Antique Arms & Militaria

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A Superb Crimean War 1853 Issue Pattern British Cavalry Sabre, Exactly as Used by The Charge of the Light Brigade, and, The {Less Well Known, Yet Ironically More Successful} Charge of the Heavy Brigade. In Its Original Scabbard, With White Buff Hide Knot.

A Superb Crimean War 1853 Issue Pattern British Cavalry Sabre, Exactly as Used by The Charge of the Light Brigade, and, The {Less Well Known, Yet Ironically More Successful} Charge of the Heavy Brigade. In Its Original Scabbard, With White Buff Hide Knot.

Three bar blackened steel hilt with regulation chequered leather grip held with 5 rivets, but, beneath a tight, field service stitched leather protective cover {ideally, never to be removed due to its rarity }. Regulation steel blade with makers mark and standard line regt. issue ordnance inspectors stamp. Regulation original rolled sheet steel blackened scabbard.

Both cavalry charges against the Russian lines happened on the same day in the Crimean War, at Balaklava, on the 25th October 1854, and barely two hours apart. The first charge was at 9.30 am and was the 'Charge of the Heavy Brigade', and it was followed at 11.10 am by the famed 'Charge of the Light Brigade'. This sabre would very likely have been used in either charge as the 1853 pattern was designated for use by both light and heavy cavalry. It bears the same ordnance maker's mark, as an identical pattern issue sword, from the Charge of the Light Brigade, used by a trooper the 13th Light Dragoon's in the charge, that is now in the 13th-18th Royal Hussars and Light Dragoons Regimental Museum {see a photo of that sword in the gallery}. Our sword also bears the line regt. issue ordnance inspectors marks. This sword further has, remarkably, its original field service stitched leather grip protection cover, which is simply hardly ever seen to survive. It is mostly unknown by collectors that the 1796 Heavy Cavalry troopers sword was also designed to have a field service stitched leather full hilt cover, hence why the disc hilt of the 1796 HC sword has circular and demi-lune cut out apertures, these are to accommodate the stitching for the FS leather cover. In over 100 years we have only ever purchased and sold a couple of these such swords, that were still bearing in place their FS stitched leather covers. It is fair to say one may never ever see another sword of this issue, in such good condition from this conflict, still with its FS leather still present, likely not even in any of the British cavalry regimental or army museums.

Following the Battle of the Alma in September 1854, British, French and Ottoman forces had begun to besiege the Russian naval base of Sevastopol. The siege lines, running back to their base at Balaklava harbour, went through two valleys and a ridge, and were vulnerable.

Seeking to take advantage of this, the Russians planned to break the British lines and then capture the base.
'The Thin Red Line'
The Russian cavalry charged on Balaklava, but their route was blocked by the 93rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot. Traditionally, infantry facing a charge would form a square, four lines deep. But the Highlanders took an unconventional approach, making two lines instead.

In the face of the oncoming Russian horses, the Highlanders' commander, Major-General Sir Colin Campbell, told his troops: ‘There is no retreat from here, men. You must die where you stand.’ They fired two disciplined volleys at the advancing enemy, which turned the Russians back.

'Charge of the Heavy Brigade'
The Heavy Brigade, moving up to support the Highlanders, then intercepted the retreating Russian cavalry.

The 800 British horsemen were hugely outnumbered by the 3,000-strong Russian cavalry. But seeing their enemy halted and vulnerable to attack, they charged uphill all the same. Their advance was little faster than a trot and only lasted 10 minutes, but it sent the Russian horsemen into disorder.

'Charge of the Light Brigade'

‘Cavalry to advance rapidly to the front’
To prevent the Russians moving the guns they had captured earlier, Lord Raglan issued an order to the Light Brigade to go and retrieve them. He was still waiting on reinforcements from Sevastopol to arrive, so the light horsemen were the only troops available to him.

But the cavalry commanders, who lacked Raglan’s view of the battlefield, were uncertain as to which guns his order referred to. What’s more, all they could see was a Russian artillery battery at the end of a heavily defended valley.

In response to their orders, the Light Brigade began their charge, but at the wrong gun batteries. They galloped through Russian artillery fire from three sides and on into the ‘Valley of Death’ suffering heavy losses in the process.

Some of the horsemen succeeded in reaching the Russian guns at the end of the valley, and even drove the men operating them into retreat before charging the Russian cavalry beyond.
After intense fighting, the remnants of the Light Brigade were forced to retreat from the guns. They made their way back through the ‘Valley of Death’ before reaching safety. Fortunately, their return was ensured by the French cavalry, who cleared the Russians from the north side of the valley.

Although the reinforcements from Sevastopol had now deployed and were ready to begin an assault on the heights, no further action was taken.

The battle ended in strategic stalemate, with the Russians controlling the heights and the road, but Balaklava still in Allied hands. Unfortunately, Russian possession of the road made supplying the forces besieging Sevastopol during a terrible winter much harder.

The loss of the Light Brigade was one of Britain’s most spectacular military disasters. It is remembered because of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s popular poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’, written a few weeks after the battle.

Years later, Tennyson also wrote ‘The Charge of the Heavy Brigade’ to raise money for Crimean veterans, many of whom were living in poverty. For similar reasons Rudyard Kipling wrote ‘The Last of the Light Brigade’ in 1890 to raise awareness of the hardships faced by veterans.

