Unusual 1803 sword

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Unusual 1803 sword

Postby Jeffrey » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:43 pm

This is my first post on the forum, although I have been watching for some time, a bit about myself, I am retired and over the last 40 years have collected all sorts of military items, so when I saw this sword at a local fair it intrigued me enough to buy it.
the sword is unusual in that it has a Dutch East India Co blade dated 1774 from the Amsterdam arsenal, and the guard and knucklebow have been re-enforced with hardened steel, the fullered blade is 73cm in length and 4cm wide at the forte, the condition is fair, blade has been cleaned, scabbard in relic condition.
Now what intrigued me, was the officer just being frugal, to save money, there must have been many VOC blades on the market at that time, and the strengthening of the guard just to protect it from damage, or as I like to think a heroic type of officer using a family blade and getting stuck in, using the guard as a knuckleduster, we will never know
regards Jeff
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Re: Unusual 1803 sword

Postby Juan J. Perez » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:52 pm

Wow... what an interesting piece!

A special design obviously made for a no-frills officer, matching a cutlass-like blade, suitable for substantial cutting, to a heavily reinforced regulation hilt, not to protect it, but the hand of the fencer himself. Wisely modified, to let the Royal cipher visible on the outside with an elaborate 'armour' in the inside, while the shell, being less conspicuous, is simply shielded on the outside.

Let's say, a naval cutlass disguised in the form of an officer's sword, of a pattern with an original hilt not particularly suited for real fighting. The man knew very well what he needed...

Thanks for sharing!
Juan J. Perez
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Re: Unusual 1803 sword

Postby Will Mathieson » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:02 pm

Very interesting sword and very few are found modified for battle. I have not seen a handful of similar modified swords over the years, only recall a couple British 1822/45p swords.
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Will Mathieson
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Re: Unusual 1803 sword

Postby Bryce » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:32 pm

G'day Jeff,

Thanks for sharing the sword. Not just an older, foreign blade, but a modified hilt as well! These 1803 pattern hilts are notoriously flimsy, but I think yours is the first that I have seen that has been reinforced like this. Here is another sword with a reinforced guard, although in this case the intention I think was to widen the guard rather than just reinforce it. This is the variant 1796 pattern light cavalry sword of Frederick Ponsonby of the 12th light dragoons.


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Re: Unusual 1803 sword

Postby Brian Wolfe » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:45 pm

Hello Jeffery,

I can certainly see why you snapped this one up, well done. I don't have any swords in my collection with modifications, but would surely change that if one like yours turned up at one of our local shows.
Thanks for sharing this with us.

Brian Wolfe
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