SCARCE MODEL 1872 “NATIONAL ARMORY” CAVALRY OFFICER’S SABER

$900.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1047-102

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This lighter version of the 1860 pattern cavalry saber was adopted for cavalry officers in 1872 and spread to mounted officers of other services starting in 1878. Initial production at Springfield was slow, with only 106 produced from 1873 to 1876, and then a pause in production until 1880 when they were produced sporadically up through 1902, when the pattern was replaced by a universal officer’s sword for all services. Total production at Springfield was only 2,476 and their swords are difficult to find. Several different patterns of blade etching were used at Springfield and the simple, “National Armory” etching was one of three maker’s marks, but is regarded as “scarce” by Kellerstadt, and dated to the 1880s. It is interesting that even the one he illustrates is different from this (his being in an oval.)

The sword is of the standard configuration with brass hilt and nickel plated scabbard with brass mounts. The pommel is decorated with laurel leaves and a U.S. shield on its face with small crossed sabers underneath. The branches have cast floral designs and the interior of the counterguard has an American eagle with arrows and olive branch at the top and a row of stars around the lower edges, all on the background of a sunburst, which is repeated on the underside of the guard. The grip wrap is blackened leather, which is scarce on a Springfield saber, and is bound with the more usual twisted brass wire. The blade pad is in place on the underside of the guard.

The reverse of the blade is etched with “National / Armory” under a straight line of stars at the ricasso. Above that sits a drum with a stand of flags on spear-tipped staffs that blend with a series of floral scrolls and arabesque designs that are interrupted in the middle with a “U.S.” in old-English letters. The obverse uses a similar pattern of a military arms at the base with floral scrolls extending above, but interrupted by an American eagle with upraised wings, clutching arrows and olive branch with a scroll overhead. On both sides the etched panel terminates in an arabesque spearpoint. The blade is smooth, with no pitting or nicks, but is largely a steel gray with darker gray spots. The etching is subdued but very visible, however, with the bright etched motifs set off by the somewhat graying frosting.

The scabbard is nickel plated, which is standard for the model. The gilt brass ring mounts have cast floral designs echoing the branches of the hilt and the drag has a sunburst pattern mirroring decoration on the counterguard. The plating is subdued and intact. There are a couple of gray spots and little freckling around the edge of the drag, but no flaking.

This was a popular sword, lighter than its predecessors, but sturdier than the contemporary 1860/1872 staff and field. In addition to being eventually authorized for mounted officers in the U.S. army, it was often preferred by officers of the national guard. A number of manufacturers made them, but even those are usually found in terrible condition. This one is good. Springfield examples are scarce. And, this has an even scarcer pattern of blade etching. It would make a nice addition to a collection.   [sr]

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