The blade is grey stained, not corroded, and we can hand polish it very bright  read more

Code: 25368

1195.00 GBP

Original Ancient Roman ‘Cross-bow” Fibula Bronze Toga Pin Military Issue, Fine Piece For Higher Ranking Figures in the Legion, Such As a Centurion or Tribune

Original Ancient Roman ‘Cross-bow” Fibula Bronze Toga Pin Military Issue, Fine Piece For Higher Ranking Figures in the Legion, Such As a Centurion or Tribune

Bow Fibula with a folded or rolled sleeve hinge, c. Early Imperial - Beginning of 2nd Century. We acquired a very small collection of roman toga pins, from super, small collection of original, historical, Imperial Roman and Crusader's artefacts
Shaped in the form of a roman military crossbow fibula, in bronze.
It became the most popular form of closure for Roman fibulae, and is characteristic of the bow brooches from the early imperial times to the beginning of the 2nd century. Outside the Roman Empire and after that time, this type of hinge was seldom used. The sleeve hinge consists of a small sleeve at the top of the head which is forged from a square sheet metal plate and then rolled up. In a center-cut slot, the spiked needle is inserted and held by a shaft (usually iron) passing through the whole sleeve. At the ends of each of the Aucissa fibulae and their early successors were buttons holding the hinge axis; later, the hinge axis was clamped in the sleeve and needed no buttons. The needle always carries a thorn-like projection on its perforated oval plate, which beats against the head of the fibula and, by virtue of this resistance, causes the suspension to spring forth. The sleeve hinge is used exclusively in bow fibulae. The needle is primarily rectilinear, but bends hand in hand with the flattening of the bow to the outside to continue to leave enough space between the bracket and needle. The sleeve hinge is considered a typical Roman construction. The paludamentum was usually worn over one shoulder and fastened with a fibula (ancient version of a safety pin). Arguments abound over what shoulder was exposed, but it seems fairly clear that the garment was fastened loosely enough to move around, The paludamentum was a cloak that was specifically associated with warfare. A general donned one for the ceremonial procession leading an army out of the sacred precinct of the city of Rome and was required to remove it before returning to the city…a sign that he was no longer a general, but a common citizen. The paludamentum or sagum purpura (purple cloak) was the iconic red cloak worn by a Roman general (Legatus) and his staff officers. Originally, it’s distinctive red/purple color clearly delineated between these officers and the rest of the army, which sported the sagum gregale (cloak of the flock). Although the sagum gregale, worn by the rank and file, started out the color of the flock (i.e. undyed wool), it seems likely to have transitioned to a coarser version of the sagum purpura by the imperial period (27BCE – 476CE). Outfitting the entire army in red garments would have been a mark of the great wealth of Rome – well, that and the fact that the Romans controlled the source of purple dye by then.The pin is now frozen through two millennia in a fixed position. Fibula 47mm x 22mm [not incuding pin] 68mm long x 22mm including the pin extended  read more

Code: 23985

245.00 GBP

A Superb, Original, 15th Century Tanged Lance Head From the Battle  Of Agincourt of 1415 . Acquired in the 1820's at a ‘Grand Tour’ Battle Site

A Superb, Original, 15th Century Tanged Lance Head From the Battle Of Agincourt of 1415 . Acquired in the 1820's at a ‘Grand Tour’ Battle Site

We were most delighted to have acquired a stunning collection of ancient bronze age weaponry, Medieval weaponry and a few other artefacts, including this stunning, and rare, steel pole-arm. Items such as this were oft acquired in the 18th century by touring famous battle sites in Northern France, Italy and the Ottoman Empire on their 1820’s Grand Tour. Originally placed on display in the family 'cabinet of curiosities', within their family estate country home upon their return to Britain. A popular pastime in the 18th and 19th century, comprised of English ladies and gentlemen traveling for many months, or even years, througout classical Europe and the Middle East, acquiring antiquities and antiques from ancient battle sites, such as the French sites at Agincourt, Crecy and Poitiers, for their private collections at home. One such family’s descendants have been allowing us to purchase such wonderful pieces from their family collection for around the past 30 years. These pole-arms were used at Agincourt by both English and French knights on horseback as a lance, and by the English and French men-at-arms on foot as a pole-arm or pike. However the French men at arms shortened their original long woodened hafts further which gave them a huge disadvantage in the battle's melee against the longer reach of the English. In superb condition for age, and a very fine quality piece, much superior than a regular lance or spearhead of the time. Armour-protected knights charged on horseback wielding lances ten to eleven feet long (cut down to as short as five feet by both the French and English at the Battle of Agincourt). The age ended with the rise of the bowmen in the fourteenth century. While the devastating volleys of English longbow men had initiated the change at Crecy on August 26, 1346, it was massed bodies of pikemen that really thwarted cavalry charges, as they did at the Battle of Pavia in 1525. Large quantities of lances would also have been used at Agincourt by men-at-arms. The small mounted French force at the battle tasked with driving off the English archers would have been equipped with this weapon. The vast majority of the French men-at-arms, and all of the English, were dismounted but still used lances at Agincourt. The English had an advantage over the French at the battle however, because the latter had decided to shorten their lances to give them greater control over their weapons prior to the battle. This proved to be a mistake during the melee as the longer English lances meant that they had a greater reach and were able to push over the French. One account of the lance used at Agincourt involved an assault on King Henry himself." under the banner of the Lord of Croy, eighteen gentlemen banded themselves together of their own choice, and swore that when the two parties should come to meet they would strive with all their might to get so near the King of England that they would beat down the crown from his head, or they would die, as they did; but before this they got so near the said King that one of them with the lance which he held struck him such a blow on his helmet that he knocked off one of the ornaments of his crown. But not long afterwards it only remained that the eighteen gentlemen were all dead and cut to pieces; which was a great pity; for if every one of the French had been willing thus to exert himself, it is to be believed that their affairs would have gone better on this day. And the leaders of these gentlemen were Louvelet de Massinguehem and Garnot de Bornouille" King Henry V of England led his troops into battle and participated in hand-to-hand fighting. The French king of the time, Charles VI, did not command the French army himself, as he suffered from severe psychotic illnesses with moderate mental incapacitation. Instead, the French were commanded by Constable Charles d'Albret and various prominent French noblemen of the Armagnac party.

