This interesting Afghan sword resembles a Russian Model 1881 cavalry officer's shashka. It was acquired from the estate of a US State Department official, who was posted in Germany and Switzerland in the 1920s-1930s, and met with the exiled Afghan King Amanullah Khan, who allegedly gave him this sword as a gift. Blade is in excellent condition, with no rust or pitting. The etchings on the blade are very strong, and the sword itself is an elegant weapon, with a finely-done silver-washed hilt. Grip is wrapped in very soft leather and triple bound with silver wire. Blade is etched on the obverse side with the Mehrab and pulpit in octagon, symbolizing the Emirate of Afghanistan, dating the blade precisely to 1919-1921, the rule of Amanullah Khan, Amir al-Mumenin, Sarkar-i-Wala. The reverse side of the blade is etched with an Arabic or Persian inscription.
In 1922 the design of the Afghan Royal Crest changed, and in 1929 King Amadullah was ousted from Afghanistan, never to return. Blade is dated 1229 in Arabic numbers, which translates to 1812-1813 in Gregorian calendar. The story of the sword donation cannot be substantiated by documents, but I was able to locate several photos of Amanullah with the saber exactly like the one being offered. It is finely balanced, and the blade was period-sharpened, without intrusion of the cutting edges on the blade etching, and then polished to mirror-like shine. Blade is 84 cm long. Further deciphering of the blade inscriptions might unravel the mystery of the original owner.