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AMES LIGHT CAVALRY SABRE DATED 1859 – AN EXCELLENT PRE-CIVIL WAR SPECIMEN:  A much sought after combination of date and maker, this 1859 dated Ames Light Cavalry Sabre, holds an important place in the lineage of US Cavalry Sabres, establishing the manufacture of these sabres prior to the onset of the Civil War.  Seldom offered due to the relatively few surviving specimens being carefully retained in private collections, these early dated Ames sabres are difficult to obtain. 

This sabre bears a full set of maker and inspector stamps.  The ricasso is stamped with a legible Ames maker stamp on one side and equally legible “US”, the inspector’s initials “JH” for Joseph Hannis and the “1859” date stamp on the other.  The brass guard is stamped “JH”, again, Hannis, and “WAT” for William A. Thornton on the pommel.  Of significant value, the scabbard drag also retains its inspector stamp, “D.F.M.” for Dexter F. Mosman, often worn away or obliterated on sabres of this vintage. 

The brass guard has a soft, old patina, showing no signs of polishing or heavy cleaning.  The guard is full form and is not misshapen due to wear or use, and the leather washer is present on the face of the guard.  The grip leather is original and overall smooth without flaking.  The leather is worn through to the wood grip on the crests of the ribs, and the exposed wood has an old patinated shine and blends in well with the black leather.  The original wire wrapping is present, tight, and complete. 

The blade is full form, the metal surface is overall bright, and the ricasso cross polishing is still present.  There is no severe pitting on the blade, only the scattered darkened speckling and light frosting of the metal that one expects to see on these early, well used blades as the steel ages.   The edge is clean with a few very minor nicks, as opposed to the heavier nicks and chips in the edges that are commonly seen on these early sabres that were exposed to the full duration of the War.

The scabbard is truly notable as it retains an overall bright finish to the metal – so many of these early scabbards have an aged brown finish.  The scabbard retains its full form without any severe dents – one small dent to the rear edge between the rings and three small dents lower on scabbard which are typical of any scabbard that was worn during the conflict.  The scabbard is complete with the throat and carrying rings, and a full form drag.  The metal is overall smooth and bright with only scattered darkening and no severe pitting.  As noted above, the scabbard drag retains a fully legible inspector’s stamp, more often than missing from these early scabbards.  

This is an excellent example of the very scarce pre-war dated Ames Light Cavalry sabres, far above the norm one encounters on the market today – if one is able to locate a pre-1860 dated specimen.  The condition of this sabre coupled with the historical significance of the date will provide the eventual owner with a great deal of pride in the ownership of such a piece through the years.  SOLD



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