VERY RARE COPPER SCABBARD CONFEDERATE CAVALRY SABER BY FROELICH

$5,950.00

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Item Code: 1126-09

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Louis Froelich emigrated from Bavaria in early 1861 and settled in Wilmington, NC, where he produced a large assortment of sabers, sword bayonets, bayonets, pikes, knives, axes, accouterments and other vital military supplies, using the business names of the Confederate States Arms Factory and Confederate States Armory. He kept production going throughout the war, though having to move his operation from Wilmington to Kenansville (another label for his products,) and suffering from fires, federal cavalry raids, and numerous other difficulties.

One of the top two southern makers of cavalry sabers, he is thought to have supplied some 12,000 to Confederate cavalry. A number of variants are known. This saber uses a conventional pommel rather than a more typically Froelich flat pommel, does not use Roman numeral bench numbers, and uses a guard with the side branches coming of the knucklebow at the same point rather than different points. This is not included in McAden and Fonville’s book on Froelich, but the grip, blade and scabbard, though of copper, are dead-on Froelich in style. A similar pommel cap and branch arrangement, though a little beefier, can be seen on a Froelich saber sold by James Julia, Fall 2012, lot 2051, though with a conventional iron scabbard. It is clear from his production that quantity and uniformity did not go hand-in-hand.

The grip has been re-wrapped, but the wood core is the standard 1840 style used by Froelich with no swell and a slight curve and the black leather and single binding wire are correct for Froelich’s work. The blade is typically Kenansville, with a shallow unstopped fuller, showing no ricasso. The thin, black leather blade pad is still in place under the guard, though showing chips. The blade edge and point are very good. The metal is smooth and shows an even dull silver or light steel gray with thin gray spots for the most part, with some dark gray spots mostly toward the tip and heavier on the reverse than the obverse, but with no serious pitting.

The copper scabbard is extremely rare, given how valuable copper was for other wartime uses, but a few parallels are known. This one uses a typically Froelich brass throat with flat mouth riveted in place, as well as narrow brass ring bands and rings, with an iron drag. The scabbard body is made using a crudely lapped seam showing on the underside on the reverse revealing the solder. The scabbard seems to have been painted black, common on Kenansville pieces, and shows a pleasing mix of brownish-red and black, with a little richer copper tone revealed near the throat from handling.

The hilt has a nice untouched, aged patina and the blade is very good. The scabbard has a few small dents and dings. The mottled color of the toned copper and old black is rather pleasing. This is a scarce sword in its own right and with the original copper scabbard, exceedingly rare. It would be stand-out in any collection.  [sr] [ph:L]

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