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Scottish Infantry Officer’s 1798 Pattern Broad Sword

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Price: £2,700

Ref: 054.18

Item Description

A fine example of the distinctive brass basket hilted sword introduced for Scottish infantry officers in Highland Regiments in 1798. It was replaced by the regulation steel basket hilted 1828 pattern sword three decades later. The sword type was used throughout the Napoleonic War period.

The brass basket guard is made of rounded bars and flattened plates in the usual manner with forward loop guards and a scroll guard terminal to the rear quillon. The upper terminals of the guard arms are fixed onto a ring of brass inside which the stem of the mushroom shaped pommel is fixed. The pommel is dome-shaped on top with four sets of triple grooved lines radiating from the pronounced upturned urn-shaped pommel button, the middle line wider than that on its flanks in each case. The hilt retains elements of its original gilt coat.

The double-edged gently tapering blade is 32 inches (81.25 cm) long, of lenticular section and of fine quality. A central fuller commences an inch from the hilt either side and is 10 inches long.  The blade is a high-quality, probably German import, which was standard for this sword type. The grip is spirally grooved with a fish skin cover (wire binding missing). A protective brass ferrule is applied to the base  of the grip.

The original leather scabbard is stitched down one side and tooled with plumed crests and floral designs on the other (now feint). It retains its mouthpiece, the chape missing. The mouthpiece is engraved with “D Fraser London”.

An example of this sword type is illustrated in John Wallace, Scottish Swords & Dirks, Fig 47, Arms & Armour Press, 1970, which is displayed in the Scottish United Services Museum. See also Mazansky, Boydell Press, 2005, “British Basket-Hilted Swords”, pages 131 to 133, for examples housed in various Scottish museums.

Brass is less robust than iron and as a result these swords were more susceptible to damage. Many surviving and published examples have bars missing, are out of shape and often with repairs. This one is a fine example, in original and untouched condition. The survival of its scabbard is an added bonus.

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