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1831P Victorian Scottish Black Watch Officer's Basket Hilt, sold

In aged condition, the blade mostly excellent except for some battle nicks, this is the 1831 Pattern 42nd Regiment of Foot (Royal Highlanders, Black Watch) of one of its most important officers.

1831P Victorian Scottish Black Watch Officer's Basket Hilt, datable 1852, VIPimage D62 1

Sold Item Notice

This is the 1831P sword of Edward George Grogan, one of the Black Watch's most important officers. He used it between the 24th July 1852 when he was commissioned as an Ensign (second lieutenant) in the Black Watch, and the 4th December 1885 at which date he gained the rank of Major in the same regiment and when he bought an 1857P Scottish field officer's sword, which we also acquired (see Grogan's 1857P). This sword was carried and used by him in various engagements including at Ashantee in 1874 (a battle honour for the 42nd Royal Highlanders) where he was wounded, and where it is believed the nicks to the blade occurred.

Edward George Grogan went on to command the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch (as a lieutenant colonel) in the Boer War, eventually attained the rank of colonel, was the father of Brigadier General George William St George Grogan VC CB CMG DSO, who won his Victoria Cross during World War 1.

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The blade is marked one side to the 42nd Royal Highlanders, as the Black Watch was then known, and the other side with the Grogan family crest and motto "honor et virtus " and the initials "E E Y"; we do not know who "E E Y" was but obviously was the family friend or possibly member who bought this sword for Edward George Grogan's commissioning in 1852, as was common. Of course, the blade is also etched with the Egyptian Sphinx and battle honours for the 42nd Regiment of Foot.

The sword is clearly mid 19th Century given the rounded bars of the hilt. The hilt itself is at an angle; this is clearly a bespoke and original feature, not some later damage, to make the sword more effective at yielding and thrusting, which standard straight up basket hilts were notoriously bad at. We must say, the angular hilt does allow the sword to be wielded much more effectively and held almost like a cavalry sword for thrusting.

The 32 inch Claymore blade is in very good condition indeed, the etching very crisp, except for the 4 nicks to the forward edge of the blade, and the ricasso area which has rusted while in the scabbard. The blade bears the tri-feathers of the Prince of Wales plus the exclusive maker's name "C Smith & Son 5 New Burlington London", who had a warrant for the then Prince of Wales, the future King Edward 7th.

Like the ricasso, the hilt and scabbard has suffered in poor storage conditions the test of time, though they are sound. The hilt has a deep patina (but no pitting), the wooden ferules used to achieve a solid grip within the angular hilt have mostly perished, the fishskin grip is actually quite good, but with missing small patches, the twisted grip wire bindings are mostly there (the upper section held with some later wire), incredibly the crimson with royal blue edged leather insert is still there, very aged but lovely to have. The enormous period pommel is bespoke to allow the angular hilt. The blade is firm in the hilt, but the grip wobbles a little through the perishing of the ferrules. The steel scabbard has lost is ball chape at the end and is well aged with multiple dings, no doubt some period. The original scabbard interior wooden lining slats are long perished, so the sword is loose in the scabbard. But oh well, you can hold this mighty sword of one of the Black Watch's most important officers and imagine that day at Ashantee in 1874.

Because of the original owner with firm provenance, this sword is a solid and most evocative investment. Further / full sized images available upon request. Please quote item number D62 (754)

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