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A very 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. This is an excellent example with a brass gilt hilt.
The 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 inside which the stem of the mushroom shaped pommel is fixed. The pommel is cone-shaped on top with four sets of triple grooved lines radiating from the pronounced pommel button, the middle line wider than that on its flanks in each case, with further triple line decoration around the circumference of the pommel at its widest.
The double-edged gently tapering blade is 33.5 inches (85 cm) long, of lenticular section and of fine quality. A central fuller commences an inch from the hilt either side and is 8 inches long. Inside the fuller on both sides is inscribed the name J. J. RUNKEL SOLINGEN. The armourers mark indicates that the blade is a German import and is a common occurrence on this sword type.
The grip is spirally grooved with shagreen, bound with twisted brass wire and mounted with brass ferrules top and bottom. The sword retains its scabbard with the mouthpiece inscribed on one side “PROSSER late Cullum Sword Cutler& to the KING & Duke of YORK Charing Cross”.
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 very fine example, in original condition, and retaining its gilt covering on the hilt. The blade has small patches of blackened pitting in places and the shagreen on the grip is worn in small parts.