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Thread: 1864 troopers sword scabbard

  1. #1
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    1864 troopers sword scabbard

    Hi all, just a quick question about a sword I acquired a couple of years ago, I've often wondered why the scabbard on this particular sword has fixed rings on opposing sides rather than the two loose hanging rings that I know to be the original arrangement.

    Could it possibly be to bring it in line and up to date with the later patterns of 1885 and 1890 cavalry swords, I have seen a few other 1864's online with this type of scabbard but have just never got round to asking the question.

    I've attached some photos of the sword and scabbard.

    Many thanks Matthew.
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  2. #2
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    Hi Matthew, I just think it’s in the wrong scabbard unfortunately. As you say, 1864’s are occasionally seen with the 1885 -onwards scabbards, but they’ve most likely been mismatched, as they generally fit. I suppose the only way to prove your suggestion would be to find a set with matching Regimental and Rack numbers, but given the rarity of the 1864 it’s unlikely. As you may know it was in service for a long 18 years or so, with many complaints and some regiments, like the RHA actually being allowed to revert to the 1853p, so I could understand if you found an 1864 with an earlier dated ‘53 scabbard. My only other suggestion is that some went to Canadian Regiments ( Will any ideas?) Any markings on either sword or scabbard? I’m lucky to have one with a dated scabbard of 1867.
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    Last edited by Ben Bevan; 02-24-2021 at 08:54 AM.

  3. #3
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    This modification was used in Canada for the 1882p swords. I don't recall seeing this on the 1864p sword but possibly a yeomanry regiment wished to extend their usage?
    Some Canadian militia regiments wore their swords with opposing fixed rings on their sword belts with equal length straps. One thing with the 1864p swords I believe is their survivability rate was high being used for only a short time by some artillery regiments. They do not seem to be as rare as stated. You also have this pattern being sold to the US during their civil war and these lack inspection marks.
    I don't think your scabbard is a mismatch due to the blade length and the scabbard mouth. Later patterns have mouths that fit over the scabbard body with two screws for retention.
    I believe this modification on your scabbard is a legitimate one.
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 02-24-2021 at 09:49 AM.

  4. #4
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    Matthew does your 1864p sword have the usual inspection markings?

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    Will, take your point re the lack of a detachable mouthpiece, this one is an unusual variant. Matthew can we see an image of the shoe/drag please?
    Last edited by Ben Bevan; 02-24-2021 at 10:25 AM.

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    Hi all, thanks for your replies, I always thought it was the correct scabbard and just a later modification because as you mentioned Will the later ones have a longer wider and detachable mouthpiece, the length of the scabbard is actually 36 1/4" and the blade is 35 1/2" (I'll post some pictures of the shoe tomorrow Ben)
    unfortunately there are no inspection marks on the sword apart from Mole Birmingham stamped on the spine and a number stamped on the pommel, and no real markings on the scabbard apart from what looks like a number 7 I think.

    Thanks again

    Matthew

  7. #7
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    All the 1864p swords I've seen lack inspection markings. Canadian regiments that travelled to England for WW1 training brought their swords and traded them in for the 1908p sword.
    This is why you find Canadian trooper swords in England. Charles Martyn misidentifies an1882p as a Highlanders sword (infantry) initials for the regiment are QOCH,
    not Queens Own Cameron Highlanders but it is actually Queens Own Canadian Hussars. Could a Canadian regiment still be using 1864p swords at this period and traded them in for the 1908p?
    It's only one pattern before the 1882p which did make the trip to England.

  8. #8
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    I don't believe that the 1864p sword with 35 1/2 inch blade can fit into later 1885/90 scabbards that are made for 34 1/2" blades..

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    I've also seen those 1882 pattern swords in books and online and always wondered why an infantry regiment would have cavalry swords!
    I have looked all over the sword and scabbard several times and those are the only markings I can find, I'm presuming the number on the pommel is probably a rack number.
    And my scabbard measurement ties in with the ones listed in "Robson's" book.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Mathieson View Post
    I don't believe that the 1864p sword with 35 1/2 inch blade can fit into later 1885/90 scabbards that are made for 34 1/2" blades..
    Yep, of course they don’t! Sorry, Brain fade....’Lockdownitis’ duh !

