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Thread: Proof disk

  1. #1

    Proof disk

    Hello,

    Do you recognize this proof disk? The blade etching is too faint to read anything.

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  2. #2
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    I've know of 3 definite examples of this disc. None of which have an identifiable retailer/manufacturers name.

    2 of them have a figure of 8 design etched across the blade. Some have suggested it is a Mole disc but I've seen no evidence of that. My guess would be an import blade.

  3. #3
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    This could be a Mole proof disc though I've seen similar on swords that are not Mole. I'll post a known Mole disc soon for comparison. Usually excellent quality of a sword with this proof indicates a Mole sword.

  4. #4
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    That long ricasso though... I've always thought of these as imports.

    I'd be interested in seeing a confirmed Mole blade using this disc. There are several very similar but distinct 'proof between laurels' which I've been trying to pin down but it's often hard to differentiate them due to poor or worn stamping.

  5. #5
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    Been some time since I looked at Mole discs. The Mole I have is from 1898 M3151 ser #. The disc is not the same as the one pictured in this post. I(had) another Mole sword with a more similar disc but it's long gone. Here is the photo of what I have, it is dated using the officers military history.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  6. #6
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    Yes Will, yours is the archetypal Mole starburst disc with typical Mole etching for the name but atypical interlocked triangles for a Mole proof surround!

    I've seen another 1895 pattern mole using the triangles so I don't know whether this represents a wholesale change from the usual sunburst proof surround to triangles for Mole in the late 1800's or if there is another explanation.

    I'm keeping my eyes open for a copy of "The Swords & Records of Robert Mole" by Robert Wilkinson Latham, perhaps the answer is in there.
    Last edited by james.elstob; 07-25-2020 at 02:30 AM.

  7. #7
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    James, just checked my copy of The Mole book, annoyingly not there, it just shows two examples of the disc shown in Will’s pic, neither is it in ‘May & Annis’, although the Mole discs shown do use the word ‘Proof’ rather than ‘Proved’.

  8. #8
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    Thanks Ben, does it say anything about a change from Mole's sunburst to interlocking triangles?

  9. #9
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    James, yes it says, “Unlike other makers, Mole from 1850 to 1920 never altered his proof mark or copied the double interlaced triangles of Henry Wilkinson, preferring his ‘sun ray’ surround to the brass ‘slug’. Just to confuse the issue further!

  10. #10
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    Lol, "Never" is never NEVER in sword collecting though!

    This is at least the 5th example of a sword I've seen with a Mole disc using the triangles. I think I've read on another thread that Mole had "no private trade to speak of" and Wilkinson and Mole referred to one other as 'London House' and 'Birmingham House' respectively when acting on the others behalf. These mole blades with triangles might well be blades made for Mole by Wilkinson when Mole had a private order he wasn't geared up for?

    Apologies for hijacking this thread.
    Last edited by james.elstob; 07-26-2020 at 08:09 AM.

  11. #11
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    Indeed to all you say, perhaps Victor S might post a pic of the very faint etching, at least we have many examples of Mole’s changing etching down the years to compare, or indeed to give us a clue to a different maker. Victor..any chance?

  12. #12
    I might buy it in 2 weeks when the owner goes back home and confirms the guard is not bent as it appears in some photos. If I get it I'll do some detailed photos of the etching.

    Right now I have only 2 etching photos.

  13. #13
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  15. #15
    So.. do you find out anything else out of the etchings?

    Also, what do you think - does the guard look a little bent/squared or it's just the photo angle?

  16. #16
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    Nothing from those images, just interested in seeing the feint etching opposite the proof disc.

    In my opinion that hilt is bent. The outer bars appear squashed into contact with the middle bars.

  17. #17
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    The bent guard can be coaxed out to closely resemble its original shape. This one is not too bad.

  18. #18
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    Brass/copper-alloy guards are very prone to bending, or even being cut through by a strong blow. The hinged thumb guards were also vulnerable, I think this thumb piece is a replacement.

  19. #19
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    David you have a good eye. I agree the folding guard is a replacement make from flat stock brass.

  20. #20
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    Thank you. I would also suggest that the chain hanger is from an 18th century small sword, and the scabbard is an older type than you usualy see with this pattern of sword.
    Last edited by David R; 07-27-2020 at 03:00 PM.

  21. #21
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    The scabbard drag appears to be a replacement and the centre brass scabbard piece is too high on the leather scabbard.
    This sword has no provenance and the repairs/replacements and damage on this sword makes me suggest not to purchase.
    These poor condition swords do not gain value and are hard sells.
    There are plenty of this pattern of sword available and with good officers provenance. Find one with etched initials and possibly owners family crest.
    A Wilkinson infantry officer sword can be researched even if no personal etching is on the blade.

  22. #22
    This is a very high contrast of the ricasso on the other side of the proof disk. I see H HART? and then LONDON below.

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  23. #23
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    Victor, Henry Hart 26, Pall Mall, London, listed as an ‘Army Clothier & Tailor’, earliest reference for him I can find is 1845 in the publication Allen’s Indian Mail.
    Last edited by Ben Bevan; 08-08-2020 at 05:33 AM.

  24. #24
    Looking through my books 1834-1886.

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