EXCAVATED MARTINGALE HEART

$795.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1184-138

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Martingale hearts are an interesting subcategory of military plates. O’Donnell and Campbell illustrate a variety dating from about 1812 to 1900 as Plates 419 to 438 in American Military Belt Plates. The heart was natural shape for the intersection of straps on a saddle’s breast strap and pretty much demanded ornamentation. Many plates were plain, like this one, and others carried eagles, charging dragoons, the letters U.S., a regimental number, initials of a militia unit, a state designation, etc. From 1851 to 1854 even saddle breast straps of enlisted U.S. dragoons were to carry them with a company letter and in 1857 a plain brass heart like this was mandated. Most will come from officer’s saddle furniture, regular army or militia, but militia had their own regulations and many likely made their way into the field on the mounts of well-heeled southern militia mounted companies.

This one was recovered in Orange, Virginia, and is constructed like a miliary belt plate with stamped brass shell and lead-solder filled back. Three narrow hooks are in place on the reverse for attachment, or removal for polishing, and there is a narrow raised rim on around the edge. The are some dings and one nick to the edge as shown and scratches to the face, but this has nice overall look and would add to a cavalry or horse equipment display. There is some debate here at the office about whether a set of initials is among the marks on the face. No harsh words have yet been exchanged.  [sr] [ph:L]

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