MINTY 1850 FOOT OFFICER’S SWORD BY JAMES P. FITCH WITH SCARCE GUTTA PERCHA GRIP

$3,450.00
Originally $3,850.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 870-639

Shipping: Determined by Method & Location of buyer

To Order:
Call 717-334-0347,
Fax 717-334-5016, or E-mail

James P. Fitch got his start in the military goods business with Schuyler, Hartley and Graham. He set up his own business as a retailer in New York City in September 1862. He was joined in the business by Howard Waldo in January 1863 and the firm changed names, giving us a very tight time-frame for this sword, which is prominently etched “James P. Fitch / New York” on the lower reverse of the blade just above the ricasso. This sword is in stellar condition and has a very scarce gutta percha grip.

The brass hilt follows the regulation pattern with open work floral scrolls in the guard. The brass has an even mustard patina with a few brown age spots on the top of the pommel and lower inside edge of the guard, but which retains some original gilt in recesses. The tang shows a little unevenness, someone might have tapped it long ago to keep it tight, but the sword has never been dismounted. The gutta percha grip is a grayish brown in tone and still has its twisted copper wire binding. The white leather pad at the blade shoulder is still in place on the underside of the guard.

The blade is about 31 inches long and bears a deep “Collins & Co. / Hartford/ Conn/ 1862” maker’s mark on the reverse ricasso. Collins, of course, is well known as a supplier of blades to various retailers. The Fitch company name is etched in a rectangular panel just above, which is placed within the section of the blade retaining its cross-polishing as well. A mirror bright section of the blade then leads up to the etched panel, which retains its frosting. The ends of the panel are frosted spearpoint leaves. Within the panel scrolling floral motifs lead to a broad block letter “thick/thin” U.S. The upper portion of the blade returns to its mirror finish.

The obverse of the blade shows the same mirror finish with cross-polishing at the base of the blade, a plain section, and then a frosted panel with spearpoint leaves and scrolls at each end, dominated by a central eagle with long outstretched wings perched on a leafy branch with a scroll underneath dry-point engraved in script “E Pluribus Unum.”

The scabbard is the regulation black leather body with brass mounts. The mounts are firmly in place, with no dents and show a mellow aged patina matching the hilt of the sword. There are losses to the thin black finish overall, which has flaked, but only in spots between the upper two mounts exposes any brown leather underneath.

This an extremely nice example of an early war officer’s saber with gutta percha grips. Even the example of a Fitch made 1850 with gutta percha grips pictured by Thillmann is in admittedly worn condition and bears a replaced scabbard.  [sr] [ph:L]

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