This rare early production 1856 British sword bayonet has the riveted external spring. On later production models, the external spring is held in place with a screw. The bayonet was made for the Model 1853, .577 calibre Enfield rifled infantry short-musket. As well as being issued to British infantry units, these rifles and bayonets were sold to both the Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War. This bayonet is a typical export example, as it does not bear British military issue or War Department ownership stamps.
The 576mm yataghan blade has a flat spine and broad single fuller on both sides. The recurved blade is double-edged for the last 120mm. The ricasso bears the crested helmet logo of the Kirschbaum factory in Solingen, Germany. The obverse ricasso is stamped with a crowned inspection mark. The blade was service sharpened and is in very good condition. It is free from rust and has a pale speckled patina and faint scratches along its length consistent with sharpening and cleaning.
The iconic steel crosspiece with forward pointing cockscomb and button finials is bright and free of rust with a mild patina and shallow speckled pitting. The beaked pommel bears the number 17.
The press-stud and external spring locking mechanism work perfectly. The external spring is riveted in place, indicating that this bayonet is an early production model. In later production P1856 bayonets, the rivet is replaced with a screw. The leather grip scales are in very good condition.
The bayonet is complete with its original leather scabbard with steel mounts. The steel furniture has a mottled age patina and is bright and without rust or damage. The leather is in good condition with some crazing and loss to the original finish. The stitching is intact and tight.
This is a very good example of a rarely found early production 1856 bayonet with riveted external spring.