British P1821 Artillery Officers Short Sword. Incredibly Rare!

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This is an incredibly rare Pattern 1821 Artillery Officer’s short sword made around 1850 most probably for use in the Crimean War of 1853-1856.

While standard artillery swords followed the cavalry pattern, once the guns were unlimbered and in place, the officer commanding the battery tended to dismount, as an officer on horseback would have provided a very tempting target. On foot, the standard P1821 artillery sword would have proved unwieldy (being intended for mounted combat), so prior to departing for the Crimea, a small number of artillery officers commissioned bespoke shortened models of the P1821. These swords are very rare. The Royal Armouries in Leeds holds one in its collection and I know of only two others in addition to this one.

The 62.5cm single edged blade has a wide fuller on each side, with a rounded spine and spear point. The blade is frost etched and decorated on both sides with cannon flanked above and below with laurel wreaths. The leather washer on the ricasso is present.

The spine of the blade bears the cutler’s name, “B Levy. Sunderland.” Benjamin Levy is recorded as being an outfitter at 29 Market Place in the 1850’s.

The steel three bar hilt is of the standard 1821 pattern, with a domed oval pommel and steel back strap. The shagreen grip is in good condition and the twisted copper wire is intact and tight.

The sword is complete with its original, bespoke steel scabbard, which has an oval frog stud. The scabbard is in very good condition with a mild salt and pepper patina. The sword is held firmly within the scabbard without rattle or play.