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Old 19th September 2023, 04:16 PM   #1
DavidFriedman
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Default Mandingo Sword Club? British shillelagh sword club?

Greetings,
This piece is outside of my area of experience. Does anyone have any insight on this sword club. It was described as Welsh, though I could have easily imagined it as being Irish. Though when posting on the European forum I was guided to bring the post here, as it was believed to be West African.

The blade inside is interesting, no markings, 2 inches broad, fullered, flexible and extremely light. In scabbard it is about 41 inches long.

Please see attached pictures, I would love to hear any thoughts on this one. Has anyone seen a similar example before?

Potential age?

Thanks
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Old 19th September 2023, 04:18 PM   #2
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Old 19th September 2023, 11:54 PM   #3
Gavin Nugent
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Hi David,

Nice sword cane. It seems someone wanted a discreet weapon to walk with, rather than hanging from their hip.

It seems like a very well balanced and functional weapon.

At a glance, it looks as though it was meant to look like the Irish Blackthorn which was a common theme in the day for all sorts of walking sticks and canes.

Welsh is possible but I am not sure just how accurate that is, I'd be more inclined to just say English. The handle type is also a very UK/EU design.

Nothing says African in design, other than these blade types from the EU that were found far and wide.

The axe might be better placed in the EU forum?
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Old 20th September 2023, 02:38 AM   #4
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Default I Vote for Europe

Hi DavidFriedman,

From what I can see, the blade profile with its distal taper is very clean and well done. The bilateral symmetry (including the tip) appears to be perfect. The deep fuller is sharply and evenly cut. Given the apparent depth of the fuller, is there one on the other side? Taken together, the blade characteristics make me suspect at least partial power tool manufacture. While the hilt with its lathe cut pommel does look African, It could just as easily be from Europe. I don't recall ever having seen an African dagger sheath with bark on it. Really good looking piece by the way.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 20th September 2023, 07:14 AM   #5
Gavin Nugent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobT View Post
I don't recall ever having seen an African dagger sheath with bark on it. Really good looking piece by the way.

Sincerely,
RobT
I believe this is simulated bark Rob. A combination of fabrics, resin and lacquers. I have seen such methods used on high end Japanese sword canes and come to think of it, I have a Katana sword cane here is leather that is made to look like wood with raised protrusions too...
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Old 20th September 2023, 10:29 AM   #6
DavidFriedman
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Thanks Gavin,
I agree, I feel the shape is very blackthornesque. Though do the walking sticks show up this massive? About 41 inches long, and the bulbous club tip is about 2.5-3 inches across by eyeballing it.

Any guesstimate on on possible age? The axe is my personal piece, which I believe is Napoleonic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin Nugent View Post
Hi David,

Nice sword cane. It seems someone wanted a discreet weapon to walk with, rather than hanging from their hip.

It seems like a very well balanced and functional weapon.

At a glance, it looks as though it was meant to look like the Irish Blackthorn which was a common theme in the day for all sorts of walking sticks and canes.

Welsh is possible but I am not sure just how accurate that is, I'd be more inclined to just say English. The handle type is also a very UK/EU design.

Nothing says African in design, other than these blade types from the EU that were found far and wide.

The axe might be better placed in the EU forum?
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Old 20th September 2023, 10:31 AM   #7
DavidFriedman
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Thanks RobT,
I was wondering about this blade, itís so clean. Yes the fuller is found on both sides of the very thin flexible blade. Any guesstimate on on the possible age of this blade by its form? It doesnít have any stamp marks on it.

Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobT View Post
Hi DavidFriedman,

From what I can see, the blade profile with its distal taper is very clean and well done. The bilateral symmetry (including the tip) appears to be perfect. The deep fuller is sharply and evenly cut. Given the apparent depth of the fuller, is there one on the other side? Taken together, the blade characteristics make me suspect at least partial power tool manufacture. While the hilt with its lathe cut pommel does look African, It could just as easily be from Europe. I don't recall ever having seen an African dagger sheath with bark on it. Really good looking piece by the way.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 20th September 2023, 01:02 PM   #8
Gavin Nugent
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidFriedman View Post
Thanks Gavin,
I agree, I feel the shape is very blackthornesque. Though do the walking sticks show up this massive? About 41 inches long, and the bulbous club tip is about 2.5-3 inches across by eyeballing it.

Any guesstimate on on possible age? The axe is my personal piece, which I believe is Napoleonic.
In a cityscape in Victorian times when these were most popular, no, they are of a typical discrete cane size, it is how they passed undetected by would be attackers, they blended in.

In more remote or country setting, or remote colonial postings, anything goes and I think such a size would look to be a wonderful visually defensive deterrent simply based on size... for the confident would be attacker, the hidden message within would be quite the surprise.

The manner of the lanyard hole is a very French thing too... also commonly seen on the 18th century Pique work sticks... the whole thing, although I would not call it one, brings to mind the French Demi Solde sword canes....

I feel it is 19th century from the photos.
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Old 20th September 2023, 04:33 PM   #9
DavidFriedman
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Thanks Gavin, great info! I’ll look in those directions.

A visual comes to mind of Crocodile Dundee unsheathing this, when an attacker pulls out a pen knife, saying, “This is a knife”

Cheers!
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