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I.D.--puzzling old blade, purchased so very long ago I can't remember clearly

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by Jim Thompson, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    This sat for ages, and I had initially dismissed this blade as fraternal or ceremonial, perhaps even a theatrical prop.

    It looked weird, right from the get-go.

    Now, having examined it closer, the use of gilt or gold wash, the blade etchings or engravings, the well-fitted, leather covered scabbard, and various other aspects suggest it's more than I thought.

    Put together on flickr.com a 23-photo album of shots. Best way to view is to sign in with any old Yahoo i.d. and one can then view captions, enlarge, navigate, and do searches.

    My collection alone is some 8200+ images.

    I am going to try to re-do the links, or use the graphics set up in here.

    Oddly, they worked in all the other venues where I posted them.

    Maybe the "album" link will suffice.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/

    [​IMG]


    The "blade folks" I've shown the sword or images suggest it might be from at least a half dozen different countries, and it's been called a "sort of scimitar" and a "kilij".

    Me? I come up empty.

    The symbolism of the seemingly "peace related" images on the blade struck me as particularly unusual.

    I am brand new here, so if this is in a wrong place or weirdly inappropriate, please advise or move or whatever's necessary.

    A friend told me it might be a high-ranking Polish Officer's Model of 1934 presentation blade.

    Just a puzzle.

    There is no maker's mark I can find, unless it's somehow encoded in the symbology.

    The fitting on the guard and leather wrap is very well done, and that unusual second "saddle ring" suggests it was setup to hang on tack gear.

    There are finials on that appliance and I think they may be adapted uniform buttons.

    I'm trying to track that down right now.

    Thanks.

    Happy to be here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  2. WValtakis

    WValtakis Gold Member Gold Member

    May 29, 2004
    Sounds interesting, but none of the picture links work :(.

    ~Chip
     
  3. John A. Larsen

    John A. Larsen

    Jan 15, 2001
    I saw this on a Gun Forum, and there all the links worked. John
     
  4. WValtakis

    WValtakis Gold Member Gold Member

    May 29, 2004
    It looks like he copied shortened versions of the links somehow. The "..." in the links is the problem.

    ~Chip
     
  5. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    I'll skip a step and try again. Bear in mind, if the album on "mystery blades" can be accessed, if one is signed in, all 23 images can be fully accessed.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/42637838962/in/album-72157692006309500/


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/42637839052/in/album-72157692006309500/


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/42637839152/in/album-72157692006309500/

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/42686665101/in/album-72157692006309500/

    Note: the LINEAR measurement of the blade is 32" +/- .01". However, the angular trace length is about 2" longer, at 34"+. I was trying to reflect that severe curve, and I think I measured the "flip" side. The band may have slipped somehow down the scabbard. That leather hanger or securing strap seems to be very unusual. In fact, I've seen very little old, decorative leather "furniture" like that.


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/42686665281/in/album-72157692006309500/



    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/42686665381/in/album-72157692006309500/


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28813605028/in/album-72157692006309500/

    If those don't work, I am out of tricks and ideas. If one is logged in, of course, my collection is under jimthompson502002 and a search for "mystery sword" will bring the whole thing up.

    I am not a "sword person", but I have owned and viewed a lot of them over the years since the early 50's, when I got interested in military stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  6. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
  7. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    First quarter 19th century, eastern Europe and more likely Hungarian than other possibilities. The dove head type pommel, square rectangular langets and ball finial on the quillion all characteristics of the Hungarian swords of the period. The blade etching looks like Solingen work. Is there a little squiggly floral or branch mark on the spine of the blade (Looks like it does)? I wouldn't dismiss other possibilities. The spine mark on the blade is a Solingen guild mark, with variations for the different forges. The hilt, as mentioned very Hungarian looking.

    I do not have a reference for the spine marks.

    Cheers
    GC

    Screenshot 2018-06-09 at 22.41.39 - Display 1.png
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  8. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    Fwiw, a couple of things. Blade length on curved blades is generally regarded in a straight line from the hilt to the point.

    On the image side, I can follow your links easily and share via screenshots but considering your ability to save images, sharing them shouldn't be a big deal. I know flickr is a tough share but since you have disallowed downloading the images (there is always a way though), you are not able to use the regular forum tags and stuff like that.

    Cheers
    GC
     
  9. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    I think you're, if not correct, REAL close. It was a Hungarian broad blade saber, heavier than this, I gave to an old friend many years ago that carried similar etched or engraved "scriggles", and he told me that item (which was similar in a lot of ways) was a personalized "heavy saber" for a heavily decorated Austro-Hungarian/Hapsburg "Hunyadi" officer. This blade isn't very similar, but those things are of the same style. That's forty or more years ago. In fact, he picked that sword out, but never saw this one.

    He's deceased now, or I'd ask if he knew more. He probably did. He was born in Budapest, and his father was an n.c.o. in the Hapsburg Army during WWI.

    I don't collect blades, but I do "accumulate" them. Or I did.

