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Old 19th January 2022, 09:29 PM   #1
drac2k
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Default A Pair of English Swords?

Funny, as things go in Batches; I just acquired my second Lion-headed sword in a month and what I believe to be a British 1796 Light Cavalry Officer's Sword.
The first questions are on the 1796 sword; am I correct in its attribution and does anyone recognize the maker's mark? I can not make heads or tails of it.
The second sword is unknown to me; I am assuming that it is also British, circa 1790-1812, but I can not find a similar example.
Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 19th January 2022, 11:45 PM   #2
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I don’t think either of these swords are British.

The top one isn’t a 1796 LC in any case. The blade shape is wrong, the ricasso too large, the guard too thick and it’s missing the langets… to name a few of the issues.

The hanger might be British, but I suspect it’s more likely to be from one of the German states. Especially with the marking on the grip furrell.
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Old 20th January 2022, 04:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response Radboud, but I'm pretty sure that the long sword is the 1796 Light Cavalry Sword. It measures 33.5" long, it has the hatchet type end and as per "Swords of the British Army," by Brian Robson, there are examples without the langets.
I think that you could be correct in attributing the lion-headed sword as being German.
Thank you for your comments
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Old 20th January 2022, 07:58 PM   #4
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I'd be inclined to agree with Radbound that it looks slightly off for a 1796 LC. The heavier guard is generally an indication of the Prussian Model 1811 Light Cavalry sabre which was a copy of the 1796.

But there is still that very short quillion and long ricasso that seem off even then.

That makers mark could be the clincher but I haven't found it in any of my references.

Robert
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Old 20th January 2022, 08:16 PM   #5
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The '1796' could be a British officer's private purchase sword. Doesn't appear to be a Prussian Blucher 1811 variant. Officers ones vary considerably, have different grip 'ears' and even languets shapes – or missing them entirely. Officer ones were lighter and quite flexible. The Indian Army liked them, and made their own versions, I'd bet with larger ricassos. Officer ones frequently had the Mfg.'s name on the spine. Trooper ones were mostly all marked with regimental/troop/rack numbers.

I'd guess German (Prussian) officer ones also would vary.

With no markings other than that on the ricasso, no bluing, or blade decorations, unless someone else knows whose it is, you may be out of luck for more details.

What is the weight of the 1796 lc? My officer's one weighs 698 grams and the balance is about 6 inches in front of the guard. It also has no markings surviving.

Last edited by kronckew; 20th January 2022 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 20th January 2022, 08:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
Trooper ones were mostly all marked with regimental/troop/rack numbers.
British 1796 LC sabres with regimental/troop/rack numbers are significantly less commonly found than those without. Normally such numbers indicate foreign service, for example, with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sweden, Prussia or Portugal. All of these countries received supplies of British cavalry swords amongst other weapons during the Napoleonic wars.

The most one can realistically hope for on a British troopers sword is an inspectors stamp (crown over a number) and a makers mark on the spine at the base. Some are marked with a B on the spine for the balance point. But plenty have nothing.

Of course there are exceptions like with the Yeomanry, who often had swords purchased privately by their Colonel. So I’m not saying that they aren’t out there, but they are not “mostly all” marked.

For some reason, such markings are more common on the 1796 heavy cavalry sword, and one possible reason could be because the yeomanry were all light cavalry and for the large part used the 1796 LC sabre. But again there were exceptions here as well.

Edit: Kronckew, that’s a light cavalry sword! What is the blade length?
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Old 20th January 2022, 09:31 PM   #7
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G'day Drac2k,
I agree with the previous comments that neither sword is British. The top sword isn't a British 1796 LC sabre. Can you please post a better photo of the hilt?
Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 21st January 2022, 12:36 AM   #8
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I could only add that in my opinion when one is talking about certain models (f.e. "M1796 LCS") there is often a relative narrow spectrum in which a thing can vary. I would therefore not describe your sword as a british 1796 light cavalry pattern sword because it´s missing too many criteria swords of this model had in common. I´d point out the difference in hilt, as well the blade design.

The lionhead sabers brass hilt has a "Patina" which is not fitting my personal experience with old brass. Suggestion: Maybe red/orange paint remainings?
The argument "it could be a German state" is too often brought when the origin of a sword is uncertain. I do not see this sword come from the germanic influence sphere. My "guts tell me" it could be dutch colonies, but I am far away to be in any kind educated on these swords.

