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
Silver smallsword, Inspecteur aux Revues
This sword, dating from 1805-09, would have been carried by an Inspecteur aux (or 'des') Revues (the equivalent of Commissary in the British Army), responsible for pay, provisions (hence the ears of wheat on the guard and knuckle bow) and the depot system. Before this, they simply carried an ordinary infantry sword. The sword is rare.
Nicholas II naval dirk
This is the last, and possibly rarest, of the Russian naval dirks from the Imperial era. They were introduced sometime around the Crimean war, generally with rather longer blades and plain gilt brass fittings. This type continues with identical fittings, except that the pommel has the emperor's monogram embossed on it.
Plug bayonet, ivory hilt with silver piquet work
This is an officer's plug bayonet from the early years of George I. In extremis, the weapon could be mounted in the barrel of a musket, but would have been carried perhaps more as a symbol of rank. The ivory hilt has GR below a crown all inlaid in silver piquet work.
Foot Guards gorget, 1801 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.
Hunting hanger with tortoiseshell grip
The hilt could be Dutch or French, the use of tortoiseshell having been introduced to Europe in the late 17th century, probably through Dutch colonial connections. The mid 18th-century German blade (26" long) would have replaced an earlier, shorter, straight, double-edged blade (broken?), probably to enable the weapon's use as a naval hanger.
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.