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A fine example of a British basket hilted back sword manufactured for a Trooper in a regiment of horse. The basket guard is particularly sturdy and well constructed from thick metal which despite its age is in excellent condition without surface rust, pitting, damage or repair. The sword is a functionally attractive minimalist evolution from its more decorative predecessors.
The long, robust, 36 inch blade (91.5 cm) retains its full length and is of Harvey type with a short ricasso worked with three shallow equally spaced adjoined fullers. Just over 3 inches (8 cm) beyond the ricasso a central broad fuller commences and terminates at the blade tip. Above this, running beneath the spine of the blade, a narrower and deeper fuller commences in the same place to terminate some 11 inches (28 cm) from the tip, beyond which the blade is double edged.
The fully formed basket consists of plain primary and secondary guard plates mounted between structural guard bars of rectangular section all forged from thick metal. The guard plates are finely formed and in difference with the more traditional fully developed basket hilt design, this “horseman” basket hilt, is mounted with an oval guard ring, which replaces one of the two more usual main frontal guard plates. The arms of the guard are forged onto a ring of iron into which the base of the bun shaped pommel sits. The pronounced plain pommel button is integral, not of separate manufacture.
The attractive and original grip is of spirally grooved wood which retains its shagreen cover and brass twisted wire binding plus “Turk’s Heads” top and bottom. The condition of the sword is excellent. The overall length is 42.25 inches (107.5 cm).
In “A Survey of British Basket-Hilted Cavalry Swords, 1690 – 1760″, page 26 (Royal Armouries Library), Ron McAllister records this plain hilt type, devoid of decoration, with its small peaks to the upper and lower edges of the main guard plates, as the “1751” type hilt for dragoons, and illustrates an example of the 2nd Regiment of Horse. For a similar hilt see “The Swords and the Sorrows”, National Trust for Scotland, 1996, page 48, reference 1:51, in the Royal Armouries Collection.