  3. #3
    Welcome to the forum Harry,

    On the subject of pictures, you don't need to remotely host them.
    You can upload them directly to the thread.
    When you go to type in a reply, click on the box below that says 'go advanced' and you should see the option to 'manage attachments'. You can then browse files on your computer and upload directly to the thread without having to use a secondary host.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    North West US
    Shrink them to 100 KB first.
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Nipmuc USA
    The sfi attachment function resizes and compresses even large images automatically. You can also just use the landscape icon above any text entry window to upload and display.

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    The little tree icon next to the film strip ^^^^^^^ in all text windows. An advantage is placing images within paragraphs or comments

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    You can upload via the manage attachments as well and once uploading five, you can then upload five more, up to twenty per post

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    Fool around with it for full benefits and utility. As a for instance, those screenshots were 140kb+ on my drive but the system resized it when I uploaded it. I have uploaded even massive images that were resized automatically.


  6. #6
    Right then, a few photos of the sword as I received it (please note the loop of electrical wire used as a hanger)

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    I haven't got any photos since cleaning the paint and rust off, I'll try and sort some soon.

    Ben, you're right. Not only is there no scabbard, the owner doesn't remember ever having seen one.
    While, as a re-enactor, I would want a scabbard I'm not sure if finding a replacement would be the right thing to do from a collecting POV.... Advice please on that folks.

    Due to the spacing there is no room for an additional letter, as yet I haven't found any stamps.... Where would they most likely be?

    I can see I may need to contact the owner and find out more of her Grandfather's service history, I also have a tulwar that she told me she has a photo of him in uniform holding (this too suffered at the hands of the demon painter)......I suppose you'd all like to see photos of that as well?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Stratford upon Avon UK
    Harry, overall it’s in quite good condition, leather grip mostly intact ( Black Kiwi shoe polish with help and fill in the gaps) and with a bit of gentle cleaning (no abrasives! I would suggest Autosol Polish) the metalwork should come up well. The makers mark would normally be found on the flat spine of the blade near to the hilt, and an inspection/ acceptance mark on the fuller of the blade a few inches from the hilt (in the form of a crown over a number or occasionally a crown over a broad arrow). I asked about the inspection marks because if it is a scarce Yeomanry Sword it may well have been a private purchase and therefore not have regular ordnance marks. You might spend a lifetime looking for an original scabbard but there are reproductions on the net, your choice...Again, more pics (especially the marks you’ve uncovered) and more of us will give opinions!

  8. #8
    Hiya Folks
    I've managed to get my mate with a decent camera to take some more pictures, so here they are..... Enjoy!

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    This is the best one I have for the Rack Marks

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    No sign of stamps on the blade that I can see. I suppose they could be hidden under the black patina, but wouldn't removing that be a step too far?

    I've got a beeswax and turpentine mixture that I've used on old tools and my (reproduction) musket barrel as a protective coating, would that be a suitable finish ??

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Stratford upon Avon UK
    Nice job Harry, it’s come up really well, personally I wouldn’t clean it further, just a good coating of Renaissance Wax. It’s in much better condition than many we see, not even a nick on the blade, which makes me believe it is a Yeomanry sword that didn’t leave it’s scabbard very often! I can’t pinpoint a definite Regiment, the Y I’d bet is Yeomanry, D Troop, but ( not that it makes any difference) isn’t the rack mark No. 3 or No.13 ?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Kingston area, Ontario Canada
    Harry a very nice unaltered example with markings on the knucklebow. How long is the blade? It appears to be of regulation length.

  11. #11
    I wasn't planning on further cleaning, glad to get agreement.
    There is one nick in the blade, but I think thats more likely to be 'boys being boys' then anything else.
    The blade is unsharpened but the position of the cracking in the leather leads me to believe that someone spent quite a lot of time gripping it sabre style, I've see something similar on a re-enactors sword (although that was a Viking langseax so it was more 'hammer-grip') and that guy was well known for having wet palm.

    I'm sure its a No.5, I had to use a strong light and a magnifier to check.

    Will, its a full 35 inch blade as per Regulation.

    One more question if I may.
    Although this sword is not for sale, what kind of value for insurance purposes should I tell the owner?

    I wish it was mine

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Stratford upon Avon UK
    Harry, it’s certainly worth a decent sum but forum rules prevent us from discussing values. Suggest you keep an eye on the for up to date auction sales, there are a couple coming under the hammer soon.

  13. #13
    Ah, sorry I didn't notice that rule.
    I'll keep a look out


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