British 18th Century Saw-Back Hunting Sword. Cuttoe circa 1750

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This rare and beautiful English hunting sword dates from around 1750. Although originally intended as hunting swords, called in France “Couteau de Chasse,” these swords were also adopted as side arms by seafarers. William Gilkerson in his book “Boarders Away: With steel – Edged Weapons and Polearms” documents their regular use by Royal Navy officers.

The use of the name “Cuttoe” to describe these weapons is a bastardisation of their French name by English sailors.

The 545mm single edged blade has a saw-toothed spine. The 39 pairs of teeth gradually reducing in size to become a 152mm sharp upper edge. The blade terminates in a spear point. A thin, shallow fuller runs below the saw-back. The edges and the saw teeth remain sharp.

The blade is in very good condition for its 270 years of age. The long single edge has a few small nicks and the steel has a mottled patina with minimal shallow pitting.

The brass hilt, shell and D-guard are in excellent condition and the blade is firm in the hilt. The hilt has a profusion of images and imagery. A naked man and woman appear on opposite sides of the grip (Adam & Eve?) amidst trees, vines and foliage. The centre of the crosspiece has a deer on one side and a hound on the other and the centre of the D-guard has a squirrel on one side and foliage on the other. The shell guard depicts a man holding a spear, sitting beside his hound. The tang passes through the hilt and is peened over a raised tang button.

The sword is complete with its leather covered wooden scabbard with brass mounts. The scabbard is in excellent condition and the leather is tooled with a pattern of crosses and dots. The frog stud on the scabbard throat is a beautifully detailed rose.

This is a beautiful and rare mid-18th Century hunting sword in well above average condition.


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