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Thread: Id approx. period of this US Saber

  1. #1
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    Id approx. period of this US Saber

    Gentlemen,
    I have a pre Civil War Saber, and I would like our experts here try and give me their best guess of the time period.

    I think it might be about 1825-1830 but I may be a few years off and I would like an opinion of someone who knows alot more about swords than I do. The etching on the blade is the type that was done with decals rather than the early style dry needle etching. As can be seen in the photos the design is the acanthus leaf style.

    The reverse side of the blade has a group of 20 stars, I haven't gone to my books yet to see when we had 20 states, but I do know we only had 15 during the War of 1812.
    Also the hilt looks like it has some silver plating in spots, I am going to see if it will polish up.

    Is this a Dragoon Officers Saber? I know Artillery had Yellow mountings during this period, and Infantry also used white or if you will, silver.

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Roy
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  2. #2
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    Hi Roy

    I assume this was the one James Frey (smallsword) had listed a couple of weeks ago.

    20 stars as the sates go would be Mississippi in early 1817. Coincidence or just a cloud? We see 18 stars during the war years but flag wise that 18 actually later turns up as Louisiana with 11 stripes as a civil war secessionist vein. So anyway, I would not automatically assign the dating to the war years, or even Mississippi but it is a possibility on both counts (state and date). The etching looks a little later than the war but having been poked about etches somewhat earlier, I yield to the more familiar. The grip carving an earlier pattern than the later militia stuff.

    It is a great sword and it is great to see it in an extended family. Counting the stars on a small screen had me busy for some minutes. It is like the cats with extra toes and trying to count them

    Cheers

    Hotspur; I did save pictures and did almost bid on that one.
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  3. #3
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    Glen,
    I have had a couple of cats like that. Yes, this one came from Smallsword. I really don't have much money to spend on swords, but I have been selling items I no longer am interested in on ebay, and it helps to keep my account solvent so I can buy a toy now and then. I can't figure out about how people bid on items, some go reasonable, and some just go out of sight.
    Anyway I thought this saber was post War of 1812, but not yet into the Civil War, but possibly used during the period of the Mexican-American war. My earlier sabers for Officers all have the dry needle style of etching. I do not know when the decal style of etching came into use, but maybe someone out there does and can let me know.
    Thank you very much Glen for you quick imput and great comments.
    I still haven't heard from any one on the LHA saber with the cavalry length and style blade. I saw in Thielmans book he called it an Officers Mounted Artillery saber. But it does not have any of the normal things that would make it an officers saber,ie.,Fancy hilt, etched blade, or rayskin grip.
    Also on the saber above, what branch of service would you guess?
    Thanks for your help,
    Roy

  4. #4
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    Hi Roy

    It is hard to judge what branch of service might have been appropriate, as these were really all private purchase or presentation items. Brass hilts are often generally regarded as artillery or naval but senior officers of the navy were expected to show "white" fittings. Likewise infantry and cavalry. Similar swords are often listed as yeoman cavalry officer swords for the British use of them.

    As to the earliest use of this type of etching, there is no specific I know of but some have agreed as early as the late 1700s. In Mowbray's eagle pommel title, the swords of Bolton&Co. are reviewed and the very first example is a sword labeled to the 1805 time-line. At the same time, the needle etched blue&gilt are still being shown right along with sibling swords from the company. That sword's etching was regarded by Mowbray as innovative for its day. The longevity of sword patterns then comes into play as to how late that particular eagle form lasted. Some say as late as the 1820s, which might better explain the beginnings of the broad etching becoming more popular and in use. There was an example of this pattern listed recently and as an entire gallery probably belongs in a different thread but I will post some of those pictures that show the etching quite well and much better condition than the book example. You will see the etching on your blade has some very similar characteristics.

    On the auction side of the whys, it has seemed at times that the bidding makes no sense, low or high. Probably more than half of the swords in great condition are snapped up by resellers. They will be using their best loved sniping capability and the end winner will win within the very last second, even beating the Ebay proxy. Those programs will kick a buck, or whatever it takes before that last fraction of a second.

    Condition is everything to the reseller, so I was not too surprised this one went for a relatively fair street price, rather than a reseller that would take one such and at least double their "best price". Then there is just the momentum of an auction and I see what are basically parts swords being bid up to crazy levels. I'm talking swords you would pass by unless offered for a minimum. Even bare blades are fetching some crazy levels.

    I tend to be a bit of a lower level shopper myself, so it is the overlooked appealing to me that attract my attentions.

    So anyway, here is that etched blade and note the book example with an Indian motif might well label it as later than the 1812 war, yet labeled in an authoritative volume of the genre as 1805. I have blue&gilt examples on file of the same eagle decoration by Bolton that is strikingly the same.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; I need to recyle to support new additions myself but end up mostly accumulating
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    Last edited by Glen C.; 05-11-2012 at 06:29 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks again Glen,
    The only comment I would say, is that although many swords used the Indian Maiden, I would say this one is Lady Liberty, as she is holding a staff with a Liberty Cap on it. This also being used at the time, as an emblem of Liberty in France.
    I am going to sit down and learn how to use my digital camera a little better, and then do some decent photos of my swords with some high detail. If you are interested once I do the project in any of the photos, let me know and I can e-mail them to you. However it will be a while yet, as I have a few projects that have to be finished this summer before any new ones.
    Roy

  6. #6
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    and note the book example with an Indian motif might well label it as later than the 1812

    The book sword that mirrors the eagle pommel attached has an Indian motif and is listed as 1805, hence my questioning even the book notes as to dating, along with the longevity of sword patterns possibly putting both of those eagles post war.

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