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Circa 1740 Scottish Horseman's Basket Hilted Backsword (sold)

In good condition with original fishskin grip, a rare 1730-1750 Scottish horseman's basket hilted backsword.

Circa 1740 Scottish Horseman's Basket Hilted Backswordimage 700 2

Sales enquiries

A rare so called "English style" (referring to the pattern of the hilt - nothing to do with where it was made or the allegiances of the owner thereof) Scottish horseman's backsword. I believe the blade is Scottish, as opposed to Prussian or even English made, and dates to around 1730. The hilt style appears in several reference books at just after the Jacobite uprising (Culloden, etc.), but with so called "pas d'anes" hilt loops / rings forming an original part of the hilt (circa 1750); here the pas d'anes are a later period addition, the original hilt not having them as part of its original construction.

image 700 3

So I believe this is a very early "English style" hilt and given the type of blade, I am sure dates from the 1730's. I suspect the pas d'anes you see on the hilt were added after the Jacobite uprising in order to conform with then British "regulations" or design.

The 34 inch twin fullered single edged blade is, I believe, the original length. It has a few tell-tale nicks to the cutting edge. A little loose in the hilt, but not much. The hilt aged but in very good overall condition and quite sound, though one section is bent a little inwards and a bar has a resulting crack to it, but still the hand easily fits. What is nice is the original fishskin grip and wire bindings are still there and in pretty good shape.

Further / full sized photos available upon request. Item Ref: 700 (293).

A virtually identical sword but in far worse condition (the hilt was broken in several places and the blade severly rusted) sold for £3099.20 (£2600 plus £499.20 commission / premium) at a small and not very well advertised auction house in the North of England on the 16th August 2011 (see: Capes Dunn Lot 8). The auction house, apart from not being widely advertised, did not even know the value of the sword (they estimated it at £80 to £120), which shows the sword would likely have sold for a lot more at a well advertised militaria specialist auction. In addition, most people realise auction houses mostly sell items to the trade, at wholesale prices. I make this point as the sword I am retailing is in far better condition and therefore a true investment bargain. It is unlikely you would be able to buy this sword at auction for less, assuming you knew what you were doing (auction houses are exempt from critical retail protection laws). Based on the Capes Dunn sale, the retail value of the sword I am selling is probably £7000+










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