    The gold wash is not something I've seen before in this manner.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  10. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    I wanted to reflect that curve statistically. I also think I did it incorrectly anyway. Linear measurement is 32", and that's noted,too.

    Many thanks.
     
  11. JJHollowman

    JJHollowman

    420
    Jul 16, 2016
    Jim you're a better than average photographer. I kept thinking that all the way through all your albums, especially the one that reminded me of all those photos of girls taken by Rodney Alcala the serial killer. I'd like to state for the record that I have a functioning house alarm system and three huge dogs. ;) I do like the sword, you should have it at least stabilized so the rust doesn't get worse.
     
  12. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    Not sure what the "serial killer" thing is about. I've been a professional commercial and publications photographer for over fifty years, so I ought to be fairly competent. Am in fact re-editing/upgrading my three firearms books, including the old machine gun book, for SKYHORSE. The old Paladin editions used soft paper and very little ink, so everything was fuzzy.

    And I have over 300 magazine articles to my credit, back thirty years ago when it still paid and the editors still had some idea what they were doing.

    This blade is stored with desiccant, and I may soft wax it. Much of the material on there is old gilding, there's no red rust/pitting at all. However, the gold wash is disappearing just in the last few days, since I dug it out. I am not sure how to stabilize what's left.

    And I will NOT bumble polish it. Nor will I use thin oil on it. Or even grease.
     
  13. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    That "stuff" in the engravings/etchings is NOT rust. It's the remains of the wash or gilt.
     
  14. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    Oh. And the brown "stuff" below the bronze scabbard collar is leather. The dye is mostly gone, but the leather is WAY better than on some of my stuff from just a few decades ago. It was obviously dyed black once upon a time.

    It, too, is NOT rust.
     
  15. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    For the curious and detail-oriented, I've filed a few more shots, eight in all.

    Again: If one signs in and especially if one views the album (that link works, too, at least for me), one can then navigate, search, see captions, and so on.

    They're of the fittings and finials.


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/28849788448/in/photostream


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/42674357192/in/photostream/


    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/41823244805/in/photostream/

    Feel free to browse and/or remark. More data is always interesting.

    Thanks.
     
  16. JJHollowman

    JJHollowman

    420
    Jul 16, 2016
    It was a joke. Rodney Alcala had a bunch of photo albums full of pics of girls he used the "fashion photographer" line on. It wasn't a very good joke, either. My apologies.
     
  17. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    Not a huge deal. I presumed it was a joke. My former models are, as far as I know, all still alive.
     
    JJHollowman likes this.
  18. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    Well, according to the most "in depth" expert I ran across, it is a Solingen blade, and it is indeed from about 1800, give or take a decade. It was most likely used, however, by FRENCH cavalry, owing to the symbolism and so on.

    Seems to go back to the yarn I was originally told, all tangled and turned around.
     
  19. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson

    34
    Jun 9, 2018
    The other details:

    "After viewing the photos, I can say with great confidence that this sword was made by the firm of Schnitzler and Kirschbaum in Solingen (the initials are in the gold panel on the blade's ricasso; the "swirly flower" etched on the spine of the blade near the hilt is a Solingen guild mark). Their partnership ended in 1811, so this is definitely Napoleonic. The drag on the chape (the brass end piece on the scabbard at the very tip) is a known French variant, as are the reversed double brass wire wrap on the grip, the fluted langets (the long narrow portions of the guard that extend over both sides of the blade), and the embossed lions' heads on the sword belt hanger buckle. I'm quite certain it is French, but weapons from Austria (which then included Hungary) at the time were quite similar (although most of them had a significant swell at the top of the knucklebow, which your sword lacks). Is there a small notch cut into the edge of the blade about 3/4" from the very tip (it looks a bit like a hook)? If so, it's definitely French, as that is a well-documented field modification that was all the rage in the French light cavalry. The purpose of the notch is still hotly debated in sword circles, but the best theory going, IMHO, is that it allowed a Hussar to pick an article off the ground (reins, for example) without dismounting."

    There is no notch I can locate.
     
  20. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    I do faintly see S&K

    The partnership lasted until at least the 1850s and they even supplied swords to fulfill Ames contracts. S&K was the approved vendor selected after the US ordnance 1840 trials to import those first "wristbreakers". They were sales agents, not makers per se. Your "in depth" expert is off on other factoids as well but if you and they have already made up your minds, who am I to intervene?

    To list it as a French cavalry sword is a bit of assumption as well. It is certainly not so dissimilar to swords used in eastern Europe and the only true defining similarity to the French is that it is of the period listed. The French were dealing with official patterns back more than fifty years before the Napoleonic (first empire) era, so any association with the French would have been a private purchase (as true for any other sales point). It is not, nor has ever been a French pattern aside from the ball end quillion, which while similar, quite different than the swords France embraced in the 1760s.

    The lower fittings are simply jammed together (for whatever reason).

    Cheers, I still can't deny a neat sword that could use some conservation.
    GC
     

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