This battle is notable for the use of the English longbow in very large numbers, with the English and Welsh archers forming up to 80 percent of Henry's army. The decimation of the French cavalry at their hands is regarded as an indicator of the decline of cavalry and the beginning of the dominance of ranged weapons on the battlefield.

Agincourt is one of England's most celebrated victories. The battle is the centrepiece of the play Henry V by Shakespeare. Juliet Barker in her book Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, the Battle ( published in 2005) argues the English and Welsh were outnumbered "at least four to one and possibly as much as six to one". She suggests figures of about 6,000 for the English and 36,000 for the French, based on the Gesta Henrici's figures of 5,000 archers and 900 men-at-arms for the English, and Jean de Wavrin's statement "that the French were six times more numerous than the English". The 2009 Encyclop?dia Britannica uses the figures of about 6,000 for the English and 20,000 to 30,000 for the French. Overall 20.5 inches long in very sound and nice condition for age. There are very few such surviving lances from this era, and just a few are part of the Royal Collection. As with all our items it comes complete with our certificate of authenticity. Almost every iron weapon that has survived today from this era is now in a russeted condition, however this one, is relatively lightly russeted. Usually only the swords of kings, that have been preserved in national or Royal collections are today still in a reasonable state and condition. The wooden hafts simply never survive from being lost in the ground for so many centuries  read more

Code: 23022

1750.00 GBP

An Eastern Roman Empire Battle War Axe 4th - 10th Cent. A.D.

An Eastern Roman Empire Battle War Axe 4th - 10th Cent. A.D.

This is a typical axe for the Eastern Roman Empire legionary and warrior. From the time of Emperor Constantine 'The Great' and used to The beginning of Byzantium period.

The Battle of Cibalae was fought in 316 between the two Roman emperors Constantine I (r. 306–337) and Licinius (r. 308–324). The site of the battle, near the town of Cibalae (now Vinkovci, Croatia) in the Roman province of Pannonia Secunda, was approximately 350 kilometers within the territory of Licinius. Constantine won a resounding victory, despite being outnumbered.
The opposing armies met on the plain between the rivers Sava and Drava near the town of Cibalae (Vinkovci). The battle lasted all day. The battle opened with Constantine's forces arrayed in a defile adjacent to mountain slopes. The army of Licinius was stationed on lower ground nearer the town of Cibalae, Licinius took care to secure his flanks. As the infantry of Constantine needed to move forward through broken ground, the cavalry was thrown out ahead, to act as a screen. Constantine moved his formation down on to the more open ground and advanced against the awaiting Licinians. Following a period of skirmishing and intense missile fire at a distance, the opposing main bodies of infantry met in close combat and fierce hand-to-hand fighting ensued. This battle of attrition was ended, late in the day, when Constantine personally led a cavalry charge from the right wing of his army. The charge was decisive, Licinius' ranks were broken. As many as 20,000 of Licinius' troops were killed in the hard-fought battle. The surviving cavalry of the defeated army accompanied Licinius when he fled the field under the cover of darkness
It is a matter of debate when the Roman Empire officially ended and transformed into the Byzantine Empire. Most scholars accept that it did not happen at one time, but that it was a slow process; thus, late Roman history overlaps with early Byzantine history. Constantine I (the Great) is usually held to be the founder of the Byzantine Empire. He was responsible for several major changes that would help create a Byzantine culture distinct from the Roman past.

As emperor, Constantine enacted many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. A new gold coin, the solidus, was introduced to combat inflation. It would become the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. As the first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the development of Christianity as the religion of the empire. In military matters, the Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians, and even resettled territories abandoned by his predecessors during the turmoil of the previous century.

The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire. He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself (the laudatory epithet of New Rome came later, and was never an official title). It would later become the capital of the empire for over one thousand years; for this reason the later Eastern Empire would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire. His more immediate political legacy was that, in leaving the empire to his sons, he replaced Diocletian’s tetrarchy (government where power is divided among four individuals) with the principle of dynastic succession. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children, and for centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity. The Varangian Guard was an elite unit of the Byzantine Army, whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Byzantine Emperors. The Varangian Guard was known for being primarily composed of recruits from northern Europe, including Norsemen from Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxons from England. The recruitment of distant foreigners from outside Byzantium to serve as the emperor's personal guard was pursued as a deliberate policy, as they lacked local political loyalties and could be counted upon to suppress revolts by disloyal Byzantine factions. This axes form and evolution; A somewhat similar correspondent to the type 1 of the classification made by the Kirpichnikov for the early Russian axes. Particularly, it seems akin to the specimens of Goroditsche and Opanowitschi, dated in the turn of 10th - 11th centuries however, its shape is slightly different, and considering the strong influence of the Roman Armies on the Russian ones in 11th century.
The general Nikephoros Ouranos remembers in his Taktika (56, 4) that small axes were used at the waist of the selected archers of infantry : "You must select proficient archers - the so called psiloi - four thousand. These men must have fifty arrows each in their quivers, two bows, small shields and extra bowstrings. Let them also have swords at the waist, or axes, or slings in their belts".