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    As promised Ben here are some more photos of my 1864, a full length picture and the scabbard shoe.
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  12. #12
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    Thanks, a real rarity Matthew...here’s the only contemporary image I’ve ever found, surprising really given its longevity, any more out there?
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    I have one and have had two others. They don't seem to bring a premium and the 1853p seems more desirable. Canadian sourced 1864p swords tend to be in very good condition. This one is marked Mole and has the 'B" blade balance mark.
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    Yes I forgot to mention the only other marking is a "B" bend mark on the spine, the blade isn't as good as yours though Will, and I think the 1864 patterns seem to go for a premium here in the UK, although I was really pleased and surprised I got mine for what I think was a good price.

    Thanks again for both your input.

  15. #15
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    Matthew all British pattern swords sell at a premium in the UK when compared to Canada. There is just not the interest and $ here to get top $ or £.
    Many of my swords have provenance to British officers and when the time comes the UK is the place to sell. Some years ago a Canadian collector sold his collection at Bonhams.
    Unfortunately there were two other auctions at the same time with swords so the average swords without provenance did not make their $. The auction results are online.https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/19838/

  16. #16
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    I have one that is marked to the Montreal Volunteer Cavalry on the scabbard (same type as Will), and the Cavalry School Corps (used for training, much later) on the pommel. It has inspector marks on the blade and guard, and Robert Mole mark as well. I remember when I posted it, people were saying that the pommel inscription was fake as it just wasn't done, until examples like these started to pop out, and when I found a slew of CSC sabres at the Quebec Citadel. The CSC mark is extremely crude, but I believe they just didn't care as it was meant for training purposes.

  17. #17
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    Canada marked their swords in different locations contrary to official orders. I see that Quebec LC (Lower Canada) swords are marked and UC (Upper Canada) swords were not marked.
    I have seen the CSC before and it's authentic as Max says. It seems Montreal did mark most if not all edged weapons, I have a land transport sword with 6th fusiliers etched on the blade.

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    Will, even in the 6 or so years that I've been collecting the prices seem to have increased. A sword in a non specialist auction house seems the best bet for a good price.

  19. #19
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    I agree Matthew non specialist auction with poor photos and description may prevent some eyes from noticing. I've also seen some of these auctions get plenty of attention from knowledgable collectors. If you really want a particular sword that is difficult to find paying more than what you think is the current rate is not a bad idea. Prices seem to double 8-10 years so in time that sword you paid too much for is worth more than you paid and you own it.
    If you lose a sword, to quote Robert Wilkinson Latham "swords are like trains and another will come along". Don't know why that stuck in my head but it did.

  20. #20
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    The very first Canadian 1864 I owned had the same scabbard ring configuration as your, but closer inspection revealed the original ring bands were removed. Not sure if this is the case with yours.

    Rob

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  21. #21
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    Hello Rob do you have any ideas why the blade width is reduced on your 1864p sword? I've seen the odd sword with similar reduction in blade width, an officer could have had the sword modified or?

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    Hi Rob, I've looked all over my scabbard and have not seen any markings from the original rings, always hoped I'd find something but they must have done a good job, I'm sure they would have had them originally.

  23. #23
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    Hi Will,

    I asked the same question 15+ years ago. As you know in 1872, 170 Pattern 1864 swords were purchased by the Canadian Government to outfit the fledgling Militia. They were described as being stamped MOLE, the scabbard having the two fixed rings attached opposite with the Pattern 1853 type throat and Pattern 1853 / 1864 large shoe on the scabbard. I believe this to be one of those swords, however feel it was experimentally modified to lighten the blade. The modification likely occurred around 1885. John Morgan wrote about experimental 1880 "converted" swords, which I understand was similarly an effort to lighten the blade over in the UK, so wonder if this was Canada's attempt to do same.

    Rob
    Last edited by Rob O'Reilly; 04-05-2021 at 04:20 PM.
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