British 1786 Pattern Infantry officers Sword. Engraved Broadsword Blade

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The year 1786 saw the first official attempt at standardising the swords carried by British army officers. That said, more than one pattern of sword is recognised as being the regulation pattern for the period, so the idea of standardisation was still in its infancy and there was clearly lee-way for regiments and officers to choose which hilt and blade combination best suited them. The more common hilt pattern was that known as the “5 ball” guard, named for the five cast beads on the knuckle bow and cross piece. This sword had a reeded grip carved from ivory or ebony and a single-edged spadroon blade.

Less common was the forerunner to the later 1796 pattern infantry officer’s sword, having a rigid shell guard, plain knuckle bow and wire wrapped wooden grip with a double-edged, un-fullered blade. This 1786 pattern infantry officer’s sword is an exceptional example of the type.

The 817mm double-edged (broadsword) blade has a flattened diamond cross-section. The blade is 28.4mm wide at the shoulder and tapers to a narrow spear point. The blade is in excellent condition for its 235 years of age and service. There is some mild age related tarnish and the edges have some small use related nicks that are almost certainly combat related.

The blade is nicely engraved with a stand of arms, foliate scroll work and a panel bearing the words “For My Country & King.” Below this is engraved the Royal coat of arms with the mottoes, “Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense,” (shame on him who thinks evil of it) and “Dieu et Mon Droit” (God and my right), which is the motto of the British monarch. The obverse of the blade is similarly engraved.

The steel hilt has a double kidney shaped, rigid shell guard and steel D-shaped knuckle bow that extends to a nippled, bud-like quillon. The shell guard retains almost all of its original plated finish. The wooden grip is wrapped with twisted silver wire. The wire wrap is intact and tight and in excellent condition. The hilt is finished with a faceted urn-shaped steel pommel through which the tang is peened. The hilt is in excellent condition and the blade is firm within it.

This is a fantastic example of a rare 1786 pattern infantry officer’s sword with a beautifully engraved diamond section broadsword blade.