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On a genuine 19 century sword grip there appears to be little dimples or goosebumps on them. Were as a good reproductions with leather grips do not. Question is in 19th century did they use a different type of leather for grips than they do today if so what type of leather was it ???
 

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It should be pointed out that Fish skin or shagreen was normally used on OFFICER swords. While enlisted men's swords came with leather wrapped grips.

There are exceptions to that rule.........but for the most part officer swords came with fish skin wrapped grips.
 

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As Panzerfaust44 quite rightly mentioned, the other ranks usually had leather, and therefore suffered a bit more abuse. So condition is a good place to start, on older swords, the leather is sometimes completely missing. Also, a knowledge of swords, is the sword an officers pattern, or an other ranks pattern?
Also, replacing leather on a grip is a process that requires the sword to be completely dismantled if it is to be done properly, so has the sword been disassembled? Is the workmanship good?
Knowledge of what is correct for the type of sword is the best way to start! Knowledge is key.
 
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