PRE-1881 MODEL 1875 US MARINE CORPS OFFICER’S SABER BY AMES

$1,100.00 SOLD

Quantity Available: None

Item Code: 1047-76

The U.S. Marine Corps returned to it emblematic mameluke style officer’s sword in 1875, having adopted the army 1850 pattern in 1859. This example is etched on the reverse of the blade near the guard “Ames Mfg. Co.,” which was changed to “Ames Sword Company” in 1881, giving a narrow time frame. The blade is slightly curved and carries a single broad fuller for most of its length that divides into two narrow fullers, nicely strengthening it for a thrust, about 12 inches from the spearpoint tip. The blade is smooth metal with good edges and very slightly rounded tip. The blade is gray, but the etched motto “US MARINES” is visible on either side, as is the Ames Mfg. Co. address.

The sword is early and shows signs of real field use at a time when the U.S. was taking its place on the world stage and the navy and marines were its representatives abroad. The scabbard drag shows lots of wear the lower edge of the blade, showing it was worn on an officer’s belt a lot. The grip is a contemporary wood replacement for a damaged regulation ivory, exactly replicating the original configuration with down-turned pommel with ferrule for a sword knot and incorporating the guard with up-and-down pointed langet with median ridges and quillons with acorn ends. The grips consist of two panels joined by rivets through the blade tang with the seam concealed by the original brass strip. The wood shows brown now, but there are traces of white paint indicating the officer wanted to imitate closely the original. The only noticeable difference would have been the absence of star-embossed brass rivet heads, though perhaps he had fabricated substitutes for those also that are now missing. In any case, this is not a crude modern attempt at repair, but likely a contemporary, well-crafted necessary substitute when it was impossible for the owner to send the sword back to the maker.

The scabbard is the regulation pattern: nickel plated iron with narrow brass throat, rings and ring bands. The brass shoe-style drag has the raised rose blossom and leaves on either side of the blade. It has a dark patina and, as mentioned, wear to the lower edge. The ring bands and throat show a bit lighter from handling. The scabbard shows a few small dings, but only minute freckling. The guard has a nice aged patina.

This is a sword embodying a lot of history in its style, commemorating the role of the Marines in the Barbary Wars, its actual date of manufacture, and its signs of use in the field or aboard ship.  [sr] [ph:m]

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