The axe was inserted in its wooden shaft and fixed to it by means of dilatation of the wood, dampened by water. The Byzantine Empire is the great Greek-language Christian empire that emerged after 395AD from the eastern part of the Roman Empire, Thanks to efficient government and clever diplomacy that divided its many enemies, the empire survived. Much diminished after 1204 AD when it was sacked by Christian Crusaders from the west en route to liberate Jerusalem, it finally fell to the Turks in 1453--indeed its fall is often used to date the end of the Middle Ages. Its capital was Constantinople, built on the site of the Greek colony of Byzantium and which is now known as Istanbul). The center of Orthodox Christianity, it is famous as well for its art and culture. The inhabitants of the empire referred to themselves as 'Romans' and considered themselves as such, the term 'Byzantine' not being used to describe the empire and its peoples until the seventeenth century, but after the seventh century the language of empire changed from Latin to Greek. Almost every iron weapon that has survived today from this era is now in a fully russetted condition, as is this one, because only the swords of kings, that have been preserved in national or Royal collections are today still in a good state and condition.  read more

Code: 22671

975.00 GBP

An Original, Exceptional & Most Beautiful Wilkinson Sword 1822/1845 Pattern British Infantry Officer's Sword For an Officer Of Field Rank {Major and Above}

An Original, Exceptional & Most Beautiful Wilkinson Sword 1822/1845 Pattern British Infantry Officer's Sword For an Officer Of Field Rank {Major and Above}

Exactly the form of sword used by Lt Bromhead in the Zulu war, as was portrayed and carried in the film 'Zulu' by Sir Michael Caine. One may find it very difficult indeed to see another as fine and beautiful as this sword

Traditional gilt hilt of Gothic form, pierced with Queen Victoria's cypher, a very fine deluxe etched Wilkinson made blade, and gilt brass scabbard, that denotes the owner's rank to be of Major, Colonel and above.

Photo in the gallery from the film "Zulu" and Michael Caine as Bromhead with his sword for information only not included.
The 1822/45 pattern of sword has a Gothic hilt and Queen Victoria's cypher within the pierced oval centre. This sabre would have seen service by an officer at the very cusp of England's Glory of Empire. A sabre fit to represent the age and used throughout the Zulu War and numerous other great and famous conflicts of the Victorian era. The 1822 pattern infantry with it's elegant pierced Gothic style hilt, and the graceful monogram of Queen Victoria make it one of the most attractive patterns of sword ever used by British Army officers, and it was a pattern that saw service for almost 80 years. The blade is by Henry Wilkinson, who developed in 1845 pattern blade. Many swords of British officers were continually used for many decades, until the 1890's in fact, as swords were quite often passed on from father to son, down the generations, in many military families. During the period of this sword's use, two of most famous pair of engagements in the British army's history, during the last quarter of the 19th century, happened over two consecutive days. Curiously, it is fair to say that these two engagements, by the 24th Foot, against the mighty Zulu Impi, are iconic examples of how successful or unsuccessful leadership can result, in either the very best conclusion, or the very worst. And amazingly, within only one day of each other. The 1879 Zulu War, for the 24th Foot, will, for many, only mean two significant events, Isandlhwana and Rorke's Drift. This is the brief story of the 24th Foot in South Africa; In 1875 the 1st Battalion arrived in Southern Africa and subsequently saw service, along with the 2nd Battalion, in the 9th Xhosa War in 1878. In 1879 both battalions took part in the Zulu War, begun after a British invasion of Zululand, ruled by Cetshwayo. The 24th Foot took part in the crossing of the Buffalo River on 11 January, entering Zululand. The first engagement (and the most disastrous for the British) came at Isandhlwana. The British had pitched camp at Isandhlwana and not established any fortifications due to the sheer size of the force, the hard ground and a shortage of entrenching tools. The 24th Foot provided most of the British force and when the overall commander, Lord Chelmsford, split his forces on 22 January to search for the Zulus, the 1st Battalion (5 companies) and a company of the 2nd Battalion were left behind to guard the camp, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Pulleine (CO of the 1/24th Foot).

The Zulus, 22,000 strong, attacked the camp and their sheer numbers overwhelmed the British. As the officers paced their men far too far apart to face the coming onslaught. During the battle Lieutenant-Colonel Pulleine ordered Lieutenants Coghill and Melvill to save the Queen's Colour—the Regimental Colour was located at Helpmakaar with G Company. The two Lieutenants attempted to escape by crossing the Buffalo River where the Colour fell and was lost downstream, later being recovered. Both officers were killed. At this time the Victoria Cross (VC) was not awarded posthumously. This changed in the early 1900s when both Lieutenants were awarded posthumous Victoria Crosses for their bravery. The 2nd Battalion lost both its Colours at Isandhlwana though parts of the Colours—the crown, the pike and a colour case—were retrieved and trooped when the battalion was presented with new Colours in 1880.

