welcome to antique militaria!
I have been a military antiques dealer (based at Grays Antique Market in London's West End until Christmas 2008) for over 45 years: antique swords, weapons, guns, uniforms, helmets, equipment, medals, belt buckles, bayonets and almost all other items of general militaria. British, German, European and worldwide items... I have provided all kinds of arms and armour and military collectibles to both private customers, trade and museum clientele all around the world!
featured antique military items
Forestry cutlass with by-knife, knot and ivory grip
This is the classic Forestry cutlass worn by senior Foresters (denoted by the ivory grip and the gold/green knot) across Europe from the early 18th century onwards. They continued in use through the Weimar era and Third Reich, only latterly losing the by-knife. Lower ranks wore cutlasses with a stag horn grip and a plain green knot.
This is almost certainly booty from the Omdurman campaign 1896-98, fought by the British to put the Khalifa el Mahdi out of business, as he had raised a jihad against them, based on his tribal levies from Sudan. The blade (36" long by 1.75" wide at the forte) is European and has been carefully sharpened for field service.
Mogul breast plate (approx 12 x 8")
This is the centre plate, protecting the breast, of a four-plate steel armour,constructed from crucible steel, certainly sword and arrow proof. The floral centre motif is a mid-17th century design of Mogul origin. This would have been worn with a pair of arm guards (Bazu band), a mail shirt and a steel helmet with mail aventail.
Enfield cutlass bayonet, model 1859, 2nd pattern
- British (German make - American contract)
This was introduced in 1859 for the Royal Navy to supply a need for a cutlass and a bayonet in one weapon for the naval rifle of the era, a .577 Enfield cap and ball weapon. This is an A & E Holler example - ie a Solingen blade. There are no UK ordnance marks, so this is almost certainly an American export item.
Foot Guards gorget, 1816 pattern
Regarding the regiment, the Grenadiers had a very specific gorget with multiple pierce work on both wings, the Scots Guards normally had '3rd Guards' engraved on both sides at the tips, therefore, by elimination, this is almost certainly a Coldstream Guards example. The Dighton watercolours of the period appear to confirm this.
US dragoon officer's sword, 1831 model
This is one of the rarest of the post-1812 War cavalry swords. The Federal army was microscopic at this time, perhaps only 30,000 strong, the numbers only gearing up for the Mexican War of 1848. The design is a direct copy of the British light cavalry sabre of the same era.
a little history on my antiques interest
I have been a collector of military antiques since the age of 12, starting with bayonets and moving gradually on to swords, finally entering the broader military antique dealing arena in about 1970. At that stage, I rapidly started to learn about antique English pistols and revolvers.
In about 1980, I broadened my dealing coverage from mainstream militaria to include English campaign medals. The arrival of powerful auction houses in this field drove me back to my original interest in general militaria (swords, bayonets, dirks, guns, pistols, etc).
However, I still maintain a lively interest in all military objects, especially the rare and exotic, eg Imperial Russian and Austrian.
Throughout my dealing career, I have built up my personal collection of antique military prints and drawings and a substantial selection of early military photographs up to 1945, principally German and English. To aid both my dealing and collecting, I have a huge library covering all military aspects of antiques going back to the Middle Ages, and many aspects of antiques in general, especially early English silver.