CIVIL WAR VETERAN GOLD PAINTED CAVALRY SABER

$295.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 490-2205

Painting military items gold was popular in displaying them in G.A.R. halls and the home. The fiftieth anniversary of the war might explain it, but much was likely done earlier simply to make them decorative and more of a memorial of service. (We have seen it done not only to weapons, but to lowly items of mess gear like cups and canteens.) This saber shows lots of thin gold paint remaining on the scabbard with the underlying black and brown showing high points subject to rubbing and at wear spots and scratches. The blade was left alone and shows a light gray with some darker gray spots and a few brown spots near the tip. The edge and point are in good shape. The iron hilt shows mostly black with only a few spots of paint and may have been left that way, but the grip still shows a good amount, mostly on the exposed cord wrapping of the wood core, indicating the leather had largely deteriorated and the wire was missing by the time it was applied.

This was likely a relic picked up by a soldier and brought home as a souvenir. In form it is a British 1821 light cavalry saber, unmarked, but likely by a German maker and imported here for militia use. Some came in at the beginning of the war and were even used to fill out government contracts: Tiffany is the best known example. But, there were a variety of makers: Luneschloss and S & K, for example. Other countries picked up the style and German sword makers were always quick to cut into British market share. Thillmann shows a German made example marketed by Horstmann that is likely a prewar import for militia use. They were an improvement upon earlier patterns in offering a somewhat straighter blade better adapted for a thrust as well as cut and better protection for the hand. This one does not have the reverse side ring to protect the thumb and the blade with stopped fuller uses a hatchet point tip, perhaps indicating an early version or simply a variation. The scabbard is typical of German manufacture with a separate throat, now missing, attached with screws at the narrow edges of the scabbard, ring bands that are very squared off, and a narrow, rather rudimentary drag.

This displays nicely as war relic typical of those displayed by veterans and their families. It could fit in a cavalry display, perhaps even southern, but we like it as a veterans’ piece and would certainly not disturb the paint. We have left in place a chain connecting the sling rings once used to hang it up.  [sr] [ph:L]

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