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Ames M 1852 Naval Officers Sword One of Original 500

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M1852 Ames Naval Officer's Sword One of Original 500
 This Unique and Important Sword Has Been Sold. Thank you!

 U.S. NAVY OFFICER'S SWORD MODEL 1852 - One of Original 500
AMES MANUFACTURING Co.

The

The Ames M1852, 1st Issue sword is shown above a Horstmann Ca 1880 Sword with a 3/4 inch wide blade. This shows how the blade size decreased over the years. 
The Horstmann sword is also available for sale. Go:  http://landandseacollection.com/id1030.html

 

Presented is an example of the rarest of the rare, a M1852 sword that was made in 1852 by Ames Manufacturing Co., of Chicopee, Massachusetts. Without a scabbard, it is 34 3/4 long. This is a "must have" for any serious collection of naval swords.

The Navy issued its first and only order to Ames Manufacturing for 500 swords in April, 1852. These were delivered in full by January, 1853. After that, officers were required to buy their own swords, which holds true today using a slightly modified design that has a 5/8" blade. In 1852, the secretary of the Navy provided the following simple regulations. "For all officers - shall be a cut and thrust blade, not less than 26 inches long or more than 29 inches long; half basket hilt, grip white. Scabbards of black leather, mounting yellow gilt and all as per pattern" as in the illustration below.

Ames was the only original supplier of M 1852 swords. They were ordered in small numbers since there were only about 1,230 naval officers in service at that time, and fewer still until the start of the Civil War. Horstmann & Sons of Philadelphia helped supply swords which were slightly different than the regulations and had blades and hilts imported from Germany.

MARKINGS: The obverse ricasso is stamped 1852. The reverse ricasso is stamped with a P with R.B.P.H. under. This is the mark of the Navy inspector, CMDR. Robert B. Hitchcock. In addition, the obverse blade is engraved with Ames Mfg. Co. Chicopee, Mass. on three lines

M 1852 sword with the date 1852 on the obverse ricasso image

The reverse ricasso has the Navy inspectors marks on two lines image

                 1852 date on obverse ricasso and Navy inspector's stamp on versa

THE HILT: is 5 1/4 inches long ending in an engraved pommel with an end cap an eagle looking over its right shoulder surrounded by thirteen stars with the tang protruding though its chest. The number of stars agrees with the official 1852 design. The grip is wrapped in white fish skin having fifteen turns of double twisted wire. The half basket guard is per the pattern with forward facing sea serpent quillion flowing into a pierced guard with floral oak leaves, acorns and USN emblazoned on the obverse. The oak leafs and acorns repeated on the reverse. The lower hand guard terminates in an ornate sea serpent. It is slotted for a sword knot or portapee which is added when the sword is worn.  

Almost all of the heavy, bright and shiny gold wash remains. The fish skin wrap is in excellent condition and joins together at the bottom. 

M 1852 Obverse hilt image

M 1852 Reverse hilt image

          Obverse and reverse side of Ames M 1852 hilt showing the brilliant gold gilt

THE BLADE is 29 inches long by 1 7/64 inches wide. It is 5/16 inch thick on the spine. The primary fuller is 11/16 inch wide and runs 20 1/4 inches over which is centered a 1/8 inch wide fuller that runs 15 1/4 inches. It is tight in the hilt.

It's original polished and frosted design is now covered with an even, smooth, coat of medium grey patina of age on both sides except near the tip where some brightness exists. It is moderately sharp and has a good number of small nicks along the cutting edge indicating it may have been used in combat. Considering its age and service, it is in exceptional condition. There is a black leather washer which appears original.

 

Ames M 1852 versa blade detail near hilt image
Ames M 1852 sword blade reverse detail of center section image
 Ames M 1852 reverse sword blade's point image

 M 1852 acid etched design on reverse showing smooth grey finish

OBVERSE BLADE DESIGN: On the blade's obverse imprinted on three lines is, Ames Mfg. Co., Chicopee, Mass. Right above it is a a cross hatched triangle with leaves 2 3/4 inch long. Above that is an anchor with shield on the shank that is 1 7/8 inch long, then a 1 3/4" blank oval of thirty stars without name, and finally six crossed pikes with a pole with an unmarked flag  measuring 4 1/4 inches.
 

Ames M 1852 obverse blade detail near hilt image
Ames M 1852 obverse blade detail center section image
Ames M 1852 obverse blade detail of point image>
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           M 1852 acid etched design on obverse showing smooth grey finish

 

REVERSE BLADE DESIGN: The ricasso is marked with P with R.B.P.H. under. Next is a spread wing eagle perched on a ships cannonade with sun rays above measuring 3", and a simple fowled anchor of 2" with a 1 3/8" USN in a ribbon above. The design ends with a square knot with an acorn at the lower end and then a series of oak leaves with the three strand line passing through and ending with another acorn at the bitter end measuring 6 1/2".
 

Ames M 1852 guard's front image

Ames M 1852 rear of guard image

Front and rear view of Ames M 1852 cross guard

 
This is a rare example of a first issue M1852 Naval officer's sword from the most famous American maker. It is a special find.
The reverse side of the Ames M 1852 first issue sword image
Reverse side of Ames M 1852 sword dated 1852

PROVENANCE: Purchased in the ordinary course of business. Formerly owned by a collector in Tennessee.

THE SCABBARD: is missing. It would be about 30 inches long by 1 1/2 inches wide at the throat. The sea serpent on the drag should be mounted with the head on the side away from the rings as per the regulations. On the original M 1852 swords, the serpents had the design cast only on the obverse with the reverse blank.

 
 


The difference between the original Model 1852 sword design shown on the left, and that authorized today, is that in some, today, materials such as plastic instead of fish and ray skin, and lower quality metalwork are being used. Not so with this Ames M 1852 sword that conforms with the original specifications.  Over the years, the blade width has decreased as follows:

* From 1 1/8 inches to about 1 inch after 1872

* To about 3/4 inch in the later 19th Century,

* To 5/8 inch in today's Navy.

The regulation of 1852 had the eagle on the pommel facing right when viewed from behind. The use of the officer's sword was suspended on 15 October 1942 and was not authorized officially again until 1954. Source Naval Historical and Heritage Command. 

 SHIPPING & INSURED PACKING by FedEx Ground to the 48 contiguous States , $45.00

International buyers welcome, but inquire first. We have satisfied customers in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, Republic of China, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Estonia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Martinique, Mexico, New Hebrides (Vanuatu), New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Nova Scotia, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, St. Maarten, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USVI, Vanuatu (New Hebrides) and the Eastern Caribbean.

OUR UNCONDITIONAL NO NONSENSE GUARANTEE: If not completely satisfied with your purchase it may be returned within five days of receipt in its original packaging if without damage. Return items must be insured for their full value. Only a prior email authorization from us for the return is required. Shipping charges are included in this offer within the continental United States if an error is due to our fault. 

ACCEPTED FORMS OF PAYMENT are Bank wire transfer, cashier's check, or personal check in which case the item will be held until cleared. Our prices are quoted net to seller, but credit cards may be accepted through PayPal for verified members by special arrangement at an additional charge.

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