cheers
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Old 21st January 2022, 06:42 AM   #9
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Thank you all gentlemen for your informative posts; I guess if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it still might not be an LC 1796 sword.
The man I got it from said that he purchased it in London; I know him and he tells the truth, however, he has bought so many swords, he might just have been confused . The sword looked worn to me and some aspects, such as the hilt seemed a bit off.
Based on the place of purchase, the variations, and the armory mark that looks like it could be Indian, I think that kronckew's theory of an Indian copy of an LC 1796 could be the most plausible conclusion. I will post better pictures of the hilt tomorrow.
In regards to the lion head sword, it doesn't look like paint, traces of gilding possibly or like old Confederate swords, sometimes the brass has a coppery patina(I am not suggesting that this is a Confederate sword).
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Old 21st January 2022, 01:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k View Post
The man I got it from said that he purchased it in London; I know him and he tells the truth, however, he has bought so many swords, he might just have been confused .
London, like many other places, has been and is a marketplace for stuff from all over the world.
Whatever these swords are, and I wish you luck in researching them, they are part of history and to be honest sometimes it´s nicer to have something that stands out and is unique in its way than another one of thousands "M-whatever" that are around. But I get the point of having one of the iconic M1796 in Britain or M1811 in Germany.
If you´re still interested in a M1796 LCS, PM me. I know a guy who bought a batch of these from a museum in Europe yesterday and sells them for a good price
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Old 22nd January 2022, 06:48 PM   #11
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Better pictures of the hilt.
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Old 22nd January 2022, 08:07 PM   #12
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Thanks for the additional photos, is there any leather remaining on the grip? Also what is the length of the grip?
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Old 22nd January 2022, 08:13 PM   #13
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Almost all of the leather and the handle is 5" long.
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Old 22nd January 2022, 08:54 PM   #14
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Thanks, photos can be deceiving when trying to gauge proportions and it looked small. 5 inches is an appropriate outside grip length.

Without wanting to be malicious my concerns with this sword are:
1. The blade profile is wrong for a 1796 patten Light cavalry sword. The tip should become broader at the end. They flare out.
2. There is too much ricasso before the fuller starts.
3. The langets are missing. As you have pointed out, sometimes these did break off but there is no evidence of that on your sword.
4. The Quillon is too short.
5. The grip ferrul (the band between the leather and the guard) is too broad and the fit poor.
6. Trooper swords didn’t have grip wire, and Officer swords (when present) the wire was silver or silver plated and finer than what is present here.
7. The fit of the blade to the handle is poor, like they do not belong together.
8. The overall fit and shape of the grip and blade is poor especially if it is an officer’s sword.
9. The knuckle guard is too thick for a British 1796.

If I purchased this recently and it was sold to me as a British 1796 pattern light cavalry, I would take it back.
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Old 22nd January 2022, 09:13 PM   #15
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Unfortunately I only have two 1796 LCs to show you what I mean, and forum rules prevent the posting of photos from Auctions and dealer sites.

But hopefully these will help give an impression.

1. Officer (Cornet) of the Yeomanry 1796 made by Gill, dates to the end of this patterns life, about 1817 - 1818.

This is a very light sword weighing 750grams. The blade starts at 40mm wide, narrows to 35mm and then broadens out to 40mm again at the last part. Thickness is 7.4mm to 1.5mm
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Old 22nd January 2022, 09:18 PM   #16
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2. Officers 1796 Pattern light cavalry by Osborn dating to before 1800:

This a stouter sword, that weighs 900 grams, the blade width at the ricasso is 35mm, pinches in to 33mm in the middle before flaring out to 41mm near the tip. The thickness is 10.2mm down to 1.5mm
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Old 22nd January 2022, 09:26 PM   #17
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This last sword is not a British 1796 Pattern Light Cavalry.

It is a Dutch m1813 No.1 Light Cavalry Troopers sabre, and nicely illustrates the problem with other nations use of this sword type. The m1813 No.1 is a close copy of the 1796 pattern, with many even being British made 1796s sold to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1813 - 1814.

But my sword is from the second batch ordered by the Dutch Government from makers in Solingen. It is a near perfect copy of the 1796 pattern and the only reliable way to tell them apart is by the presence of Dutch markings on the grip, spine and scabbard.

It is also a heavy sword, 990 grams, width at ricasso is 41mm narrows to 35mm then flares to 43mm. Blade thickness is 9mm to 1.9mm
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Old 22nd January 2022, 09:37 PM   #18
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You have 2 beautiful swords there Radboud! I didn't pay much for the sword and the vendor who sold me the item really thought it was such an item. I like it for what it is, an old copy, possibly Indian, of an LC 1796, and if I can ever decipher the arsenal mark that would be great. I have a policy that if the items are worth more than what I paid for them, I don't give the seller extra money, that is my gain and if they are worth less than what I paid, that amount goes towards my education.LOL.
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Old 22nd January 2022, 10:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k View Post
You have 2 beautiful swords there Radboud!
Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k View Post
I like it for what it is, an old copy, possibly Indian, of an LC 1796, and if I can ever decipher the arsenal mark that would be great.
Good on you. At the end of the day, this is all that matters. So much more than the opinion of some random on the internet.
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