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Thread: British Swords From Nepali Materials

  1. #1
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    British Swords From Nepali Materials

    I am grateful for the courtesy and quickness with which the membership responded to my first post as a new member (Not A P-1796 Sword). Your posts were very helpful and deeply appreciated. Encouraged by this welcome, and in hopes, perhaps of turning my (largely) Antique British Sword Accumulation into an actual Collection, I am posting some groupings of what strike me as similar blades. I hope this will be interesting. Any thoughts, comments or further questions are much appreciated.

    This first batch of 4 swords all came from the vast IMA materials which were brought into the US in the early 2000's by Christian Cranmer (IMA) and Atlanta Cutlery. These Swords were hand picked by me from the stacks at IMA over a 12 year span of visits to the IMA Warehouses. They almost certainly represent a combination of weaponry taken from the Sepoy troops who crossed over the Nepali Border when the Indian Sepoy Mutiny (or Great Rebellion) began to fall apart. The swords, which are stamped with actual and re-working dates post-mutiny, were likely sent to Nepal from Anglo-Indian Arsenal storage in the last years of the 19th century and first few years of the 20th.
    The IMA sword stacks contained hundreds of British swords, Indian Tulwars and Kukri's. I chose the earliest blades with the VR monogram. There were also Edwardian monogrammed and GR IV marked swords.
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  2. #2
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    I remember seeing these listed on IMA. You have three 1897p and one 1895p sergeant swords. All have the single fuller 1892p blades.
    It must have been a fascinating experience to look through the warehouses and take your pick of the better swords.
    Is there a makers name on the 1895p? I think I see Calcutta ?

  3. #3
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    Hi Will. Thanks for the response. I was able to visit the IMA warehouses (One in Easton Pa. and the other at IMA Central in Gillette N.J.) As part of the Victorian Riflemen. Those visits where we sorted and picked and explored to our hearts content were maybe the most fun I have ever had. Christian and Alex Cranmer were welcoming. There were tens of thousands of weapons, parts and swords in endless bins and boxes, big tins. and pallets. Many unopened since Katmandu. I have only relatively recently begun to focus on the swords that I have over the years accumulated. Russ and Mel (both sword Forum members) have been really helpful and encouraging. (I have a big bunch of Antique British Socket Bayonets too). It has only been recently that I have started to pay attention to the swords that I have gathered.

    Thank you for helping me to identify them. All three 1897p swords that you note have Ordnance Proofing and inspection stampings. Two of them are stamped 'WILKINSON LONDON' as above.
    I had not really looked at the detail until taking the photos. I think that you are right about the 1895p sword having 'CALCUTTA' on it. It is interesting in that it has etching that doesn't show well in the photo's. What I took to be another VR etched on the blade may actually be a Regimental number with Roman numerals on either side of an 'R'. Some of these Victorian scriptic designs are really hard to suss. I will try to get some better pictures of the blade design up for peoples opinion.
    Thanks again.
    Best, Charlie

  4. #4
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    Charlie the blade etching is usually the most difficult to take good photos of. Outside in the sunlight is best and you have to angle the blade for best results.
    To limit reflection a white backdrop works best. I took photos of a presentation silver cup and used a white base and white board as a wall around it. It was the only way to prevent reflections of myself and camera from appearing on the cup. A little trial and error can get you good results.

  5. #5
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    I think there is a commissioned officers sword in there as well, the one with the real fish skin grip rather than textured leather. Brought back by retired Gurkha's possibly.

  6. #6
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    Thank you David.
    Will, here are a couple of photo's of the part that is giving me fits. At the base of the blade where the CALCUTTA is, there is more corrosion. This only extends for about the first inch and a half or so. The first picture is just above this area on the blade. Clearly the British Royal symbol. The second photo however is to me more arcane. I first thought it was a variant of the VR that is on so many swords of the era. Looking at it more closely I see a central 'R' with two thingies, one on each side. Are they just design elements? Are they stylized Roman numerals? If so are they 'I' or 'X'? and if so, the 'R' becomes 'Regiment'. So simple 'R'? 20th Regiment (if X's), 2nd Regiment (if I's), or even 11th Regiment if straight up 1's. I am out of my element. What do you think?
    The third photo is the repeat of the same motif on the other side of the blade. Final photo shows the top of the grip with its nice crosshatching.
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  7. #7
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    I see it as a variation of the VR with crown above it, no regimental marks here. This 1895p is interesting having a more open pierced guard than the later 1897p hilts. I think they are more decorative with the more open piercings.

  8. #8
    to me they look like orig brirish swords made in britian ! no napal if not they sure made some NICE ones for being made there bill

  9. #9
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    Hi William, I am so far from an expert in swords. But I do know about the British Firearms of the same era. A number of British Commercial Companies had outlets in large Indian Cities such as Calcutta. There can be a Byzantine combination of markings, which range from standard British (example Manton & Sons) to export marked (Manton Calcutta) to simply Calcutta. The fact that the revolver may be marked "Calcutta" doesn't necessarily mean it was made there. On the other hand, some of the larger British Forts such as Fort William were capable of very fine quality work. How this may apply to this sword is at this point above my pay grade. (:
    Best, Charlie

  10. #10
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    The Calcutta marked swords I've seen are British or Solingen manufacture. I like this 1895p sword because it is made with larger perforations that soon were made much smaller to prevent penetration.

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