OFFICER’S SADDLE HOLSTERS FOR ARMY OR NAVY REVOLVERS: MOLLUS MUSEUM

$1,250.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1052-20

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Call 717-334-0347,
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This pair of saddle holsters comes from the recently dispersed collections of the War Library and Museum in Philadelphia. Incorporated in 1888 by the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the veterans’ organization for Union officers, this was the repository for a world-class collection of artifacts housed since 1922 in a Philadelphia townhouse. The museum closed in 2008 and plans to get additional funding or partner with another institution fell through. Many of their holdings made their way to other museums, but others were recently sold at auction where we obtained an number of pieces with this great pedigree.

This is a complete set of officer’s saddle holsters, an elegant hold-over from the era when mounted troops were equipped with pairs of single-shot pistols carried not on the belt, but in holsters draped over the saddle pommel. By the Civil War “belt” revolvers had completely taken over, but saddle holsters continued to be used by mounted officers and were a regular element of the better sets of horse furniture. Pictured in the 1864 Schuyler, Hartley & Graham catalog, they also regularly appear in photographs of field grade, staff, and general officers. Even “Uncle Billy” Sherman is photographed on horseback with a set of saddle holsters in front of him.

The black leather holster bodies will accept either Colt Armies or Colt Navies, and are capped at the ends with brass cylinders. Each holster has a broad, hard-leather cover. These have latch tabs secured by elegant shield-shaped stitching and fasten over a brass stud mounted about half-way down the holster body. As is correct for this time period, the holsters do not have the small leather pouch under the flap that held tin tubes for paper cartridges for the older single shot pistols. The tops of the covers are half-moon shaped, flat and slightly sloping. The covers are hinged by stitching to the back of the holster bodies and the leather yoke joining them together.  The yoke has space between the holsters to allow them to drape over the pommel, and extends down the back of each holster, being sewn along the sides and provided with a tie-down strap and buckle on each side.

The set is solid and complete. The finish of the leather is excellent. We see some white speckling on one cover that is common on old leather from fats leaching out that can be cleaned off or will be reabsorbed. The stitches hinging the covers have pulled out slightly from handling over the years but are still in place. The brass has a nice, untouched patina. The latch tabs were reinforced at the fastening holes by a strip of leather glued to the inside- a fairly common and necessary repair. A museum inventory number in black ink appears on one of the brass caps.

This is a nice set of Civil War officer’s saddle holsters from a collection established by Union army officers themselves. It is a wonderful provenance.  [sr]

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