The 24th had performed with distinction during the battle. The last survivors made their way to the foot of a mountain where they fought until they expended all their ammunition and were killed. The 24th Foot suffered 540 dead, including the 1st Battalion's commanding officer.

After the battle, some 4,000 to 5,000 Zulus headed for Rorke's Drift, a small missionary post garrisoned by a company of the 2/24th Foot, native levies and others under the command of Lieutenant Chard, Royal Engineers, the most senior officer of the 24th present being Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead. Two Boer cavalry officers, Lieutenants Adendorff and Vane, arrived to inform the garrison of the defeat at Isandhlwana. The Acting Assistant Commissary James Langley Dalton persuaded Bromhead and Chard to stay and the small garrison frantically prepared rudimentary fortifications.

The Zulus first attacked at 4:30 pm. Throughout the day the garrison was attacked from all sides, including rifle fire from the heights above the garrison, and bitter hand-to-hand fighting often ensued. At one point the Zulus entered the hospital, which was stoutly defended by the wounded inside until it was set alight and eventually burnt down. The battle raged on into the early hours of 23 January but by dawn the Zulu Army had withdrawn. Lord Chelmsford and a column of British troops arrived soon afterwards. The garrison had suffered 15 killed during the battle (two died later) and 11 defenders were awarded the Victoria Cross for their distinguished defense of the post, 7 going to soldiers of the 24th Foot.

The stand at Rorke's Drift was immortalised in the 1964 movie Zulu, and Michael Caine is carrying this very same pattern of sword.

Overall in excellent condition for age, with some sharkskin minor wear losses to the grip, under the original triple wire binding, and a very slight kink in the knucklebow. Very small surface denting at the scabbard chape drag area.  read more

Code: 25365

SOLD

A Superb & Rare French Modele 1733-1766 Flintlock Pistol, Dated 1776, Manufactured For The King of France, King Louis XVIth, For the American Revolutionary War Supply, To Aid General Washington's Forces in 1776

A Superb & Rare French Modele 1733-1766 Flintlock Pistol, Dated 1776, Manufactured For The King of France, King Louis XVIth, For the American Revolutionary War Supply, To Aid General Washington's Forces in 1776

A most rare and superb example of the form of pistol made in France in 1776 for King Louis XVI of France and supplied to the armed forces of the United States Continental Congress, for the use of General George Washington's revolutionary rebel forces in 1776, and also for use for the French volunteer regiments that fought in America. France, at first surreptitiously, and later, less covert, gave America over 5 billion livres in aid and materials, weapons, men and ammunition. However, as it was effectively never actually repaid, it resulted in the ruination of the French economy, which led to the French Revolution, and thus the fall of the monarchy, and execution of the King and Queen France, King Louis and Marie Antoinette, as well as most of the French aristocracy that didn’t have the foresight to switch loyalties {during 'The Great Terror'}. Plus, after Americas successful victory, France, not entirely surprisingly, expected preferential trade deals and treaties with the new United States of America, by way of thanks, which failed to materialise, in fact it was far worse for France, as a very advantageous trade deal and treaty was in fact struck instead, between Britain and America. It’s strange that things often never quite turn out how one might imagine, but it shows how it is not a modern phenomenon, that politics can turn things completely on its head, and ones bitterest enemies can become ones most welcome allies in just a matter of a few months.

French involvement in the American Revolutionary War of 1775–1783 began in 1776 when the Kingdom of France secretly shipped supplies to the Continental Army of the Thirteen Colonies when it was established in June 1775. France was a long-term historical rival with the Kingdom of Great Britain, from which the Colonies were attempting to separate.

A Treaty of Alliance between the French and the Continental Army followed in 1778, which led to French money, matériel and troops being sent to the United States. An ignition of a global war with Britain started shortly thereafter. Subsequently, Spain and the Dutch Republic also began to send assistance, which, along with other political developments in Europe, left the British with no allies during the conflict (excluding the Hessians). Spain openly declared war in 1779, and war between British and Dutch followed soon after.

France's help was a major and decisive contribution towards the United States' eventual victory and independence in the war. However, as a cost of participation in the war, France accumulated over 1 billion livres in debt, which significantly strained the nation's finances. The French government's failure to control spending (in combination with other factors) led to unrest in the nation, which eventually culminated in a revolution a few years after the conflict between the US and Great Britain concluded. Relations between France and the United States thereafter deteriorated, leading to the Quasi-War in 1798.

France bitterly resented its loss in the Seven Years' War and sought revenge. It also wanted to strategically weaken Britain. Following the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution was well received by both the general population and the aristocracy in France. The Revolution was perceived as the incarnation of the Enlightenment Spirit against the "English tyranny." Ben Franklin traveled to France in December 1776 in order to rally the nation's support, and he was welcomed with great enthusiasm. At first, French support was covert. French agents sent the Patriots military aid (predominantly gunpowder and weapons) through a company called Rodrigue Hortalez et Compagnie, beginning in the spring of 1776. Estimates place the percentage of French-supplied arms to the Americans in the Saratoga campaign at up to 90%. By 1777, over five million livres of aid had been sent to the American rebels.

A painting in the gallery is of Washington and Lafayette. The Marquis De Lafayette was a french volunteer who joined Washington's General Staff. Lafayette was wounded at Brandywine, the first battle in which he fought for the American cause. While recuperating, he wrote to his wife, “Do not be concerned, dear heart, about the care of my wound…. When he Washington sent his chief surgeon to care for me, he told him to care for me as though I were his son, for he loved me in the same way.” Washington and Lafayette fought side by side in several other battles.

