EARLY WAR U.S. CAVALRY OFFICER’S SABER, 1840 STYLE, BY SMITH, CRANE AND COMPANY, NEW YORK, 1858 TO 1862

$4,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 870-263

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Smith, Crane and Company pieces are scarce. They were only in business from 1858 through 1862, retailing military goods in New York City. Their swords were imported, of German make and likely by Schnitzler and Kirschbaum, though not maker marked. They sold fewer than 500 enlisted pattern cavalry sabers to the government. This is a very nice example of their cavalry officer’s saber.

The sword is of good quality, in the robust 1840 pattern, with deeply cast floral motifs on the brass hilt, including leaves along the edge of the pommel cap, a geometric flower at the upper end of the knucklebow with overlapping leaves below, and more floral and geometric elements at the ends of the branches where they meet the guard. The inside of the quillon shows a symmetrical geometric and floral knot. The sharkskin grip wrap is in place, with nice deep gray color and surface nodes. The three-strand binding wire (twisted and coiled) is in place and tight. The brass has a mellow patina.

The blade is profusely etched with tight floral scrolls and military panoplies. The obverse shows a lattice work at bottom, over which is etched, “SMITH / CRANE & Co. / N.Y.” Above that is a series of floral scrolls and a military trophy consisting of a small cannon, drum, pikes and flags. The reverse has similar dense floral etching that brackets military trophies that include an oval shield with pikes and banners, and another with a U.S. shield, sword hilt, pikes and banners. The blade is bright and the etching is very visible on the muted silver gray frosted background. The blade bears only the etched company name and no blade maker mark. The omission of the mark is consistent with their enlisted sabers, also imported, which bear only the company name in a stamp that Thilmann believes was applied in this country.

The blade is in the bright above the etched panels, with good edge and point, and shows just slight freckling and some very small gray spots between the end of the fuller and the tip. The scabbard is likewise bright, with drag, bands, and screw-fastened throat in place. We see one small ding and just scattered small gray spots.

Smith, Crane & Co. were an off-shoot of the old Young, Smith and Company, so they had some experience in military goods. Two pieces of headgear with their marking are noted in Bazelon, including one of Sherman’s hats. The firm reorganized in February 1863, with only Crane remaining, who went into the diamond business. He seems to have been very successful, reemerging after the war as the financial backer of Shannon, Miller and Crane, who bought out much of Tiffany’s military stock. This sword is a nice early war example of the quality material they handled, in very good condition, and would look impressive in a collection of cavalry edged weapons or as part of a cavalry officer’s display.  [sr]

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