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Thread: Confused about this Sword, advertised as *Scottish Highlands*

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Westport Island, Maine (US)
    Posts
    40

    Confused about this Sword, advertised as *Scottish Highlands*

    I recently won this sword in an on-line auction. It was advertised as: "A British M-1895 Infantry Officers Sword *Scottish Highlands*". Right from the start I had some doubts (The 'Model' instead of 'Pattern' and the small guard piercings suggested other than a P-1895). I dont know much about Scottish Swords, and had never seen a scabbard like this one. The sword and the scabbard both looked authentic and in good condition, so I bought the object not necessarily the story. When I received it I was pleased. Both sword and scabbard are period I believe. I have since learned from a helpful friend that the scabbard at least is likely Scottish. The sword however appears to be a P-1897 Infantry Sword. It is straight, 'dumbbell' cross section and fits the scabbard like a glove. My friend noted that while Scottish Swords of this era were usually basket hilts, they were sometimes re-hilted with a simple cross-guard. He had never heard of a P-1897 being used by a Scottish Regiment or Officer. My question, simply stated is, What have I got here?
    Best, Charlie
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Kingston area, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    3,792
    You have a British 1897p infantry officers sword with mismatched Scottish scabbard.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    ENGLAND
    Posts
    594
    This is made by Pillin. Does it have a serial number on the spine please?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Kingston area, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    3,792
    It is interesting that the unplated guard shows wear from polish over the years, the crown and VR has lost its finer details. Scabbard is plated which only confirms a mismatch.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Westport Island, Maine (US)
    Posts
    40
    Gentlemen, thank you for your thoughts. I agree completely with Will's surmise that this is a mismatched combination of a British P-1897 Sword with a Scottish Scabbard.
    James, Thank you for the Pillin name. No there is no number on the spline.
    Best, Charlie

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Sorrentino View Post
    My friend noted that while Scottish Swords of this era were usually basket hilts, they were sometimes re-hilted with a simple cross-guard. He had never heard of a P-1897 being used by a Scottish Regiment or Officer. My question, simply stated is, What have I got here?
    Best, Charlie
    The simple cross guard was commonly supplied with the swords, I believe for wear when in Mess uniform or on formal occasions — like a ball — where wearing a basket hilt could be hazardous to all around. The pommel simply unscrews, which allows the hilt to be easily changed. You don't often see them with both hilts but I have seen a couple...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Westport Island, Maine (US)
    Posts
    40
    Joe, It is nice to hear from you. Not surprising that you are a member, particularly with the work you have done on the American Eagle swords. I had not understood that the Scottish basket hilt swords often had a ball cap that unscrewed, allowing the simple cross guard to be used. On the British Militaria Swords Forum, Russ posted a photo of a Scottish sword with both basket and simple cross guard as received from the sword maker. I understand that there are still a few with both elements, but that most either did not come with the additional cross guard or had them separated over the span of years.

  8. #8
    Yes...though I haven't much to say about swords after the Federal period. I only recognized your Scottish sword because I had one once when I was a teenager and just getting started collecting.

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