Constabulary short swords were standard issue in the 19th Century for members of the British land, river and dock police and also for prison wardens. This example was probably used by a private dock security force.
The lack of a locking catch dates this hanger to pre-1850. Around 1850, the locking catch was added after a number of incidents in which police officers and prison wardens had their swords snatched out of the scabbards and turned against them.
The 570mm broad, curved blade has a flat spine above a long single fuller on both sides. The fuller ends 160mm from the spear point. Later models of constabulary hanger have fullers that continue into the spear point. The single-edged blade becomes double-edged for the final 160mm. The blade is in good condition with some small patches of use related marks and tarnish and a small chip in the blade 100mm forward of the ricasso. The blade has been service sharpened and retains a fighting edge.
The brass guard has a “D” shaped knuckle bow with stepped oval pommel and disk quillon. The contoured wooden grip is wrapped with leather. The grip is in good condition with mild use related wear. The blade is firm in the hilt.
The sword is complete with its original leather scabbard with brass furniture. The locket and chape are in good condition with a pleasing patina. The brass chape has a thin crack at the top and is securely fixed to the scabbard. The leather of the scabbard is in generally good condition. The stitching has perished in places and the scabbard has a good (possibly period) repair to the leather. An additional piece of leather has been fitted to reinforce a weak area. The sword sheathes and draws smoothly and is held firmly within the scabbard.
This is a good example of an early Victorian constabulary short sword, probably used by one of the private dock security firms that operated in the early 19th Century.
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