Italian Model 1888 WW1 or WW2 Army Officer’s Sword
Straight, flexible pipeback blade with etching including foliate, flaming bomb and stand of arms motifs and the coat of arms of the royal House of Savoy. Steel bowl hilt with pierced openings, cross-hatched steel backstrap. All metal parts including blade nickel plated. Black-painted wood grip with scalloped finger grooves, red leather washer, steel scabbard with brown leather field cover including frog loop.
The Model 1888 Sabre was introduced in December 1887 and officially adopted in January the following year. The design was initially laid down earlier in 1887 as a new sabre purely for colonial service with the officers of the African Special Corps, but the Ministry of War saw potential benefit in standardising swords across the whole army and extended it to be carried by all officers.
This sabre was therefore carried by Italian army officers serving during the rest of the 'Belle Epoque' period (1880 to 1914). The earliest version's hilt had three narrow bars but these were broadened over time - this example has the late form of a solid bowl hilt with two openings suggestive of the old hilt bars instead - presumably to offer better hand protection.
Some of the black paint has worn away from the grip and there have been some minor losses to the nickel plating in areas of high wear: principally on the inside of the hilt and on the spine & very tip of the blade. The leather scabbard has minor scuffing consistent with use. Being of quite light construction these swords were easily damaged, this one has survived well.