Portuguese Cavalry Trooper's Sword
Curved, single-fullered unsharpened sabre blade, leather washer, three-bar steel hilt with quillon and pierced thumb guard. Steel backstrap with large oval pommel cap and riveted ears over a wire-bound brown shagreen grip. Plain steel scabbard with single hanging ring.
One side of the quillon is stamped ‘AE’, and faintly, ‘F’. The AE mark stands for ‘Arsenal do Exercito’, the Army Arsenal of Portugal. Swords like this one were manufactured outside Portugal on contract for the Arsenal, principally by Reeves of Birmingham as well as German makers and Ballesteros of Madrid. The opposite side of the quillon is stamped ‘D63 2’, a serial or unit number. The scabbard is also stamped ‘AE’ and ‘G67
In form this sword is very close to the British 1821 Pattern Light Cavalry model – it is in fact a close copy of that successful design manufactured to cash in on the export market, a sort of off-brand cavalry sabre for those who couldn’t access the authentic 1821. The sword was still of good quality, although the scabbard metal is somewhat thin which may have been to cut costs.
The blade is particularly good, appearing unused. There is slight side-to-side movement to the hilt and a few small dings to the upper guard. There are a few dents to the scabbard, including a large one at the chape on one side, above what may be a period repair. The scabbard, like many of its type, was formed by curling a sheet into a cylinder and brazing the join together at the trailing edge: this is normally very strong but this scabbard’s brazing has short cracks in three places, perhaps due to the same knocks that formed the dents. I think this may support the hypothesis that corners were cut with the scabbards on these swords.