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This sword was introduced, by regulation at any rate, as the 1796 pattern heavy cavalry officer's levee sword. The hilt design was taken from a commonly used continental type, principally Austrian and German, from the middle of the 18th century, and then married to the infantry officer's blade of 1796.
It has the correct back sword blade, as per the regulations, not the more commonly found double-edged palasch blade. The back of the blade is engraved 'J.J. Runkel Solingen'. The locket is engraved 'R. JOHNSTON // late // BLAND & FOSTER // Sword Cutler // & Belt Maker to his // MAJESTY // 68 // St. James's // Str. // LONDON'.
The shells of the guard retain virtually all their original gilding except on the edges, the gilt of the knuckle bow and the pommel is largely polished out, and the scabbard furniture retains only traces of the original gilding. The wiring of the grip is superb, consisting of a single bold twisted wire alternating with much finer twisted wire, all in sterling silver.
The blade (32.5" long) retains all its original shape. There are faint traces of blued and gilt finish on the side with the royal arms (post-1801 variety) and only the faintest glimpse on the other side. It sadly looks as though this has been seriously overcleaned at some stage. It has its original leather seating washer at the base of the blade. The blade, in my opinion, has never been out or replaced. The peening at the end of the tang has a nice dark look.
There is a modern , internal repair, made of a thin aluminium sleeve, securing the chape at the base of the scabbard to the leather body of the scabbard, from where it had broken off. This can barely be seen on the outside,but can be felt with the tip of the blade inside the scabbard.
This is perhaps one of the hardest of the pattern swords of the Napoleonic Wars to find. In all my years of dealing, this is only the second example I have had through my hands, the other one (with a steel scabbard) having been purchased by Richard Holmes, the well-known military historian.