This 1845 first pattern Royal Navy cutlass is in excellent condition and was made by Robert Mole of Birmingham, England between 1847 and 1852, in time for the Crimean War. Robert Mole received a contract to produce 7,416 cutlasses for the price of 4/6d each. Scabbards were made and sold separately.
The 730mm single-edged blade has a thick, flat spine that tapers to a spear point. The blade is double-edged for the final 250mm and has been service sharpened. The slightly curved blade is broad (38mm at the ricasso), unfullered and bevelled towards the point. It is a beast of a sword!
The blade is in very good condition with minimal small spots of tarnish. There are a few small use related nicks and the blade retains a sharp fighting edge.
The ricasso bears a crowned Birmingham inspection stamp and the spine is stamped, “MOLE.”
The 1845 pattern guard is in very good condition and remains bright and rust free with some use related marks and dings. The polished guard bears a copper lozenge-shaped plaque bearing the rack number 74. The plaque is fixed to the guard with brass rivets. Naval cutlasses were not issued to individual seamen but were stored (locked) in racks and were issued for combat or training as and when required. For this reason, most cutlasses were purchased without scabbards.
The original of the 1845 pattern cutlasses (of which this is one) can be distinguished from the later models by the larger width of the basket guard and the distance between the grip to the bulge of the guard, which was around 70mm (2 and ¾ inches) in the first pattern. The pommel of the cast grip also swells out considerably on the first pattern. Second pattern guards have an oval piece of metal fitted around the blade and riveted to the inside of the guard. The third pattern, circa 1858 has a narrower basket with a forward pointing lip to the front of the guard and the grip pommel has a much smaller flare.
This is a truly excellent example of an original 1845 first pattern naval cutlass, complete with rack number and made by Robert Mole, a top Victorian sword maker.
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