Posted: 20/03/17 (12:42pm)
I had a great week last week. I went to a couple of very interesting and enjoyable auctions and I bought some superb items.
Two of my purchases were Japanese non-commissioned officer's Type 95 swords. Both of them are 100% genuine and in honest used condition with wear testifying to their use and service. There are so many fakes of these highly sought after swords that it is quite a rarity for genuine examples to come up at auction - these are the first two I have seen for some time.
Both swords came with their blades caked in hard, dried grease which at first glance resembled rust but with nothing other than hot water and washing-up liquid the blades were revealed to be bright and relatively tarnish and rust free.
I am absolutely thrilled to be the custodian of these swords. These early pattern Type 95 Shin Gunto were carried by career soldiers, Corporals and Sergeants, not conscripts. These were brave men who would not have relinquished their swords or viewed surrender as an option and it is a privilege to add one to my collection and to be able to offer the other for sale on Bygone Blades.
Posted: 10/03/17 (8:27am)
Three weeks and two days before I go on holiday. Why am I telling you this? Well for a number of reasons.
Firstly to give notice that I am going to be away from the 3rd April so that any purchases made on or after that date will not be shipped until I return. And secondly, well, just because I love traveling and I'm excited to be going away. I'm just as passionate about traveling as I am about buying, collecting and selling antique edged weapons so I thought I'd share the buzz😀.
Being self employed means that I don't get paid holidays (I don't get sick pay, parental leave or a number of other benefits afforded to the majority of other workers either - but let's not get political) but I do get to be my own boss and that's not to be underestimated. Along with the pressures and stresses of self employment comes a great sense of empowerment, achievement and freedom and I love it. But I digress...
As I was saying, I don't get paid holidays, so I've decided to try and combine taking a holiday with finding and buying more items for the website. I'm excited to see how it works out. It will be fun and interesting to go to auctions, antique shops and markets in another country and will be a great way to immerse myself in the culture and to meet new contacts - as well as hopefully buying some great new (old) items.
Earlier I mentioned the freedom of self employment and here's a great example. In order to make the most of the possible buying opportunities while still finding time to relax and soak up the culture and history, I'm going to be away for a month.
I'll let you know how it goes...
Posted: 24/02/17 (9:59am)
Well we seem to have escaped the worst that Doris had to offer. It snowed briefly before returning to rain and we never got the strong winds that seem to have affected many other parts of the UK. Quite a relief actually as I really didn't relish the thought of driving home in 80 mile per hour winds and a white-out blizzard.
The auction for me was a resounding success. That is seldom the case. Usually I go to an auction with a long list of items I would like to buy but head home with very few of them. Often I return home empty handed. Coming home with nothing is very frustrating especially when the auction is a long drive from home.
Yesterday I managed to get all the lots I wanted, my star buy being a very rare Finnish M27 bayonet in the early fluted scabbard. Soon I'll get around to photographing it and listing it on the website.
I also bought a curiosity. I was the highest bidder on an unusual French M1866 Chassepot bayonet. What makes it unusual is that it has been nickel plated - completely nickel plated. From brass hilt to blade tip, including the scabbard is plated.
In the past I've seen Chassepots with a plated cross piece and quillion and a plated scabbard and these are nearly always for either police, bandsmen or ceremonial issue. None that I've seen have had the blade and brass hilt plated as well.
Chassepots captured by Prussia during the Franco-Prussian war were sometimes repurposed for the navy by having the quillion and scabbard plated but these were usually stamped with an "N" and also had their scabbards modified with an elongated teardrop frog stud. My scabbard has the standard French bar.
Interestingly, the bayonet itself is actually of Prussian (German) manufacture but I don't think it was ever used by them.
Another interesting point is that French issued bayonets usually had a serial number with a letter prefix. Those without the letter prefix were issued purely as a side arm and not intended for use with a musket. This bayonet's serial number (bayonet and scabbard have matching numbers) lacks the letter prefix and so may point to it being a ceremonial, band or police issue side arm. Before I can say for certain (if indeed I ever can) I will need to do some research. Many countries other than France used the Chassepot bayonet so I'll need to find out what I can about their plating practices. I look forward to doing so and to listing the bayonet in due course.
Posted: 23/02/17 (8:40am)
Today is Doris Day - so we're told. Storm Doris is due and I'm waiting expectantly to see whether the forecast snow and gale force winds come to pass. We've been warned to expect up to 30 cm of snow and winds of 80 miles per hour but as of 8.45am there's no wind or snow.
So why am i blogging about it? Well, I'm off to an auction and am hoping that I'm not going to be staying overnight!
I'll let you know how I get on later...
Posted: 16/02/17 (12:42pm)
I picked up two very nice swords at auction this week. One of them is a Prussian 1840's naval cutlass; the other I believe to be a British River Police hanger. It was listed as an artillery short sword but I'm certain that it isn't. Funnily enough, the Prussian naval cutlass was listed as a ceremonial sword! Apart from crossing the line it's hard to imagine what kind of ceremonies this cutlass could have been used in. It's a heavier bladed version of the French M1833 and was only made for one purpose.
So, back to my new River Police hanger. So far I haven't been able to identify which river force it may have been issued to, and am unlikely ever to be able to as the blade and guard are not marked. Most police hangers of the early Victorian period were unmarked so this is not unusual. The Thames River police swords were however marked and had a brass hilt and guard so I can say with certainty that it isn't one of those.
There are some other smaller differences between my hanger and others of its kind. My hanger, which is complete with its scabbard, does not have a retaining catch. This probably means it dates from before the 1850's when retaining catches were added after a number of incidents in which police officers had their swords turned against them after being grabbed from the scabbard during the course of an arrest. Additionally, the three-bar guard on my hanger has been decorated with an incised floral motif at the terminal of the bars. It also has an oval, stepped pommel so differs from the unadorned guards and pommels of standard police hangers. Finally, the brass scabbard chape is of the cavalry/artillery style, not at all like the flat ended chape of a standard police scabbard. Could it be that mine was for use by an officer as opposed to a constable? I clearly have a great deal of research to do.
Once I have established what this hanger is and where it's from it will of course be offered for sale here on Bygone Blades. So too will the Prussian naval cutlass in due course.
In the mean time, here are some photos of the hanger. Feel free to contact me with any thoughts or comments on its origin and purpose.
Posted: 08/02/17 (12:15pm)
So a week has passed since the launch of the Bygone Blades website and things aren't happening as fast as I would like them to - but hey, isn't that always the case? Either time and life are flying by with barely a minute to draw breath or they're dragging along seemingly getting nowhere.
My web developer tells me I have to be patient and that things will happen in Google time. Apparently it takes a while for Google to find and "trust" the website. Well I hope they get a move on. I'm really pleased with the website that Andy has built me and I'm eager for everyone to find it and of course buy stuff.
One of the items I have is a particularly rare French Napoleonic Wars Model 1777 AN IX (year 9) socket bayonet and I've been checking online daily, waiting for it to come up in an image search but so far it hasn't. In fact, only one does - and that's been sold for some time. The rest of the 200 plus images the search generates are a seemingly random collection of just about everything, including an American M29 mortar! The same applies to a lovely English Dragoon's Back Sword circa 1680. It and so far everything else are adrift in the ether. Come on Google, time to send out the search parties!