British P1821 Artillery Officer's Fighting Sword. Crimean War

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Great example of a Victorian Artillery officer’s sword that has been professionally sharpened for war. It is possible that this was done in preparation for deployment to the Crimea.

The 873mm slightly curved blade has a broad spine and a single, wide fuller on both sides. The blade terminates in a spear point. The blade is crisply etched with Queen Victoria’s Royal cypher amidst foliate scrollwork. The obverse of the blade shows the winged lightning bolts of the Artillery. The blade has been armoury sharpened to give it a fighting edge and in so doing, removed the cutting edge half of the etching. The blade shows a few small contact nicks along the edge and is still sharp, especially towards the spear point and along the upper edge.

The blade is in good to excellent condition with almost no age tarnish. The ricasso bears the name and address of the Military cutler J. B. Johnstone. The obverse ricasso bears a brass proof slug with a fleur-de-lis.

The steel three-bar guard and ray skin grip are in excellent condition and the twisted copper wire is intact and tight.

The sword comes in its original steel scabbard. The scabbard is clean and bright with a minor age colouration and is dent free. For some reason, the very tip of the drag has been removed. It looks to have been professionally done, although why, I cannot say. The sword fits perfectly within the scabbard and the tip is not exposed.

It has been suggested that for officer’s serving in climates that have extremes of temperature between night and day, a steel scabbard would produce condensation (dew on a beer glass effect). Removing the tip of the drag would allow any moisture to drain away. I am not sure of the veracity of this but it is one possible explanation.