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Thread: Revolutionary Sabre de Cavalerie An IV for inspection.

  1. #1
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    Revolutionary Sabre de Cavalerie An IV for inspection.

    I think this is a good revolutionary Sabre de Cavalerie An IV.

    It started in my opinion as a Sabre de Cavalerie 1784 as the hilt has the old poinçon of François-Antoine Bisch of the Manufacture de Klingenthal, a "crowned B (1783-1791" with a "mutilated" crown. It also has a removed leather thumb strap present on the model 1784 sabres, but absent as by later regulations.

    The hilt started a new revolutionary life as it received a new poinçon of François-Antoine Bisch "plain B (without crown or revolutionary bonnet: 1791-1792)" and "mutilation" of the old royal Fleur de Lys into a resemblanve o a revolutionary bonnet. It also receive a new pommel: model 1784 has a hole while model An IV has not. However there seems not to be a revolutionary "coq" poinçon on the hilt, probably because this mark of the Administration de Guerre was applied only from 1793 (until 1798).

    The sabre also received a new blade. I bears the same "plain B" poinçon of François-Antoine Bisch so it must have been somehow connected with, made at or mounted at Klingenthal. Maybe it's a B poinçon of an unknown manufacturer as on the other side of the ricasso we see the "Faisceau de Licteur" of the Administration de Guerre (1793-1798) and the "AP" poinçon of the Arsenal de Paris/Atelier de Precision, used to mark approved blades from foreign or not official manufacture or repaired blades.

    I don't have an explanation for the wire of the hilt which doesn't seem to be brass as are the other components of hilt and scabbard. A later replacement? Is it simply uncleaned as the other components? Or is it a coincidence as there are revolutionary (Dragoon and other) sabres with iron hilts, wiring and scabbard pieces.

    May I ask for your opinion and (dis)approval to confirm or refute my theories?
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    Last edited by DirkS; 01-12-2020 at 06:11 AM.

  2. #2
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    Concerning the "problem" of the wiring on the grip I can add the following information.

    While one encounters mostly twined double brass strands, on revolutionary sabres also both single and double strands (twined and parallel) can be used. Usually brass wire, but iron wire also exists, especially on Sabres de Dragon.

    Here a few pictures (source Gazette des Armes & Tradition Magazine):

    Sabre de Dragon An IV, iron hilt with single strand iron wiring:
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    Sabre de Chasseur à Cheval 1790, brass hilt with single strand brass wiring:
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    Sabre de Cavalerie & Dragon An IV, brass hilt with double parallel strand brass wiring:
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    Sabre de Cavalerie & Dragon An IV (originally 1784 as the sabre above), brass hilt with double twined strand brass wiring:
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    Last edited by DirkS; 01-12-2020 at 07:09 AM.

  3. #3
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    I would think you would have to authenticate the grip wire on the swords in these photos. Leather and wood shrinks with age, wire does not, and the wire looks tight to the grips.
    Difficult to determine from digital photos, best to have the sword in hand.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    Grip wire on swords that were used and of great age tend to show a good deal of loss. Sometimes the wire under the pommel remains. The second photo demonstrates replaced wire.
    You have a cord wrapped wood core covered by leather and then single strand wire that is far too tight to the grip to be original in my opinion.
    I would not assume photos of other swords show original wire or grip covering. French swords that travelled Europe with Napoleon for years in the field suffer wear and loss and shrinkage from repeated rain/moisture etc.
    Quoted from the other thread about the wiring of this sword.

    Probably you're correct Will and is the wire replaced. The wire should be a brass one undependent of its tightness, not an iron one.
    It's unfortunate as I rather like the rest of the sword.

  5. #5
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    Dirk these early swords were used and original wire is mostly found on pristine examples that may not have been in battle or used for anything but parading.
    I don't consider grip wire overly important unless you collect mint examples. The wire can be replaced by matching up with the correct diameter and material, brass, iron, silver etc.
    I do find that french swords do display much better when they have the correct wire on the grip.
    Definitely would not stop me from a purchase when other details are correct for the pattern.

