French AN XI Hussars Sabre (sold)
An interesting French Napoleonic AN XI hussar's sabre with 1814/1815
Versailles hilt and earlier (circa 1801) AN IX blade; a probable
Waterloo battlefield pick-up / war trophy.
In as seen condition, this is an AN XI French light cavalry sabre
with the hilt marked by Versailles for 1814/1815 (it bears a director's
inspection mark of a star over a P for C. N. Pion who held the position
from January 1814 to November 1815).
The blade is much older, circa 1801. Although the blade has rust
pitting that has obscured the poinçons / inspection marks
there, you can still make out the beginning of the maker's spine
signature "Manufacture De (feint)", which could only mean
the signature was "Manufacture de Klingenthal Coulaux Freres"
as this was the only signature after the blade was introduced to
use the unabbreviated form "Manufacture" followed by "de"
(mostly it was "du Klingenthal (date)".
This means the blade basically saw active service from the beginning
to the end of the so called "Napoleonic
Wars", which heightens the prospect it not only saw successful
battle and defeat, but that it also has inflicted injury or worse
on one of Napoleon's enemies. Although the hilt is later, this is
very common because the French were short of weapons so damaged
swords were cannibalized and incorporated into "new" swords.
As the blade of the AN IX (which this is) is the same as the blade
of the AN XI (which this hilt is), it was not a problem.
Although the sabre is in a very aged condition and without a scabbard,
the later fact alone means it is most likely a Waterloo war trophy
brought home by British personnel; I bought the sabre in the UK.
When a cavalryman was injured he would drop the sword or pistol
in his hand and then either ride or be dragged off along with his
scabbard by his horse. So the absence of a scabbard is not always
a bad thing. Further / full sized pictures available upon request.