MINTY 1850 FOOT OFFICER’S SWORD BY HORSTMANN

$1,750.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1117-190

This is a very nice, fully regulation U.S. model 1850 foot officer’s sword by Horstmann of Philadelphia, one of the best known and largest suppliers of military goods during the Civil War. Adopted in 1850 for use by officers serving on foot, the vast majority of whom would be infantry lieutenants and captains, this was the sword carried in the front lines of battle throughout the war by officers who had to privately purchase their own uniforms, equipment, and weapons. The condition on this one would be hard to beat.

This follows the regulations in using a brass hilt with cast and chased leaf and floral decoration and open-work floral scrolls in the guard. The brass hilt and scabbard mounts are bright, carefully cleaned to preserve the gilt finish. Only a very few spots on the edge of the guard or pommel show the underlying brass. The sharkskin grip is excellent, with dark gray color, intact surface nodes, and a triple-wire binding that is in place and tight. The red fabric pad to seal the scabbard is in place on the underside of the guard. The scabbard is fully regulation as well, with black leather body and gilt brass mounts. The body shows some crazing to the finish and light wear, but is solid, with no breaks or bends, and has good color. The three brass scabbard mounts are in place, show a very few tiny age spots, but match the bright finish of the guard. Both carrying rings are present and the mounts are firmly in place.

The blade is impressive, with a mirror finish and vivid etching. The spine of the blade is etched “iron proof” near the guard, indicating it came from one of Horstmann’s German suppliers. Both sides have frosted panels ending with starburst pointed terminals. The obverse bears an etched panel above the short ricasso, reading, “W.H. / Horstmann / & Sons / Philadelphia.” Overhead a trophy of arms with drum, sword hilt, and musket barrel with bayonet are flanked by flags and topped by a floral scroll. An eagle with U.S. shield on its chest and raised wings floats above that, with the national motto E Pluribus Unum on a foliate banner scroll above, and the motifs conclude with more wide leaf and vine scrolls.

The reverse is etched with a fan rosette just above the ricasso, followed by a vine-entwined trophy of arms with a sword hilt and trumpet flanking a large U.S. shield, behind which a pike staff juts up with a long furled banner draping around it and down. Above that is a large block “U.S.” A second floral scroll entwined panoply of flags follows, and series of scrolling vines and leaves concludes the series.

The Horstmann company started as a maker of bullion cloth tape for dresses, carriages, military epaulets, etc., and expanded in the military business in the 1830s and 1840s. It imported most of its sword blades from German makers and after Widmann’s death in Philadelphia in 1848 absorbed his sword making operation through the purchase of his tools and machinery and the hiring of his former workmen.

This is a great example of the typical infantry officer’s sword, carried not only on dress parade, but in the field on campaign, and in action on the battlefield. The condition is excellent and it would be a great centerpiece for an officer’s display.  [sr]

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