A curious Indian Army infantry officer's sword

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A curious Indian Army infantry officer's sword

Postby Matt Easton » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:14 pm

This is one of the most unusual Victorian sword that I've had.
The scabbard screams Indian service to me, as does the MOLE BIRMN marked sabre blade which is very similar at first sight to those found on Indian cavalry swords from around 1875-1918.

I strongly suspect that the guard is an 1897 replacement and I think that it was originally furnished with a gothic or scroll hilt. The guard is marked VR and so dates to 1897-1901 itself.

The scabbard is pretty unusual in its own right - why have two rings rather than just use the Sam Browne frog like most other officers at the time?

But the strangest thing of all is the grip and tang - it has a full width tang, a chequered hardwood grip matching the shape of the tang (both flare out at the pommel end, which makes for a very comfortable thumb-up sabre grip with the little finger wedged against the pommel end of the grip, which I happen to use in fencing myself). This chequered wooden grip has then been leather covered, concealing the opening at the front of the wood (the tang is visible where the leather has come away at the bottom).

The backstrap is also relatively unusual, being fully chequered like an 1895 backstrap, but I presume earlier in date and curved rather than straight (I have other pre-1895 swords with this feature).

I presume therefore that this was a totally custom sword made by Mole for a British or Indian officer in the Indian Army, perhaps dating to the 1880s and then having the guard replaced in 1897-1901.

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More photos: http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/antique-s ... 97indian1/

I would very much welcome your thoughts.

Regards,
Matt
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Re: A curious Indian Army infantry officer's sword

Postby Matt Easton » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:16 pm

Also to say that the edge has been repeatedly re-sharpened and has an unusually small angle on the edge bevel, resulting in something close to a carving knife rather than the usual 40 degree edge we see.
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Re: A curious Indian Army infantry officer's sword

Postby Gordons Horse » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:03 pm

Hi Matt,

Questions rather than comment. Can you please indicate the length and width of blade, and length of chape; and does the mouth of the scabbard seat neatly up against the front of the guard when the sword is sheathed.

Regards,

Gordon
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Re: A curious Indian Army infantry officer's sword

Postby Matt Easton » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:21 am

Hi Gordon,

Blade: 31" by 1 1/2"
Chape: 9 1/2"

The mouth of the scabbard does not exactly sit up against the guard, no - suggesting I think again that this is a replacement guard.

Regards,
Matt
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Re: A curious Indian Army infantry officer's sword

Postby Gordons Horse » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:32 am

Matt Easton wrote:Hi Gordon,

Blade: 31" by 1 1/2"
Chape: 9 1/2"

The mouth of the scabbard does not exactly sit up against the guard, no - suggesting I think again that this is a replacement guard.

Regards,
Matt


Hi Matt,

Thanks for dimension. Does the blade length match the scabbard length?

Regards,

Gordon
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Re: A curious Indian Army infantry officer's sword

Postby Matt Easton » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:43 am

Yes it seems to fit just fine, not much extra length and not too short.
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