Overall in excellent condition, good crisp action, small hairline in the wood grip through both sides.

A near identical, rare, undated example of this pistol, that only bears its model number 1763, was sold at an American Auction, Rock Island Auction in September 2020 for $7,475. https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/80/3089/french-navy-model-176366-flintlock-pistol  read more

Code: 25357

3750.00 GBP

A Most Rare 18th Century Royal Navy Combat Cutlass, with Iron Double Disc {Figure of Eight} Hilt and Tubular Steel Grip. With Straight Back-Sword Blade With Single Fuller. Designed by Thomas Hollier in the Early 18th Century

A Most Rare 18th Century Royal Navy Combat Cutlass, with Iron Double Disc {Figure of Eight} Hilt and Tubular Steel Grip. With Straight Back-Sword Blade With Single Fuller. Designed by Thomas Hollier in the Early 18th Century

The form of the first, official issue, original Royal Naval combat cutlass used at sea, on boarding parties and shore patrols in the 18th century, then in the early 19th up to and including Trafalgar in 1805. Interestingly it is also known the 1st American Naval pattern cutlass, as it was adopted from us, and often cutlasses that were captured in naval engagements in the Revolutionary War.

Usually, of all the cutlasses issued to the Royal Navy in the 19th century, the often most desirable by collectors is the 1804 pattern, that has a ribbed cast iron grip, as opposed to the earlier wood grip, wrapped in a rolled iron sheet. The 1804 pattern is a scarce cutlass, rarely found, but most significantly, it was this type, the one that was issued long before the fleet went to face the Spanish and French fleet at Trafalgar, {that were roundly defeated by Admiral Lord Nelson} that is the rarest and most valued of all.
However, ironically, the rarest of all the regulation issued cutlasses, is the one that is the least well known, because of its scarcity, it is this, the 18th-century version, which was the original and first issued cutlass that saw service in the Royal Navy. From the 7 Years War period {1756-1763} fought in America, that was before the American Revolution fought from 1776, then, through to the Anglo-French war such as at the battle of ‘ The Glorious 1st of June’, the Battle of The Nile, and at Trafalgar.

The Battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794 was the first naval conflict between the British and the French during the French Revolutionary Wars, 34 British battle ships against 26 French. All along the line, the fighting was intense, and by the time the firing died away, 11 British and 12 French ships were more or less dismasted, 7000 were killed, wounded and captured on the French side, and 1000 killed or wounded from the British fleet.
Six French ships were captured and another, the Vengeur, sunk, while the damaged remainder of the French fleet made off in considerable confusion. After five days of strenuous chase and a hard-fought battle, the British were too exhausted to mount a pursuit.
Tactically, the British had won the day, and the news of victory was greeted with wild enthusiasm in Britain, but the grain convoy from America had escaped intact.
The Battle of the Nile (also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay; French: Bataille d'Aboukir) was a major naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the Navy of the French Republic at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast off the Nile Delta of Egypt between 1–3 August 1798. The battle was the climax of a naval campaign that had raged across the Mediterranean during the previous three months, as a large French convoy sailed from Toulon to Alexandria carrying an expeditionary force under General Napoleon Bonaparte. The British fleet was led in the battle by Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson; they decisively defeated the French under Vice-Admiral François-Paul Brueys d'Aigalliers, destroying the best of the French navy, which was weakened for the rest of the Napoleonic Wars. The British fleet arrived off Egypt on 1 August and discovered Brueys's dispositions, and Nelson ordered an immediate attack. His ships advanced on the French line and split into two divisions as they approached. One cut across the head of the line and passed between the anchored French and the shore, while the other engaged the seaward side of the French fleet. Trapped in a crossfire, the leading French warships were battered into surrender during a fierce three-hour battle, although the centre of the line held out for a while until more British ships were able to join the attack. At 22:00, the French flagship Orient exploded which prompted the rear division of the French fleet to attempt to break out of the bay. With Brueys dead and his vanguard and centre defeated, only two ships of the line and two frigates escaped from a total of 17 ships engaged.

The battle reversed the strategic situation between the two nations' forces in the Mediterranean and entrenched the Royal Navy in the dominant position that it retained for the rest of the Napoleonic Wars. It also encouraged other European countries to turn against France, and was a factor in the outbreak of the War of the Second Coalition. Bonaparte's army was trapped in Egypt, and Royal Navy dominance off the Syrian coast contributed significantly to the French defeat at the siege of Acre in 1799 which preceded Bonaparte's abandonment of Egypt and return to Europe. Nelson was wounded in the battle, and he was proclaimed a hero across Europe and was subsequently made Baron Nelson—although he was privately dissatisfied with his rewards. His captains were also highly praised and went on to form the nucleus of the legendary Nelson's Band of Brothers.

This 18th century regulation cutlass was used by ships at all of the battles as previously described, and many more, and many were used by the fleet under Nelson’s command at Trafalgar. This is one of those very rarest cutlasses, it is the rarest of the rare, as so few survived today, as they were significantly replaced by the 1804 pattern with the cast iron ribbed grip.

Original accounts of naval cutlass use in the Americas in the 18th century.

When a press gang boarded the Boston merchantman Hawke in 1741, a young Ashley Bowen had to distract the Royal Navy midshipman who 'examined our small arms and missing some of our cutlass and pistols out of their places...began to examine our bulkheads' in search of the shipmates that presumably held those arms to resist.'

