NATHAN STARR US NAVAL CUTLASS WITH RACK NUMBER

$2,150.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 597-15

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Starr contracted for 2,000 of these cutlasses 21 August 1826 and delivered them by June 1827, when they were inspected by Elisha Tobey. Scabbards were apparently specified after the signing of the contract but were delivered with the cutlasses and the final cost adjusted to include them. The blade is 25 ¼ inches long, 1 3/8 inches wide at the guard, and with a narrow fuller running out from the guard to within about 7 inches of the tip. The obverse blade near the guard is stamped, lengthwise, but upside down, “ET” over “US“ with “N STARR” faint, likely from years of polishing by idle hands put to work to keep them out of trouble. Two small letters, either “KK” or “RR” are stamped on the reverse blade near the guard, which we take to be a blade inspection mark or perhaps the individual worker since the “ET” would be the final U.S. inspection mark of Tobey. The blade has a good edge and point, smooth metal, and a mix of gray and dark gray.

The grip is a ribbed maple with an iron ferrule at the guard and pommel. The raised ribs have been worn down by handling that has given the wood a very pleasing patina, but there is lengthwise split on the obverse running from the pommel to just short of the guard. More wood is missing near the pommel than near the guard and the ferrule just the below the pommel has a crack and is missing a small piece, so we expect it was dropped at some point, landing on the pommel, which shows an old solder repair. The iron cup hilt is the standard form for the Starr 1826, being sheet iron, slightly convex, but with the edge turned outward. The iron has typical light pitting from exposure to sea air and some handling marks, but no dents or edge damage.

The iron scabbard is in very good condition, brown in color with overall salt-and-pepper shallow pitting (“freckling” as some of our more euphemistic friends call it,) but nothing unexpected on a naval weapon or unattractive. The scabbard is solid, no holes or dents. The round frog stud or button on its post with diamond shaped base is present, as is the narrow drag, and the internal retention springs are in place on either side of scalloped mouth of the scabbard. One of the most attractive features of the cutlass is a brass diamond shaped brass plaque on the guard with the engraved rack number “1 C / 1” indicating its assigned location or gun crew on the ship. Rack numbers on cutlasses are not uncommon, but they are nice indicator of use at sea and the brass plaque was likely a bit of extra expense on the part of a captain or ship’s fund.  [sr][ph:L]

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