Posted: 01/06/17 (10:04am)
The French/Chilean cavalry sabre is now on the website. It is a beautiful looking sword and will be a great display item in any collection. I have put it on sale for the bargain price of only £195. A real "come and get me" price.
It has been another busy week and it is going to get even busier. I'm driving down to Cambridge today and then on to London on Friday afternoon. Ill be driving back from London on Sunday.
With luck I will be coming home with some great items. I'll let you know...
Posted: 26/05/17 (15:41pm)
Another week has flown by! As always, I haven't managed to finish my weekly "to do" list but I have managed to photograph some of my back log of items for the web site. I will be adding a new stock item each day next week - or at least I've added the adding of new stock to my "to do" list for next week 😉
I mentioned in my last blog that I would write about my P1803 Infantry Officer's Sabre and I still intend to do so. At the moment I've drawn a blank in trying to identify the individual named on the blade. The blade is richly engraved with trophies of war, the GR cypher, floral work, two shields/crests, one with "Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense" (shame on him who thinks evil of it) which is the motto of the Order of the Garter and the other with "Dieu et mon droit," (God and my right), the motto of the Royal Arms of Great Britain. There is also a detailed etching of an infantry man standing about 2 inches tall.
There is no maker's mark as far as I can tell but the name Thomas Love is engraved just above the ricasso and bordered with scrolls and flowers. I have made the assumption that this is the name of the officer who owned the sabre. The ivory hilted sword was clearly the property of a wealthy and probably senior officer during the Peninsular Wars. I am very keen to identify him and learn his story.
As promised, I have listed the two signal cannons and thought I'd add a photo of each to this blog.
Posted: 22/05/17 (10:18am)
I had a mixed week last week. I missed out on some nice items at auction but i bought some too.
I bought a pair of 19th Century, French made cavalry sabres. The sabres were made by the Chatellerault armoury for the Chilean cavalry. They are very attractive swords with pierced, polished steel bowl guards. I'll be adding one to the website later this week.
I also bought a very interesting turn of the century cast iron signal cannon. The cannon was made in the late Victorian or early Edwardian period and is modelled on a field gun of that time. Again, I'll be adding it to the website in a day or so. I'm itching to get it and all my purchases photographed and added to the site but am rather busy at the moment. I'm busy blogging from an auction while I'm waiting for lots I'm interested in. My first one is coming up in the next 15-20 minutes.
A second cannon I bought is a bronze Georgian naval signal cannon. The barrel is typical of the period but the wooden truck is a replacement. That's not unusual and the truck is excellent, highly detailed and made from mahogany (I think). It's quite a substantial piece.
One can only imagine the working life of these signal cannons - both were clearly made for use and not as toys or display pieces. Was the Georgian cannon on a ship? Was it a noon gun? Did the field cannon serve a similar function on land? Maybe announcing dinner in the officer's mess? We'll never truly know what function they served but they are impressive collectables and wonderfully evocative.
My final purchase was an 1803 pattern British Infantry officer's sabre. It's beautiful. If only it could talk! Once it's photographed I'll give it a blog of its own with pics. It deserves it.
It's a tough choice as to which of my recent acquisitions is my favourite, I'm particularly taken with the cannons but I think it has to be the 1803 pattern Infantry officer's sabre.
Actually, on reflection I had an excellent week!☺
Posted: 05/05/17 (13:37pm)
I'm back. We got back on the afternoon of the 3rd May feeling exhausted, dazed and confused. We had been traveling for almost 48 hours. We began with a 17 hour train journey from Varanasi to Delhi that was 7 hours delayed and left Varanasi at 2.37am, followed five hours after reaching Delhi by a flight to Schiphol which was followed by another from Schiphol to Edinburgh. With the time difference thrown in we felt like we were extras from the Walking Dead!
Two days later and we still feel far from rested. I guess it's going to take a couple of days to get back into the swing of things but I felt I should at least write my blog before carrying on with the "to do" mountain that seems to rise at an alarming rate whenever one goes away for any period.
I have been remiss in writing my blog and feel suitably guilty for it but I didn't really want to write about our holiday - it was after all, our holiday (and we had a fantastic time). I had expected to find plenty of wonderful and interesting items to buy and blog about but as it turned out, finding new stock was considerably harder than I had expected. I was a stranger in a strange land, totally without contacts or local knowledge. My attempts at recruiting local drivers and tour guides to assist in finding items was a waste of time as the vast majority of items I was shown were newly made "antiques" and the few genuine items were in such poor condition and with such high asking prices that I either wasn't interested or was unable to bring the price down low enough to make it worth while buying them. I even resorted to showing vendors my website so that they could see what price I was selling similar items for (and usually mine were in much better condition) in an attempt to reduce their asking price, only to be told on several occasions that I needed to put my prices up! Don't worry, I'm not going to do so.
Another hurdle which I was unaware of prior to going was that exporting antiques of any kind from India requires a license. It's not hard to obtain but is time consuming.
Ultimately I bought very few items. My star buy, the 19th century Zulu Iklwa (which I bought during a 72 hour stop over in Amsterdam) turned out to be my first and biggest purchase and even that had a sting in its tail. The spear itself is absolutely genuine and without doubt a Zulu war bring back but it appears that the tip has been re-pointed. The purists would say it has been fiddled with; others might say that the missing tip was restored/repaired but either way it wasn't quite as I had perceived it to be in my rush to buy it.
To be fair, whoever did the restoration did a very good job as I didn't pick up on it until it was pointed out to me on Wednesday afternoon (after photographing it and recording its dimensions I wrapped it carefully and posted it home so didn't really spend too much time examining it in minute detail). The Iklwa is a fantastic piece and still one of the best I have owned but I'm not quite sure how I feel about the work that was done on it.
Would I have preferred it to have had a missing tip? Part of me says yes - it's part of its history, its story and I enjoy the misty eyed imaginings of how and when that may have happened. But another part of me is very happy with how it looks re-tipped, knowing that it was carried during the Zulu wars... I guess it comes down to individual taste.
Should the dealer in Amsterdam have told me about the restoration? On that front I have no doubt. Of course he should. I would still have bought it - maybe not for quite so much (I would certainly have tried to use the information to bargain the price down) but he didn't tell me and I didn't spot it so we are where we are. I am at least telling you.
In a few days I will get the Iklwa listed with close up images of the tip and you will be able to make an informed choice.
When all is said and done it is a great example of a Zulu War fighting Iklwa, it's age and history are without question and it will make a fine addition to any collection.
Ok, so I have a mountain of mail still to deal with, unpacking to finish and all the other chores that welcome one home from holiday so I'd best get doing. We'll chat again soon...
Posted: 16/04/17 (6:39am)
Bygone Blades would like to wish everyone a very happy and relaxing Easter.
Enjoy the weekend.
Richard & Sue
Posted: 11/04/17 (14:15pm)
Ok, so I've just looked at the pics of the Iklwa that I put on the website this morning. They really don't do it justice so I will redo them when I get home.
I saw some lovely swords today. At least they would have been when they were new. Unfortunately the years and previous owners have not been kind to them so what I actually saw was 17 relic or near relic condition swords ranging in date from the mid eighteenth to late nineteenth century. It was interesting to see them and Sue suffered in silence while i spent a couple of hours going through them. My interest was of course tempered with disappointment at their condition. Needless to say I didn't buy any.
Next time maybe...