As with many of the pattern 1887 MkI Martini-Henry sword bayonets, this bayonet began life as a pattern 1886 Enfield-Martini MkII bayonet. The history of the Martini-Henry MkI bayonet’s design is convoluted but in short, on the 10th July 1888 the old Enfield-Martini P1886 MkII bayonet officially became renamed as the Pattern 1887 MkI.
The “old” cross guard and muzzle ring of the original P1886 bayonet (which had already been adapted once to remove its integral sight) was replaced entirely with a more streamlined cross guard with a stepped muzzle ring. And so the bayonet designated as the pattern 1887 MkI Martini-Henry sword bayonet was born.
The 466mm single-edged blade has a flat spine and short single fuller. The blade terminates in a spear point and is double-edged for the last 160mm. The forte of the blade bears a worn, crowned VR cypher and the original manufacture year of 1886, below which is stamped the conversion date of 1891. The obverse bears the War Department WD and arrow, two Enfield inspection stamps, a bend test X and a struck out EM for Enfield-Martini. The spine is stamped with an Enfield inspection stamp.
The blade is in fantastic, near mint condition and retains its factory edge.
The steel cross guard with stepped muzzle ring has a pleasing pale patina with some darker speckling, as does the pommel. The press button and external spring catch are in good working order. The top of the pommel bears an Enfield inspection stamp and there are worn stamps to the grip spine and belly. The crosshatched leather grip scales are in good condition and secured by four rivets on one side and three rivets and the external spring screw on the other. The pommel is stamped with the issue number 6. A matching single number 6 is stamped on the scabbard throat.
The original black leather and steel mounted scabbard is in good condition. The leather is strong and supple and the stitching is intact and tight. The steel locket and chape have a pale patina with darker speckles. The locket and chape bear worn inspection stamps and the throat bears the number 6. The bayonet sheathes and draws smoothly and is held firmly within the scabbard.
This is an excellent example of a rare MkI pattern 1887 Martini-Henry bayonet.