SCARCE 1858 DATED AMES M1860 LIGHT CAVALRY SABER

$1,800.00

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Item Code: 766-1612

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1858 was the first year Ames dated his new pattern cavalry sabers that collectors still refer to as the “Model 1860,” though he was in talks with U.S. Ordnance about a new pattern cavalry saber in late 1856 and first deliveries, numbering 1,000, were made in 1857. It was not until production began on a second contract, for 800 sabers, signed in April, that the company began dating the blades. Delivery was completed in October, but a few 1858 dated blades may have made their way onto swords made on a November 1858 contract for 1,000, which were delivered in March and April 1859.

The leather wrap and wire on the grip are original, though the leather shows wear though to the wood, which is polished from handling over the years and shows a small chip and hairline near the pommel. The brass hilt has a mellow, medium patina. The pommel shows some flattening and the blade tang, though showing a smooth peen, is slightly recessed indicating it was likely tightened at some point. There are four small notches cut on the upper inside of the knucklebow near the pommel, and a group of small dings on the upper face of the guard, perhaps the result of a cavalryman’s idle time in camp. The brim of the pommel cap shows the “WAT” and “JH” inspector initials of William A. Thornton and John Hannis.

Hannis’s initials are also crisply marked on the obverse ricasso of the blade, showing US acceptance and the date: : “US / JH / 1858.” The reverse shows the correct three-line block letter maker stamp: “AMES MFG CO / CHICOPPEE / MASS.

The blade pad is in place and the blade is a nice even silver gray overall, smooth metal overall, with some darker gray area and some scratches along the lower portion from an attempt to sharpen it, but no significant nicks.

The scabbard is complete and matches in condition, being smooth metal and a mix of gray and brown, with carrying rings, drag and throat in place. The inspector’s initials on the drag are partially rubbed, but seem to be “JH,” also. In any case, the funnel-shaped throat suggests this is an 1859-style replacement scabbard, introduced about June 1859, after the second delivery of the November 1858 contract, using heavier steel for the scabbard body and changing the earlier flat-top throat to the funnel shape.

This is a scarce, early Ames light cavalry saber. 1858-dated examples are hard to find and a rare in any collection since they would have seen service in the early Indian Wars and throughout the Civil War. The wear to the grip has real character, is not unsightly, and is a nice indicator of a real veteran.    [sr] [ph:L]

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