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Old 2nd July 2020, 05:08 AM   #1
CSinTX
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Default Basket Hilt help?

A good friend contacted me today about an old sword that was in the possession of a family member. Its not often that truly old items popup here in the US. Almost everything here has been purchased and imported from Europe in recent years. I expected to get pictures of a KofC sword or something similar. I was pleasantly surprised in what I saw. Recent rust from sitting in an unoccupied home in the Mississippi humidity. Oral family history reports that it was "taken from a dead French soldier in Canada during the French and Indian war."

While it being on a French soldier seems odd, does the age/time match?

Can anyone tell us anything about it? Age? Origin? Etc?

Thanks!
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Old 2nd July 2020, 10:01 AM   #2
mariusgmioc
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Wow, very interesting find!

To me, it looks like an English broadsword from the early 19th century.

Unfortunately, it is badly in need of major restauration work.
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Old 2nd July 2020, 11:54 AM   #3
NeilUK
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Definitely an interesting sword. I would say Scots or English basket hilt broadsword from mid 18th century. Could easily have changed hands several times in the wars!
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Old 2nd July 2020, 12:47 PM   #4
Will M
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I agree with Neil for age of the sword. Many basket hilts that now are in the white once looked like this one.
The blade appears long have you measured it?
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Old 2nd July 2020, 02:30 PM   #5
ulfberth
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What a find ! a true sleeper , one should ask himself to clean/restore it or not.
Once taken of the patina is gone forever.
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Old 2nd July 2020, 04:34 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
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Absolutely mid 18th or slightly earlier, Glasgow style hilt Beautiful!!!
French were not only in Canada then but all through upper midwest and the northeast.......French Indian wars 1740s, mostly due to English concerns over French encroachment into territories etc.
The Scots were of course part of English military forces after Culloden (1746) but in many cases before.

Scottish settlers in Canada through 18th into 19th ....my grandparents were among them.
Story could be right.............regardless, magnificent basket hilt.
PLEASE clean with restraint, stablilize any corrosion.................this is breathtaking,

Another note on potential French element in the provenance, France had a profound Jacobite presence, in fact Prince Charlie was in France preCulloden.
The Jacobite presence continued there after Culloden, and Charles returned there for a time. It would be hard to say exactly how the sword was in Canada, but it is not surprising, these were widely present in America and probably Canada through the latter 18th c. after Culloden.

These also saw extensive use in the American Revolution, see "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution" George Nuemann, 1973.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 2nd July 2020 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 2nd July 2020, 06:43 PM   #7
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulfberth
What a find ! a true sleeper , one should ask himself to clean/restore it or not.
Once taken of the patina is gone forever.


Well said!!!
It is history and signals the well earned veneration of the weapon. It is about respect for history, something that seems to be slipping away.
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Old 2nd July 2020, 08:09 PM   #8
ulfberth
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exactly Jim, its the slipping away of these untouched items that we should prevent as much as possible. Some very fine steel wool 000, just to remove the active rust and some wax to preserve is all it needs.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 03:18 AM   #9
M ELEY
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I'm with Jim and Ulfberth on the conservation of this piece. Unbelievable find!!! Removing the active rust and stabilizing the grip are priorities. Jim is spot on with the French/Scottish Jacobite connection and the '45' was definitely in the period of this fine sword! A loose connection admittedly, but the French had a strong presence in Canada at the time. In "Culloden: The Swords and the Sorrows", there were Scottish basket hilts with French markings/mottos carried by French officers and Royals. These swords still exist in the museum at Edinburgh.
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Old 3rd July 2020, 06:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
I'm with Jim and Ulfberth on the conservation of this piece. Unbelievable find!!! Removing the active rust and stabilizing the grip are priorities. Jim is spot on with the French/Scottish Jacobite connection and the '45' was definitely in the period of this fine sword! A loose connection admittedly, but the French had a strong presence in Canada at the time. In "Culloden: The Swords and the Sorrows", there were Scottish basket hilts with French markings/mottos carried by French officers and Royals. These swords still exist in the museum at Edinburgh.


on the French - Scottish connection , they even had a Scottish Royal Guards Company in 18th century France
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Old 4th July 2020, 03:52 AM   #11
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Thank you for that information! I was unaware and will do a little research on it. Not to derail this thread in any way, but I always wondered if the same was true in the other regard- Scots carrying French weapons during the Rebellion. I'd always imagined some of the renegade Highlanders from the outlands of the New Hebrides armed with such. I have an active imagination, I guess!
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Old 4th July 2020, 05:43 PM   #12
Jim McDougall
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Now THATS interesting on the Scots Guards in France! Did not know that, but sounds perfectly logical given the profound Jacobite presence there.
As far as French swords used in the '45, not as a matter of record, but of course possible as there were French participants at Culloden as far as I have understood.
In fact the battle lines are quite unclear, there were many Highlanders with Cumberland's forces, and many English. Lowlanders and French among the Highland troops. Much as with the American Civil War, there was varying causes and ajendas being followed by various group.....there was not one universal rallying cry.

Am interesting note, the fleur de lis found on blades was not necessarily an indicator of it being a French blade, in fact blade dealers in 18th c. England were known to have these on blades. There was a street named
Fleur de lis street there where imported blades were being sold to various 'sword slippers' (dealers mounting hlits to blades) and bundles of blades were sold in lots. This mark has had use in other situations in Europe as well...in Germany the Munich city guard used it etc.
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Old 4th July 2020, 06:54 PM   #13
Norman McCormick
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Hi,
This article may give more insight on the Garde Ecossaise or Scottish Guard.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garde_Écossaise and https://www.warhistoryonline.com/in...ors-helped.html

Regards,
Norman.
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