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Thread: M.C Lilley & CO sword I.D help.

  1. #1
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    M.C Lilley & CO sword I.D help.








    I dont know much about this. From what i can gather from family members it was aquired during the ww1 or 2 era. It has ethching of the crusades on the blade and the marking near the handle says M.C Lilley & CO. So i beleive it is an earlier model because there isn't the word The before the companys name. On the revers side it says Schnitzer a&a Soligen. The name engraved on the blade is John Glass. It is extremely heavy for its size. Any help figuring out what it is would be great. Thanks again-Eric

  2. #2
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    Hi Eric,

    Welcome To Sword Forum International

    That's an interesting sword. It is likely mid to late 19th century and a high grade fraternal, or other, presentation grade sword. Some editing follows.

    I'm only finding the use of a bow in two fraternal sword crosses. Knights Of Friendship and Order Of Red Men. Here are a couple of Red Men pages (with good root pages behind them)

    http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masoni...sm/red_men.htm

    http://mill-valley.freemasonry.biz/marin_red_men.htm

    The crusader scene seems out of place for the Red Men.

    Glass is a Scottish name but the sword was no doubt cutlered (or at least sold) in the U.S. The Schnitzer and Soligen marks are the blade manufacture. It is quite possible the entire production was German. Lilley didn't start selling swords until 1865 and the mark would put it before 1923.

    If you can, a good picture of the crusader etching may be helpful. Try to use good indirect light and avoid a flash. A good closeup of the pommel and both sides of the guard may be telling as well. Some of the scabbard iconography certainly appears Masonic but I'm still studying what you show so far. Many other organizations used similar symbology. I'm looking through some other notes but that's my thought so far.

    Archers and bows are part of some rites, so it really depends on other indications
    as to what group the sword belonged to. What compounds the difficulty in some research is many individuals belonged to more than one organization (maybe just to get them out of the house more).

    Cheers

    Hotspur; Look for any other series of letters like OKF KOF ORM IORM etc, there are some good lists of these
    Last edited by Glen C.; 02-28-2006 at 01:53 PM.

  3. #3
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    thats the front side of the blade...

    I dont know how well you can make out the rear.



    thanks again for all our help.

  4. #4
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    This is an interesting fraternal or society sword, indeed. Another possible group it may have come from is any one of the many "Forester" orders. They also use the bow as a symbol (particularly the Ancient Order of Foresters, which still survives in England). The Red Men generally don't use a bow, but a tomahawk, club and bowie knife as their symbols.

    Most of the friendly societies/fraternal organization that sprung up in the 1800's are based, at least in part, on the Masonic fraternity (and usually because a number of Masons helped found them). So, it's not surprising to find Masonic or quasi-Masonic themes in their paraphenalia, however I'd venture that this sword is definately not Masonic. The bow as a symbol is unknown in Freemasonry. Additionally the pommel of almost every Masonic sword I've ever seen is a knight's head.

    As to the Crusades etching: the Foresters have their Robin Hood tradition (originally the Royal Order of Foresters) which is a Crusade era story.

    Note: I cannot say 'for sure' that this is Forester's paraphenalia, but I think that attribution is stronger than Red Men or Masons.

  5. #5
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    More stuff

    Oh, yes, the "MC Lilley & Co." (without THE at the start) stamp dates the blade between 1865 and 1882.

    Hey, here's something from: http://arms2armor.com/Swords/ioof1.htm

    "The most distinctive feature on the sword is the "tent-shaped" pommel with entrance flaps open. A chain is usually found as a knuckle-guard running from the bottom of the tent to a "chain-link on the cross-guard finial; both finials are in the likeness of three inter-locking chain-links. These three links as represent "The Three Link Fraternity" which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth. Also on the cross-guard appears the likeness of a pole-arm (on each quillon). The guard "shield" displays the "all-seeing eye that never blinks." On the reverse of the cross-guard is usually found the "Tablets of Moses" with the Roman numerals I though X (the Ten Commandments) displayed. The hilts are cast from a variety of metals, usually brass, and the grip is of wood, usually painted black enamel."

    The tent shaped pommel on your sword, with the addition of the Tablets of Moses on the sheath and the open tent behind some of the other sheath figures changes my attribution. This is probably an extremely fancy custom International Order of Odd Fellows sword.
    Last edited by Patrick Williams; 03-01-2006 at 06:13 AM.

  6. #6
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    Wow, thanks alot for all the responses. You guys are really good at what you do.

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    Any idea on what this would be worth to the right person?

