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    Description

    Absolutely Magnificent Quality, Extremely High Grade, British Lion Head Officer's Saber Presented to Major William Ross As Commander Of The "Loyal Cromarty Volunteers" in 1802. The 1 3/16" X 2 3/8" oval silver plaque inlaid on the reverse side of the one piece checkered ivory grip reads as follows, " GIFT / From the Non-Commifsioned Officers / & Privates of the LOYAL CROMARTY VOLUNTEERS / To / Walter Ross Esq. their MAJOR COMMANDANT in / Testimony of their esteem for him not only for his / Conduct as an Officer but for his attention in / other Respects to the Interests of the / TOWN of CROMARTY". The obverse side of the grip bears a similar size inlaid silver plaque entirely covered with the exquisitely engraved British Royal Arms. It is not inappropriate to state the the quality of the engraving exhibited on this entire sword and scabbard is among the finest we have ever seen.
    Very wide 29" curved blade with 3/8" ricasso and the wide shallow fuller extending to within 3 1/2" of the tip. The blade is elaborately etched for 2/3 its length. The obverse displays arms panoplies, and scroll and floral work, some of which is set upon a ribbed background. The whole of the etching is surrounded by an 1/8" wide border of floral work on a ribbed background. The center of the blade features a large oval panel engraved with intertwined script GR surmounted by a crown, and 2" below this another oval panel which is script engraved "Major / Walter Ross". The reverse of the blade exhibits very similar etching, however the upper oval panel is engraved with the British Royal Arms while the lower oval panel bears the makers logo engraved in script of "Mackintosh & Burnie / London". All engraving and etching was originally highlighted with gilt, 30% of which remains. The lower portion of the blade on both sides also incorporated fire blue panels, of which 30% remains on the reverse. The blade is generally smooth and gray with just some dark spots, some incorporating salt and peppering near the tip, along with a few tiny spots of very light pitting.
    The all brass hilt features a generally stirrup shaped knuckle bow which is faceted and fluted. The heavy cross guard displays a silver overlay in the center of drapery intertwined with arms, and on either side 3/4" silver triangles engraved with thistles surrounded by leaves. The cross guard is also faceted and terminates in a crown like finial. The knucklebow is slotted for a sword knot where it enters the pommel.
    The pommel is a massive lion's head, superbly detailed, with the deeply cast fur extending 1 1/2" down the back of the full backstrap. The backstrap is decorated on the lower portion with a 2 3/8" engraved leaf. The one piece ivory grip is decorated over its entirety with delicate round faced checkering. Very nice patina with just one chip at the very top on the obverse. The base of the grip mounts a decoratively fluted 3/8" brass ferrule. The silver overlaid decoration on the reverse of the cross guard is identical to the obverse, but one of the small triangular panels is missing. The hilt overall retains 98% of the original gold wash.
    The gilt brass mounts on the black leather scabbard are truly an example of the finest of the master engraver's art. The top mount, with a decorated silver ring mount and brass ring is 5 1/8". The upper portion an armor breast plate and skirt flanked by crossed flags and intertwined with an arms panoply with scrollwork at the top with a delicately engraved wreath at the bottom. The lower section of the mount is engraved with thistles with leaves inside a decoratively edged oval. There is further decorative engraving along the edge of the cutout on the bottom. The reverse of this mount exhibits a delicate leaf and wreath motif inside an oval panel composed decorative leaf like engraving. The lower portion is engraved with a large four petal floral rosette highlighted with line/leaf engraving. The recessed panel at the bottom also edged with decorative engraving.
    The 4 1/2" middle mount, with cutouts top and bottom edged with decorative engraving on both the obverse and reverse, also utilizes a decorated silver ring mount with brass ring. The upper portion is engraved with a sword and shield highlighted with a wreath in a decoratively engraved oval panel, with a similar oval panel on the lower section containing a thistle surrounded by leaves. The reverse of this mount has oval panels identical to those on the obverse. The top panel engraved with thistle and leaves and the lower panel with battle axe and lance intertwined with a wreath.
    The magnificent 11 1/2" lower mount with decoratively edged obverse and reverse cutouts. At the top is engraved with a section which features a large oval shield, the face of which is filled with leaves and rays. Extending from the shield is an arms panoply including a rudimentary representation of the British flag. The whole surrounded by a wreath. Below this is a large oval wreath of leaves with a thistle plant with two thistles on the inside. The bottom of this wreath attaches to a 3 3/4" length of scrollwork which terminates in an oval with a large floral rosette inside. The drag terminates in scrolls at each end and is decoratively engraved on both sides. The reverse of the lower mount includes a large four petaled floral rosette with rays in the center at the top, a 4 1/2" heart shaped panel composed of scrolls and leaves, and an intertwined scrollwork panel at the bottom with a thistle in the center.
    All mounts are about perfect with the lower mount just displaying some minor loss of the original gilding and two tiny, very shallow, and really negligible, dents. The upper two mounts retain 99% of the original gilt.
    The black leather scabbard is backstitched and very fine and sound, showing just some finish crazing and a few tiny scattered areas of flaking.
    The Loyal Cromarty Volunteers existed from 1795 to 1808. Beginning with around 100 men under the leadership of Major Ross, factor of the Cromarty Estate, the Volunteers' strength reached a peak of more than 300 as the threat of French invasion loomed.
    A truly magnificent British saber, directly related to the Napoleonic Wars, and, without question, one of the most exquisitely decorated and engraved sabers we've ever seen.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2012
    8th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,279

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