1840/41 PATTERN GENERAL OFFICER’S SWORD BY HORSTMANN

$2,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 870-346

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This is a scarce version of the 1840/41 pattern general officer’s sword by Horstmann in very good condition. This was formerly in the superb collection of Kevin Hoffman, who felt it was a very early production sword from its use of a fixed, down-turned reverse counterguard rather than the hinged guard and dated it 1840-1850. The pattern overlapped on the early side with the 1834 general officer’s sword and with later swords, like the 1850 staff and field and 1860 staff, which were sometimes carried by generals, but this remained the official general officer’s sword as codified in the regulations of 1841, 1851, and 1861. A number of Civil War generals were photographed with them, including Grant as brigadier general.

The hilt is gilt brass, cast and chased with floral elements around the urn-shaped pommel, which has a high, rounded capstan, and floral motifs again at the top and midpoint of the knuckleguard and the tip of the quillon. The grip is cast brass with simulated wire wrap that likely bore a thin silver wash, now gone, to fit the regulations for a silver grip. The rest of the hilt shows significant remnants of the heavy gilt finish, as does the elaborately engraved brass scabbard, which separates the sword from the 1840 foot officer’s swords with leather scabbards and staff officer swords with plainer metal scabbards. The scabbard is also fitted with a shield-shaped frog stud and two rings, rather than one, at the throat and a single ring lower down. (The use of a double-ring or single ring upper mount with or without frog stud seems to have varied quite a bit on generals’ swords but the use of elaborate engraving and better gilt finish seems to have been consistent.) The scabbard is plain on the reverse, and stamped “HORSTMANN” at the throat, along with what is likely the company pattern number, “1001.” The obverse is elaborately engraved below each sling ring with bands containing a diagonal chevron, from which long, narrow triangles extend up and down, which are edged with seven nicely rendered leaves. The same leaf bordered triangle appears in elongated form at the drag, which itself is a simple button. The frog stud has a raised, abstract floral design at center. The top and bottom edges of the scabbard body are beaded - a nice, extra-quality touch.

The blade is spadroon in form, with single central fuller and spear point. The metal is bright, with vivid etching. The flat back edge has an extended leafy vine. The obverse is etched with a palmette at bottom with “W.H.H.&S.” for William H. Horstmann and Sons in drypoint. This is matched on the reverse with “Philadelphia.” The obverse continues with an oval shield and stand of arms amidst floral motifs, followed by floral scrolls and an arrowhead-shaped leafy terminal. The reverse uses similar scrolls and floral motifs, but has second palmette above the city name in place of a shield in the stand of arms, but still shows furled banners on pikes amid the floral elements immediately above.

The sword is in very good condition. The blade has only a few age spots near the guard and is bright overall with great etching, and no nicks. The hilt and scabbard have 30 percent or better gilt finish remaining. Some of the high points of the scabbard engraving show rubbing, as does the upper and lower reverse of the scabbard from wear, but substantial gilt shows on more than just the recessed areas. The reverse counterguard shows rubbing along the upper half with more gilt on the lower half, which the owner angled in farther at some point to keep it from digging into his side.  [sr] [ph:m]

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