SCARCE AND DESIRABLE AMES MODEL 1860 CAVALRY OFFICER’S SABER IN VERY GOOD CONDITION, EX- KEVIN HOFFMAN

$9,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 870-625

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This is a very good example of a very hard to find saber formerly in the collection of Kevin Hoffman and likely the same one shown on page 90 of Thillmann’s Civil War Cavalry and Artillery Sabers to illustrate Ames’s occasional use of wide-brass mounts on the scabbards of their cavalry officer’s sabers. Thillmann was effusive praising the quality of the Ames Model 1860 cavalry officer’s saber and emphatic about its rarity. “These 1860 cavalry officers’ sabers, while attractive in design and embellishment, are functional, well made and ready for use on the battlefield. They are well balanced, just as the enlisted versions and furthermore, they exhibit a sense of design and embellishment that is well proportioned and tastefully done.” He also  notes they are among the hardest to find of Ames’ post-1840 sabers, calling them “very rare,” “desirable in any condition,” and “a premium find for any sword collector, representing a major addition to even the most advanced collection.” This one also fits another of his judgements: that when they do show up, they “usually show field use, but the few available examples seem to have been well cared for.”

The hilt is very good. The pattern is regulation and typically Ames, with floral motifs on the exterior lower portions of the branches, the upper portion of the knuckleguard and lower edge of the pommel. The upper quillon has a relief cast finely detailed eagle in flight with outstretched wings and clutching arrows against a stippled ground, all in a sunken area conforming the guard contours with a narrow engraved line above. There is some rubbing to the high points of the eagle along the outstretched neck and leading edge of the right wing. The brass shows a medium aged patina mixed with thin orange-brown age stains that may be from an old lacquer.

There are no bends or breaks. The pommel shows no signs of repeening. The blade pad under the guard is gone. The sharkskin grip is very good, with nice color and little wear to the surface. The seam on the underside shows a slight age separation, which is typical. The two-strand wire binding is complete and in place. If there were two single edge wires in addition, there is no sign of them.

The blade is bright with some scattered thin gray stains, and a good edge and point. The etching visible though. as Thillmann notes, Ames etching on these was “lightly done.” The obverse has the three-line Ames Mfg. Co. / Chicopee / Mass.” etched address, above which floral scrolls extend to entwine a stand of arms that includes a U.S. shield and flag with stars in its canton. Above this is a typically Ames eagle with raised wings and a scroll/banner overhead with a dry-needle E Pluribus Unum inscription. The reverse uses similar floral elements along with a trophy of arms that includes flags and pikes, a trumpet, cannon barrel, etc., and a script U.S. above.

The scabbard is browned/blued, shading to plum, with wide plain brass ring mounts with raised borders top and bottom and ring bands cast with leaf decoration on the obverse. There is no throat. The drag has two narrow raised bands near its top, matching the edges of the ring mounts, some minor dents and dings, and some reddish-brown staining matching the hilt. The scabbard is one of three types noted by Thillmann as used by Ames on their cavalry officer’s sabers and is plainly meant to evoke the M1850 Staff and Field scabbard.

This is a scarce saber in very good condition that was formerly in the well-known collection of Kevin Hoffman and would make a fine addition a Civil War, cavalry, U.S. edged weapons, or even a specialized Ames collection.    [sr] [ph:L]

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