British 1796 Pattern Infantry Officer’s Sword

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An original British 1796 Pattern Infantry Officer's Sword.  Of typical form and with shell guard (folding guard missing) and wooden grip.  Blade is plain and with age wear.  Blade length is 32.5 inches (40 inches overall).

History of the Pattern

The 1796 Pattern was the mainstay of the British Infantry Officer for over 25 years.  Its obvious defects and fighting inadequacy were no doubt the cause of many unnecessary deaths amongst British officers.  Protection to the hand was minimal, and the blade was rather thin and flimsy.  Grip covering tends to be either silver twistwire, sheet silver (applied to give the appearance of twistwire) or copper wire.  Some blades were not decorated but left  plain but most feature blue and gilt decoration, including the royal coat of arms, "GR" (George III) cypher and stylised foliage, stands of arms, trophies etc.  Rarely do you find an officer's name etched to the blade.  Scabbards are normally found with leather and gilt brass mounts although occasionally, steel versions are encountered that would have been used in the field.  The leather and gilt brass scabbards were prone to damage whilst campaigning (and consequent poor storage over the years) and it is rare to find both sword and scabbard in fine condition.

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