  6. #6
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    Hi Dirk

    Yes I think this is a perfectly good 1784 sabre modified in the revolution with a remodelled flour-de-lys to a Phrygian cap, and rebladed with an Ateliers de Paris flat unfullered blade. The B could be from the atelier, or maybe a Klingenthal mark if the bade was shipped there for assembly.

    The grip leather looks old and dark, the wire also, could be original. If it has been replaced its an old one.

    Jerry

  7. #7
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    I also meant to comment on the absence of a hole through the pommel which I thought was a feature of the 1784, and distinguished the earlier type from the AnIV manufactured.

  8. #8
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    Interesting to compare - this is my 1784/AnIV with a guard manufactured with the Phrygian cap symbol, rather than the modified flour-de-lys - more shaped and stylised. The blade is fullered, like the original 1784 and the later AnXI cuirassier blade.

    No markings on this blade except the fasces which was used 1793-8.


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  9. #9
    Found this information on the sword pages 33-37 don't know if it will help as I don't understand French.

    http://fr.1001mags.com/parution/gaze...texte-integral

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Cottrell View Post
    Hi Dirk

    Yes I think this is a perfectly good 1784 sabre modified in the revolution with a remodelled flour-de-lys to a Phrygian cap, and rebladed with an Ateliers de Paris flat unfullered blade. The B could be from the atelier, or maybe a Klingenthal mark if the bade was shipped there for assembly.

    The grip leather looks old and dark, the wire also, could be original. If it has been replaced its an old one.

    Jerry
    Hi Jerry,

    Yes, on the French passionmilitaria.com forum there's a seemingly esteemed collector of pre-revolutionary sabre who labels it as a "superb weapon in impeccable state and perfect scabbard". He also thinks the wiring is original.

    Below you'll find pictures of a Sabre de Dragon 1770 with the exact same poinçons on the blade as on the sabre I'm showing, meaning that even older hilts than 1784 were recycled during the revolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Cottrell View Post
    I also meant to comment on the absence of a hole through the pommel which I thought was a feature of the 1784, and distinguished the earlier type from the AnIV manufactured.
    Indeed, one of the differences between model 1784 and model An IV. That's why I think that the sabre that I'm showing received a new An IV pommel together with a revolutionary (which are most frequently flat and unfullered) blade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Cottrell View Post
    Interesting to compare - this is my 1784/AnIV with a guard manufactured with the Phrygian cap symbol, rather than the modified flour-de-lys - more shaped and stylised.
    Yes, original models An IV seem to have a qualitatively more shaped and stylised "Faisceau and Phrygian cap" in place of the 1744 "Fleur de Lys" which was "mutilated" into a resemblance of a revolutionary bonnet on the saber I'm showing.
    I'm not a fan of revolutionary Phrygian cap/bonnet symbols, so I like the mutilated Fleur de Lys better. ;-)
    Below also a picture of another original An IV sabre's hilt with "new" Phrygian cap, marked with manufacturer "DUMONT" next to "coq" and "faisceau de licteur" (see https://www.bertrand-malvaux.com/fr/...evolution.html and https://www.bertrand-malvaux.com/fr/...evolution.html)

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael.H View Post
    Found this information on the sword pages 33-37 don't know if it will help as I don't understand French.
    http://fr.1001mags.com/parution/gaze...texte-integral
    Thanks Michael, I have and read the French books (Pétard, Ariès, Lhoste) and articles on the subject of French revolutionary and napoleonic sabres from the French Gazette des Armes and Tradition Magazine by the same and other authors.

    However, theoretical knowledge doesn't mean anything without practical experience. So I always like to check what I think is good or not good with other collectors on this and the French forum.
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    Last edited by DirkS; 01-14-2020 at 05:47 AM.

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