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Thread: Possibly a P-1845 British Levee Sword (?)

  1. #1
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    Possibly a P-1845 British Levee Sword (?)

    I recently acquired this sword on an Internet site. It was advertised as a P-1821 lightened sword, probably used in a diplomatic or Levee capacity. I won the auction for not a lot of money, and found it to be in very good condition upon receipt, though absent it's scabbard. In sharing photos with a more knowledgable friend, he suggested that it was more likely to be a P-1845 type sword, but that there was one feature that he had not seen before. The sword, in addition to a hinged guard, has a cut out at the pommel which the seller speculated was for a piece of ivory. The idea was to keep ones uniform clean and the sword flat against ones side. The sword has never been sharpened, but likely so frequently polished that the etching is very faint and the maker identification all but gone. It has the standard Crown VR monogram on either side of the blade, with a slender VR monogram over thistles on the brass guard. The (probably) ivory insert is gone. The seller suggested that it was removed purposely as a result of the ban on ivory trade or sale of articles containing ivory between states or countries. I have no knowledge of this, and it is certainly one of my questions. Here are some photos that I took. I would certainly appreciate any comment to thoughts that others more knowledgable than I might have.
    Best, Charlie
    (Doooh, once again my uploads exceed the file size allowable for this site. I will try to resize and post the pictures. Apologies for inconvenience.)
    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Last edited by Charlie Sorrentino; 07-10-2022 at 12:44 PM.

  2. #2
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    Also described as a piquet weight sword and these were not sharpened being only for dress. You can get faux (fake) ivory which is soft to fashion into the missing piece you require.
    Piquet weight swords don't command as much as full sized swords do unless they have provenance such as etching on the blade naming the officer or a Wilkinson serial number that has a corresponding blade proof page with the name of the officer. It's more likely that higher ranks and staff officers would have piquet weight swords to be used during functions, dinners, dances etc. The swords owner may well have had some history with the Crimean War.

  3. #3
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    Will, thank you so much for the reply. I have only been trying to learn about British swords for a couple of years now. My not knowing about a piquet weight sword is not too surprising. I spend a lot of time on The British Militaria Forums, and having posted this sword there also, a number of my friends have also commented or conjectured. Most of what you say above is in keeping with what other collectors thought or surmised about a class of swords, similar to the Pattern, but made for social or ceremonial use, both lighter and with provision for a folding guard. There is however some ongoing question about the cut-out on this sword, and possible use of ivory as an element. No-one, including some very knowledgeable bayonet and sword guys who have responded have ever seen this type of cut-out or intact ivory incorporated into a sword grip in this manner. Also, some questions have been asked as to if this type of sword would be used by serving Officers and Diplomats or by Officers only in their social and ceremonial capacity?
    The question that remains is: Does anyone have a piquet sword with this cut out, and (or) with ivory still intact? I would love to see an example posted. Secondarily, who would have been likely to carry it (Officer, Diplomat)?
    Thanks again for the response.
    Best, Charlie

  4. #4
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    I do remember seeing exactly that, an infantry officer sabre with an ivory insert exactly in this spot. I have no idea why it would be done though, perhaps as some sort of mark for a specific branch or honour given? Who knows.

  5. #5
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    I have an infantry piquet weight sword of a staff officer in the Crimea with the same cutout and ivory insert, keeps the uniform from becoming black where it rubs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Westport Island, Maine (US)
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    Wow!
    Thanks for the information Max and Will. The information that the ivory 'keeps the uniform from becoming black where it rubs' is really helpful.
    Will, would it be possible to get a picture of your sword with the ivory insert?

    I am enclosing two photos:
    The first is a comparison shot with the piquet sword in the foreground, compared to two standard P-1845 swords.
    The second photo is of a template for the ivory insert. This is flanked by two pieces of very old ivory. The ivory was purchased in the form of a keyboard from a long ago disassembled clavichord. The ivory is somewhere between 200 to 300 years old.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  7. #7
    i bought ivory from a dealer out west. boones trading post i believe that was his name also. i used mine for some nice pistol grips and sword grips this was about 10 years ago ..
    i believe ...bill

  8. #8
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    I can't download pictures they keep coming up invalid. Pictures are from Iphone HEIC

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Westport Island, Maine (US)
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    I feel your pain Will. I cant even figure out how to use the iPhone to make calls from, much less take pictures. I have a 15 year old digital camera that I know just enough about to operate some of the time. The challenge of reducing the pixels to under 100 for this site was almost beyond me and required much time and additional alcohol to figure out. (:

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