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    I would hesitate to offer an estimate of value without verifying both the orginzation and researching the name.

    Try to find out a bit more about how the sword came to your family.

    Patrick has made some great observations but I don't necesarily come to the same conclusion. Without some letters in abreviation somewhere on the sword, I would not be quick to assign it to the Odd Fellows. Most fraternities that graduated to some sort of uniform rank used encampment , the Odd Fellows are perhaps best known for this. Something on the sword showing the three links would nail it to the Ood Fellows but without it, I would think not.

    I thought of the Foresters as well but the bow is wrong and Robin as a crusader is right out (imho). The unstrung bow is not the same as what is seen on some swords. There's a Knights of Frienship sword over at www.antiqueswords.com.

    Anyway, best guess on price would be somewhat above $500 usd. Have it professionally appraised if you are looking to insure it.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; definitely not a plain sword

  9. #9
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    Talking

    Thanks Glen.

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by E.Hall
    Thanks Glen.
    After reviewing another page

    http://members.aol.com/machood/frat.html

    I'm more inclined to agree with an Odd Fellow ID, as there are more hits on the symbology but the lack of three links still bugs me. Perhaps the implication of the links is still there in in the quillion terminus. I'd still love to see the blade better but you may find thm there (even repeated as many circles)

    Glad if my wag on a price is encouraging.
    It is just that. A good provenance on the original owner would be a great booster.

    The name clicks with me just a bit because my late stepmothers second deceased husband was Emil Glass from White Plains N.Y. (this lady outlived her third, my dad).

    Cheers

    Hotspur; chivalric archers have their places in several orders it seems

  11. #11
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    Funny, White Plains isn't too far off from where the sword was acquired(Livingston Manor) in sullivan county. We've lived in the upstate new york area/eastern PA all our lives. My grandfather is in his 80's now. Which is even stranger.

  12. #12
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    Bump.

  13. #13
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    Could you give me an example of what these three links would look like, so i can try and find them on the sword? Thanks for all the help.

  14. #14
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    Here's a quicky. Many variations on the theme. The Pheonix Masonry page I linked earlier also has a lot of images of artifacts and symbology

    The links could also manifest themselves as a border of circles.

    I had found a couple of articles with Odd Fellows named Glass

    This fellow was part of more than one group John W. Glass
    http://www.kancoll.org/books/cutler/...ry-co-p10.html

    Here is a guy named William Glass but he was born in N.Y. and his father was a John
    http://www.fresnorepublican.com/about_fre.html

    There is another John Glass that comes up on an Odd Fellows gravesite in Oregon.

    Cheers

    Hotspur; of course, there are a lot of folk with the surname

  15. #15
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    Yeah, the 1800's in the US were a hotbed of fraternalism. There were literally hundreds of fraternal, society and friendly associations that sprung up. Almost all of them borrowed something or other from freemasonry and many of them had swords. MC Lilley, along with Ames and Henderson were the big boys in fraternal regalia at the time.

    If you had the money, it would be easy to get any of the manufacturers to take parts and make whatever kind of sword you wanted, as well as cast new parts for your particular little group. It can be quite frustrating identifying what organization a sword came from just for those reasons.

    Keep in mind that my Odd Fellows attribution is just that, an attribution. This sword could be just about anything, including some small friendly society that maybe nobody remembers. Looking back at your pictures, I'd like to see close-ups of the engraving on the scabbard. That might give us some clues as well.

    As Glen has pointed out, the encampment metaphor is a widespread one. Knight's Templar (Masonic), Knights of the Maccabees, and Odd Fellows are only a few of the organizations that organized that way. The Moses with the Tablets symbol along with the tent with an open flap and the black enameled wooden hilt are what make me attribute this to Odd Fellows (most other groups would have gone for an ivory hilt in those days, or had a symbol inlaid in the hilt, if wooden). The lack of the linking rings is a big omission-that's THE symbol of the Odd Fellows and would be like an American patriotic group not displaying the flag or an eagle.

    All this being said, and until we can really identify where this sword came from, I think $500 is way too much. The collector's market for fraternal swords is rather odd, that way. However, Ames and MC Lilley generally do bring the premium prices and this example appears to be in extra fine condition for its age.

  16. #16
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    IOOF

    I have a IOOF sword from the Patriarch Militaria branch that doesen't have the three links either, but the main one to look for is the crossed shepards crook and the sword overlain with the crown. The IOOF used different swords, but they should all have that etching and should also have the PaxAutBellum. Hope this helps. Beautiful sword by the way.

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