John Nicol, serving during the Revolutionary War, wrote: 'I was one of the boarders. We were all armed, when required, with a pike to defend our own vessel should the enemy attempt to board; a tomahawk, cutlass and brace of pistols to use in boarding them. I never had occasion to try their use on board the Proteus, as the privateers used to strike after a broadside or two.'

John Iver, 'mate of an East India Ship,' in a letter written to his wife and published in Jackson's Oxford Journal, resorted to an extreme measure to carry his cutlass when the ship caught fire and Lascar sailors tried to escape on the only boat available. Ordered by the captain to; 'save him and the rest of the Europeans,' Iver wrote 'I took a cutlass in my mouth, and directly jumped overboard.  read more

Code: 25364

1675.00 GBP

A Very Fine, 17th Century, King 'William & Queen Mary' Hangar Sword Cutlass of Senior Naval Officer's Admirals and Captains of the Royal Navy. Bearing the Profile Cast Portraits of the Crowned King and Queen

A Very Fine, 17th Century, King 'William & Queen Mary' Hangar Sword Cutlass of Senior Naval Officer's Admirals and Captains of the Royal Navy. Bearing the Profile Cast Portraits of the Crowned King and Queen

The sword of choice for senior officer's {Admirals and Captain's} serving in the Royal Navy during the 17th and early 18th century. we show three portraits in the gallery of admirals of the age each bearing their same swords.

Short flat sided blade. Antler handle made of antler of a male deer, called “hartshorn,” brass single knuckle bow bar hilt with cap, most unusual pierced pommel, and its single ovoid, fully pierced guard bearing the cast portrait images of the crowned King William on the outer upper shell and Queen Mary on the under part of the inner shell. Blade bears two 'king's heads' armourer's marks. Most unusual fully pierced shell guard decorated with two stylised heads in profile, of Queen Mary on one side and the King William on the other. with numerous other depictions of the monarchs in other areas. overall in superb condition for its age.

Another similar 'William and Mary portrait bust hilted cutlass hangar was recovered {in a very poor state} from the wreck of notorious pirate, Captain Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, that was found at Beaufort inlet in 1996, the remains of the vessel have become the property of the people of North Carolina. And another 'William and Mary' portrait bust sword-cutlass is in a museum collection in Colonial Williamsburg in America.

William and Mary were the co-regnants over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland, namely the Dutch Prince of Orange King William III (& II) and his spouse (and first cousin) Queen Mary II. Their joint reign began in February 1689 after they were offered the throne by the Convention Parliament irregularly summoned by William after his victorious invasion of England in November 1688, the so-called Glorious Revolution. They replaced James II (& VII), Mary's father, who fled the country. Parliament offered William and Mary a co-regency, at the couple's behest. After Mary died in 1694, William ruled alone until his death in 1702. William and Mary were childless and were ultimately succeeded by Mary's younger sister, Anne.
This was the most popular form of sword used by the early British Naval Commanders when at sea. There are numerous great portraits in the National Gallery, and at the National Maritime Museum, of 17th and 18th century Admirals adorned with identical swords. Such as Admirals Benbow, Shovel et al. we show three such portraits in our gallery, of Hopsonn, Shovel and Benbow.

Vice-Admiral John Benbow (10 March 1653 – 4 November 1702) was an English Royal Navy officer. He joined the Navy in 1678, seeing action against Barbary pirates before leaving to join the Merchant Navy in which Benbow served until the 1688 Glorious Revolution, whereupon he returned to the Royal Navy and was commissioned.

Benbow fought against the French Navy during the Nine Years' War, serving on and later commanding several English warships and taking part in the battles of Beachy Head and Barfleur and La Hogue in 1690 and 1692. He went on to achieve fame during his military accomplishments, which included fighting against Barbary pirates such as the Salé Rovers, besieging Saint-Malo and seeing action in the West Indies against the French during the War of the Spanish Succession.

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Cloudesley Shovell (c. November 1650 – 22 or 23 October 1707) was an English naval officer. As a junior officer he saw action at the Battle of Solebay and then at the Battle of Texel during the Third Anglo-Dutch War. As a captain he fought at the Battle of Bantry Bay during the Williamite War in Ireland.

As a flag officer Shovell commanded a division at the Battle of Barfleur during the Nine Years' War, and during the battle distinguished himself by being the first to break through the enemy's line. Along with Admiral Henry Killigrew and Admiral Ralph Delaval, Shovell was put in joint command of the fleet shortly afterwards.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, Shovell commanded a squadron which served under Admiral George Rooke at the capture of Gibraltar and the Battle of Málaga. Working in conjunction with a landing force under the Earl of Peterborough, his forces undertook the siege and capture of Barcelona. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the Navy while at Lisbon the following year. He also commanded the naval element of a combined attack on Toulon, base of the main French fleet, in coordination with the Austrian army under Prince Eugene of Savoy in the summer of 1707. Later that year, on the return voyage to England, Shovell and more than 1,400 others perished in a disastrous shipwreck off the Isles of Scilly.

Thomas Hopsonn enjoyed a naval command on 18 May 1688, when James II appointed him to the Bonaventure. This ship was part of the fleet sent to The Nore under Strickland to prevent the Dutch invasion. However, Hopsonn was one of the conspirators within the fleet who supported William of Orange in the Glorious Revolution.

