British 1879 Martini Henry Artillery Sawback Sword Bayonet

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Rare British 1879 pattern Saw-backed sword bayonet for the Martini-Henry artillery carbine Mk1.

The 656mm blade is double-edged for the last 220mm and terminates in a spear point. The blade is in good condition, clean and bright with only a few small patches of tarnish and some shallow pitting along the spine.

The spine has 20 pairs of offset saw teeth above a short fuller ending with a medial ridge towards the point. The saw teeth remain extremely sharp.

The ricasso bears the War Department stamp and broad arrow, a bend test cross and an Enfield inspection stamp. The obverse ricasso bears a faint crowned VR cipher and the manufacture date of November 1882. There is also a Birmingham re-issue stamp dated 1900, probably for service during the Anglo-Boer Wars. The spine is marked with an Enfield inspection stamp and an “R” reissue stamp. Interestingly, there is also a “W” stamp. I am unsure as to what this stamp means.

Despite the relatively short span of their official usage (1879-1900), these artillery sword bayonets saw intense service and were present in every British campaign during that period, from India, Afghanistan, Egypt, The Sudan, South Africa (Boer Wars) and China (Boxer Rebellion) to name but a few. 

The steel D-guard is bright and clean with a pale age patina and very shallow pitting. The knurled leather grips are in great condition and the press-stud and external leaf spring mechanism work perfectly. The spine of the grip bears both Enfield and Birmingham inspection marks among others.

The bayonet is complete with its original steel mounted black leather scabbard. The leather is in good condition. The stitching is intact and tight. The locket and chape have pitting and tarnish and the frog stud bears the War Department arrow.

This is a good example of an early production, rare P1879 sword bayonet with stamps suggesting Boer War reissue.


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