EXTREMELY SCARCE US INSPECTED AND 1861 DATED AMES 1850 STAFF AND FIELD OFFICER’S SWORD

$2,250.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1047-90

These swords are very hard to find, and this one has condition to boot. Only 59 were inspected, dated, and delivered in 1861 and the entire contract was cancelled shortly afterward as the government sought to redirect finances in the war effort. (Only an additional 119 were inspected, dated, and delivered under the contract in the first few months of 1862.) When the 1850 Staff and Field Sword was adopted, the Ordnance Department decided to ease the financial burden on officers of the regular army who would normally purchase their arms from commercial sources by directly contracting with Ames for 150, which were delivered in 1851 and 1852. Officers could in turn purchase them from the government at cost. This also benefitted officers stationed at remote posts, who would not be left searching for a source, and insured the quality of the swords, since they would now have to pass government inspectors. At the beginning of the Civil War the same procedure was initiated, but then reconsidered and cancelled due to the expense of the large number of swords that would be required in the rapidly expanding army.

This example is in very good condition. The brass hilt has an even, mellow tone to the pommel and guard with cutout US and floral work between the bars. The sharkskin grip has great color and shows the slightest of wear. The twisted brass wire binding is complete and tight. The reverse of the grip shows the very typical narrow gap along the grip seam. The brass mounted steel scabbard shows all of its original bluing and has no dents. The brass throat, ring mounts and drag have a mellow patina matching the hilt. The upper mount has the correct “Ames Mfg. Co. / Chicopee / Mass.” stamp on the reverse. As is correct for this pattern, the inspector’s initials appear only on the ricasso of the blade and not on the pommel of the sword or drag of the scabbard.

The blade pad is in place on the underside of the guard, and the ricasso has the correct double blade address: the reverse with the stamped Ames address in a scroll, and the obverse with the address etched just above the “U.S. / J.H. / 1861” acceptance, inspector and date stamp.  The blade is generally bright, with some gray areas on the obverse and gray spots near the tip on both sides, but has very bright and legible etching. The reverse shows floral scrolls leading up to a block “US,” which is characteristic of early-war etching of the sword, surmounted by a trophy of arms and more floral scrolls. The obverse has floral scrolls and the Ames’ style US eagle midway on the blade with an “E Pluribus Unum” ribbon overhead. The point and edges are very good, with no nicks or cleaning.

This sword is scarce to begin with, is associated with officers of the regular army, and has great color and condition. It would be quite an addition to a Civil War collection or even a specialized collection of Ames swords.  [sr]

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