Following the revolution, Hopsonn retained command of the Bonaventure and was part of the squadron that relieved the siege of Derry in June 1689. On 28 October 1689, he was posted to the York, and commanded that vessel during the battle of Beachy Head the following year. Hopsonn's immediate commander in the battle was Sir George Rooke, who formed a high opinion of his gallantry and was afterwards much associated with him. He commanded Royal Katherine for two months starting in August 1690, before moving to command the St Michael. It was aboard the latter that he followed Rooke in the battle of Barfleur on 19 May 1692. In the same year, he was promoted to become a captain in the foot guards on the recommendation of admiral Edward Russell.  read more

Code: 25362

1350.00 GBP

A Most Fine and Rare Victorian British General's Mamaluke With a Captured Battle Trophy, or Presentation, Spectacular, Indian, Damascus Steel Blade, With Islamic Gold Cartouche Seal Engraved and Inlaid With Gold, 'Mohammed, Blessings Be Upon Him'

A Most Fine and Rare Victorian British General's Mamaluke With a Captured Battle Trophy, or Presentation, Spectacular, Indian, Damascus Steel Blade, With Islamic Gold Cartouche Seal Engraved and Inlaid With Gold, 'Mohammed, Blessings Be Upon Him'

Traditional British Mamaluke pattern hilt in gilt bronze, with ivory grips and gilt rossettes, original gilt bullion sword knot. The central crest between the quillon is a General's crossed baton and sabre symbol. The scabbard is formed gilt brass, of the usual generals pattern, but made extra wide than is usual to bespoke fit the fine wide blade.
The kind of fantastic sword & highest quality wootz water pattern Damascus blade that would have been used by a British General such General Havelock, General Nicholson of Delhi, or General Sir James Outram, from the the Crimean War or the Indian Mutiny period.

The sword would have normally been fitted with a standard etched blade, but a few, usually very notable generals of fame and status, might have a presentation or captured blade such as this fitted for their mamaluke. The cartouche reads approx, 'Mohammed, Blessings Be Upon Him'

Mameluke swords were adopted by officers of light cavalry regiments in the first decade of the 19th century, The current regulation sword for generals, the 1831 Pattern, is a Mameluke-style sword.

Napoleon raised a number of Mameluke units during his Egyptian campaigns in the French Revolutionary Wars, leading to the adoption of this style of sword by many French officers. In the post-Napoleonic period French military fashion was widely adopted in Britain.

The Duke of Wellington carried a Mameluke sword from his days serving in India and throughout his career. After he defeated Napoleon his status was a national hero, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, and then prime minister; as such, his tastes had considerable weight.
Trade between India and Sri Lanka through the Arabian Sea introduced wootz steel to Arabia. The term muhannad مهند or hendeyy هندي in pre-Islamic and early Islamic Arabic refers to sword blades made from Indian steel, which were highly prized, and are attested in Arabic poetry. Further trade spread the technology to the city of Damascus, where an industry developed for making weapons of this steel. This led to the development of Damascus steel. The 12th century Arab traveller Edrisi mentioned the "Hinduwani" or Indian steel as the best in the world. Arab accounts also point to the fame of 'Teling' steel, which can be taken to refer to the region of Telangana. The Golconda region of Telangana clearly being the nodal centre for the export of wootz steel to West Asia.

Another sign of its reputation is seen in a Persian phrase – to give an "Indian answer", meaning "a cut with an Indian sword". Wootz steel was widely exported and traded throughout ancient Europe and the Arab world, and became particularly famous in the Middle East.

From the 17th century onwards, several European travellers observed the steel manufacturing in South India, at Mysore, Malabar and Golconda. The word "wootz" appears to have originated as a mistranscription of wook; the Tamil language root word for the alloy is urukku.17 Another, which theory says that the word is a variation of uchcha or uchadubious ("superior"). According to one theory, the word ukku is based on the meaning "melt, dissolve". Other Dravidian languages have similar-sounding words for steel: ukku in Kannada1819 and Telugu, and urukku in Malayalam. When Benjamin Heyne inspected the Indian steel in Ceded Districts and other Kannada-speaking areas, he was informed that the steel was ucha kabbina ("superior iron"), also known as ukku tundu in Mysore.

Legends of wootz steel and Damascus swords aroused the curiosity of the European scientific community from the 17th to the 19th century. The use of high-carbon alloys was little known in Europe22 previously and thus the research into wootz steel played an important role in the development of modern English, French and Russian metallurgy.23

In 1790, samples of wootz steel were received by Sir Joseph Banks, president of the British Royal Society, sent by Helenus Scott. These samples were subjected to scientific examination and analysis by several experts.242526

Specimens of daggers and other weapons were sent by the Rajas of India to the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and 1862 International Exhibition. Though the arms of the swords were beautifully decorated and jeweled, they were most highly prized for the quality of their steel. The swords of the Sikhs were said to bear bending and crumpling, and yet be fine and sharp

We show several images from portraits or statues in the gallery of 19th century British Generals, all with identical swords
The statue of General Havelock in Trafalgar Square, London British General such as Nicholson Of Delhi, with his identical sword
A statue of Sir James Outram by Matthew Noble, in Whitehall Gardens, London
+ The portrait of General Havelock

Antique ivory, 'worked' declaration submitted, but we can only sell this sword within the UK, it is not allowed for export. Ivory, however old cannot be imported into the USA.

ref; Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani 750 page tome on Arms and Armour, Wootz patterns, page 540  read more

Code: 25361

6950.00 GBP