AMERICAN INFANTRY OFFICER’S SWORD CIRCA 1820 WITH EAGLE POMMEL, U.S. EAGLE LANGETS, AND SUPERB BLUE AND GILT BLADE

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Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 870-192

A very nice example of an eaglehead pommel saber with reverse-P guard and superbly decorated blue and gilt blade. The eagle head is nicely articulated and extends into a backstrap that meets a brass ferrule at the guard. The eagle’s feathers come down part way on his neck and the ferrule at the guard is cast with small floral motifs. The bone grip is rounded and grooved, and likely held a decorative wire that is now missing. The grip is good, white in color turning slightly cream color with a few brown spots. There is a little bit of chipping at upper edge where it meets the pommel indicating it may have been dropped at some point in its history and the blade tang shows some roughness, indicating it may have been tapped to tighten the assembly afterwards, but it obviously happened a long, long time ago.

The reverse langet is blank, but the obverse shows a deeply cast American eagle with a US shield on its breast, clutching an olive branch and arrows.

The blade is about 31.5 inches, curved, single edged, with a single, broad fuller. Each side has its original, vivid blue panel ending in flame-like floral scrolls and holding three engraved and gilt washed decorative motifs. The obverse has a trophy of arms featuring drum and trumpet at bottom, from which shoot up a furled flag, pennant on a lance, and a halberd, from the center of which a vine snakes upward and points toward the second element, appearing above. This mimics the first in a tangle of crossed polearms, one of bears a flag and the other a halberd head, along with floral elements. The uppermost device is purely floral. In all three cases the gilding is vivid and strongly set off by the blue background.

The reverse of the blade uses scrolling vines for the bottom and top gilded elements, reserving the martial element for the middle, where a spear with pennon is entwined with vines. As on the obverse, the gilt designs are strongly set off by the blue. On both sides there is just a little light rubbing to the blue along the raised edge inner edge of the fuller, but both sides preserve the gilt border lines along the edge and back of the blued panels where they fill the blade. Even the upper flat edge of the blade near the guard preserves much of its blue, which is usually an area of friction from the scabbard and often rubbed clean.

The edge and point of the blade are very good, with no nicks. The metal above the blue is generally a muted silver mixed with some slightly darker gray spots, but the overwhelming impression of the unsheathed blade is gained from the vivid blue and gilt decoration. The scabbard is brass, in good condition, with just a couple of negligible dings on the drag. The obverse is deeply engraved with floral sprays coming up from the drag and extending both up and down from the middle and upper ring bands. The bands themselves are decorated with a double row of paired small flowers, giving an almost braided impression, that wraps around both sides. The scabbard has traces of a silver wash, some faint signs of which are on the hilt, which would have indicated a weapon intended for service in the infantry or cavalry.

This is a nice sword with an impressive blade intended for the American market, likely by an English maker.  [sr]

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