1851 PATTERN U.S. OFFICER’S SWORD BELT PLATE

$295.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 31-1604

The rectangular sword belt plate bearing the Arms of the United States was introduced in 1851 as the regulation buckle for officers and for enlisted men armed with swords. The central motif is an eagle with American shield on its chest, clutching arrows and olive branch, surrounded by stars overhead and wreath below, along with a ribbon flowing from its beak emblazoned with the motto E Pluribus Unum. Enlisted men were issued their plates; officers had to purchase their own. Before the war the number was limited, but with the expansion of the army in 1861 many manufacturers made them and there is a variety of die strikes. The common element is that the officers’ plates tend to be higher quality than the enlisted versions. The issue plates made do with a nickel silver applied wreath. Commercially produced plates for officers usually featured a silver wash for a wreath cast integrally with the plate and often silver washes for the stars over the eagle as well.

Reverse bench-mark “393”. Standard spread-eagle plate with bright gilt. Completely symmetrical, with solid belt hook. Reverse slightly tarnished. Else VG plus & highly attractive. Solid collectible.  [jp]

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