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Sebastian Szuakslki

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Posts: 16
PostPosted: Wed 10 Jun, 2015 10:36 pm    Post subject: A 19th century British Court Sword         Reply with quote

This is a British cut steel court sword, of a similar style to the rather well known Poole court swords, of the Henry Poole company, who somewhat pioneered the tuxedo, and was closely involved with outfitting the royal court. The Poole swords are still available to rent for courtly outings today.

The cut steel sword was the official dress weapon of the British royal court during the 19th century, and was described as such: "A formal court sword with a cut-steel hilt and embellishments, with a black scabbard worn with a belt under the waistcoat"

This thus brings us to the design of this weapon: It is a court sword, and as the name implies was intended to be worn at court, and as such is no fearsome weapon, but one of elegance. It weighs only 444 grams, and has a narrow triangular cross section blade which is quite stiff. It balances two inches from the guard, and the blade is nickel coated.

The hilt itself is all steel, cut and polished into shape, and compared to some other period examples is quite simple. That being said, it took a large degree of skill to shape these hilts, and they sold for handsome sums, with many similar such swords selling around 15 pounds, well over 1000 pounds today.

This engraving in fine and detailed on the blade, and the blade is secured with a small hex nut, which I have not removed to check the tang. the scabbard fittings are steel, also cut and polished. The scabbard itself is leather, and has a triangular chape.

The hilt is marked "20", but no makers marks are visible. The fullered or rather hollow ground triangular blade resembles a modern foil or epee blade, and tracks very well in hand. The finger rings are decorative, being too small to use without unusually dainty fingers. There is very mild pitting to the tip of the blade.

This sword is very representative of it's type, with variation between examples largely being of the number of faceted pseudo-diamonds on the hilt. It is a robust and effective way to construct a hilt, however dainty the blade may be.

The condition of the scabbard leaves much to be desired, and I am truly resentful of the time I had the opportunity to purchase a Poole sword of very good condition and missed the auction due to a power outage which lasted nearly a week. Forever more I shall blame bad weather for my misfortunes in seeking antique swords.


NEXT UP: A 1822 British officers sabre,

an Italian 1872 Infantry Officers sword,

and then a 1889 Prussian Life Guards Hussars' Pallasch,

followed by a "Frankenstien" of mismatched parts.

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Ben Sweet

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Location: 831
Posts: 518
PostPosted: Wed 10 Jun, 2015 11:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I came across this one 2 years ago at the Antique Arms and Armor show in Las Vegas.. I only got a few hilt pics and dont recall what the rest was like, but the hilt was a beauty...! Congrats on yours!

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Niels Just Rasmussen

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Location: NykÝbing Falster, Denmark
Spotlight topics: 14
Posts: 310
PostPosted: Fri 12 Jun, 2015 9:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The knuckle guard is really special (on both swords) with it's three connecting sprockets?, spur-rowels?

If sprockets - the choice of a man involved in industry?
If spur-rowels, why 3 of them?
Maybe it is a Poole company-trademark?
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Jonathan Hopkins

PostPosted: Fri 12 Jun, 2015 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a collector I try to stick to fighting swords, but I can't help liking these cut steel court swords. They seem like they might be serviceable as small swords. At least they are attractive. I am looking forward to your next sword.
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