NAPOLEONIC WARS BRITISH 1796 PATTERN HEAVY CAVALRY TROOPER’S SWORD AND SCABBARD BY GILL

$2,300.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1164-22

This sword is maker marked, inspected, and still with its original scabbard, both bearing the same rack numbers. These were modeled on the Austrian 1775 cuirassier saber and were officially replaced only by the 1821 pattern, but are scarce, having used up in service in India, in the hands of volunteer (militia) units, and even having had their blades salvaged for use in cutlasses in the 1840s. The spine of the blade is marked, “I. GILL,” with a little rubbing along the bottom, dating it to the passing of the Birmingham firm of Thomas Gill in 1801 to his sons Thomas, James and John (as often the I here serving for a J.) The blade bears a rubbed inspection/acceptance mark on the obverse a little below the langet. The sword and scabbard bear matching unit/rack numbers, “B D / 46” indicating they have been together forever.

This one is the standard configuration with birdshead pommel, large round, pieced guard with elongated diamond inner plate, grip with backstrap and side ears, and long, heavy langets. The blade is long, straight, and made with a broad fuller. The scabbard, like the hilt, is iron, and is fitted with a screw attached throat, two ring bands with sling rings, and a narrow bladed drag. The hilt shows as smooth brown metal. The leather grip wrap shows a few wear spots, but no holes, and has good color. The langets are in place under the guard, which preserves part of the leather sealing pad. The blade is generally smooth metal showing a bluish brown for most of its length, shifting a bit toward gray with some very shallow pitting near the tip. The point and edge are good. We see only a couple miniscule nicks. The sword shows two standard, period alterations. It has a spearpoint tip, changed from a hatchet point in conformity to orders given just before Waterloo. The inner edge of the guard has been trimmed to avoid damaging the uniform, equipment, or digging into the wearer’s side, a modification recorded as early as the 1790s in some units.

The scabbard is solid, shows a mix of silver-gray and brown. We see only two shallow dings on the reverse lower down, and one near the throat on the obverse. The latter may have been caused by the stamping of the rack number, “B D” over “46,” which matches the stamping on the exterior of the knucklebow of the sword, The “D” likely standing for “Dragoons,” the “B” a unit name initial, and number the individual sword or trooper’s number.

This is a very good example of the scarce British heavy cavalry troopers sword of the Napoleonic Wars. [sr] [ph:m]

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