Fine Antique Arms & Armour

Exceptional Basket Hilted Back Sword Made for a Scots Regiment of Dragoons Circa 1730 Ref: 15.15


Price: £4,450

Item Description:


An exceptional example of a British Basket Hilted Back Sword of Horseman type most likely manufactured for a Scottish Regiment of Dragoons in the second quarter of the 18th century. The basket hilt is particularly well constructed from thick metal and is mounted with a heavy, long blade with makers' stamps on both sides and retains its original scabbard. On the whole the sword is in excellent condition for its age.


The fully formed basket consists of primary and secondary guard plates mounted between structural guard bars of rounded section. The guard plates are finely pierced with hearts and circles which are symmetrically fretted at the edges with convex crescents interspersed with merlons in raised relief. In difference with the more traditional fully developed Scottish / British basket hilt design, this "Horseman" basket hilt, is mounted with an oval guard ring which replaces one of the two more usual main frontal guard plates.


The arms of the guard are forged onto a circle of iron into which the base of the bun shaped pommel sits. The pronounced pommel button is integral, not of separate manufacture and decorated with three sets of triple incised lines which radiate from the pommel button. The original grip is of spirally grooved wood which retains its shagreen cover with brass twisted wire binding, iron ferrules top and bottom and a buff leather liner at its base.


The strong tapering blade fits tightly into the hilt and has a short ricasso worked with three shallow equally spaced adjoined fullers. Beyond this on both sides of the blade the GR cipher and crown is incised to be further embellished on one side with the word "HARVEY" beneath. Beyond this a central fuller commences and terminates at the blade tip. Above this, running beneath the spine of the blade, a narrower fuller commences in the same place to terminate some eight inches from the blade tip after which the blade is double edged. Harvey was one of the most notable English blade and sword making dynasties of the 18th century.


The scabbard is formed from two slats of tapering wood bound with leather stitched down the centre of one side. The back edge is precisely formed to accommodate for the thinning of the blade spine from where it becomes double edged. The reverse side of the scabbard shows patterns formed from tooled lines and geometric patterns. The original chape and mouthpiece are decorated at the edges with crescents and merlons.


Overall the condition of the sword is excellent with only a few light patches of age related staining in parts. The scabbard is a rare survivor and in expectedly less robust condition, the leather has shrunk across the wood over time, become dried and is now split with small parts missing. The scabbard is still serviceable as a sheath for the sword which fits with only a small portion of blade visible between the top of the mouthpiece and the base of the hilt.


The length is 42 inches (106.5 cm) and the blade is just over 36 inches (92 cm) long.


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