SIGNIFICANT AMES 1860-DATED LIGHT CAVALRY SABER

$1,850.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 490-2637

This 1860-dated Ames light cavalry saber stands a very good chance of having been carried by a Virginia Confederate cavalryman. Of approximately 1,400 made that year and delivered to the U.S. government between mid-February and Jan 11, 1861, 1,200 (particularly from among those made from March to September 1860) were forwarded to Virginia at the direction of U.S. Secretary of War, and native Virginian, John B. Floyd. By his direction, they were inspected by U.S. government inspectors, with the state reimbursing the cost.

This is a very good example with full leather wrap and wire binding in place on the grip, a nice patina to the brass, blade pad in place, and blade with sharp markings, smooth metal, good edge and tip, and a mix of muted silver with some dark gray spots, but no pitting. The brass hilt has a nice untouched, mellow patina, no bends or breaks, and is tight. The pommel has an undisturbed peen to the blade tang, and clear block “J.H.” and script “W.A.T.” inspector stamps. The grip is very good and has its original complete leather wrap and wire binding. The leather shows some very minor wear to the finish just below the pommel, but no unpleasant flaking or exposed wood. The wire is tight.

The blade pad is in place under the guard and the blade shows smooth metal, largely bright with some scattered gray spots. The point and edge are good. The reverse ricasso has the Ames three-line block letter stamp reading: “AMES MFG.CO. / CHICOPEE / MASS.” The obverse is correctly stamped “US / G.G.S. / 1860,” since even those going to Virginia were examined and marked by U.S. inspectors. The scabbard is in good condition with throat, ring bands, rings, and drag in place. It is brown overall, generally smooth, but with some crustiness on the drag obscuring any inspector stamp. The upper ring band loop shows some nice wear from the sling ring, indicating the saber spent a long time suspended at a trooper’s side.

As mentioned above, and noted by Thillmann and others, the U.S. government inspection and acceptance markings are correct for these sabers, even those transferred to Virginia. We have seen these 1860 dated sabers marked by Ames with both the 3-line block style and the banner style address.

This is an interesting and historic sword, its pre-war date tying in with the secession crisis of 1860, and one that was obviously issued and saw service, but survives in good condition nevertheless. This would make a great addition to a cavalry, edged weapons, or purely Ames collection. With the strong potential for Virginia and Confederate use it would also fit in with a Confederate cavalry display. Secretary of War Floyd was a native Virginian and, given such arms transfers on the brink of war, later thought it might be best not to be taken prisoner at the surrender of Fort Donelson. See Thillmann, Cav. and Art. Sabers, 80-81, for details on these significant sabers.  [sr] [ph:L]

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