RARE EAGLE HEAD SWORD
Infantry Officer's Ca 1820
London Made Fire Blue Niter & Gold Gilt Blade
Presented is a very rare eagle head saber
made for the American Market with a magnificent pipe back, slightly curved, engraved blade finished in fire
blue niter and gilt with a signature style carved bone grip. The hilt and backstrap are made in brass covered with a silver
wash of which only a little remains. The sword has a cross guard of six diminishing size balls on each side with
two strands of silver chain extending from the lower guard to the eagle head. It mates to a fancy ferrule. The pommel
is fitted with a rare “Open Beak“ eagle in sharp detail with the tang coming through the top of
the head that flows directly into the backstrap. The scallop shell shaped langet is sculpted on both sides.
of blade 31 1/4" Width 1” Thickness 3/8" Length overall 37"
hilt is 5" Weight Saber 1 lb 6 1/2 oz Total weight 2 lbs
9 oz Bluing extends 21 1/4“
BLADE AND HILT: The 31 inch sword is unmarked, but the carved grip is typical of
some of the rarest swords imported by A.W. Spies and is believed to be one of the weapons that he brought to the U.S. when
he arrived in 1821. Because of the quality of the fire niter gilt blade, we think it might date slightly earlier since
after 1820-30 acid etched white blades began coming into favor. The following images are to show the similarity
of the carved grip with the signature scallop shell which is exactly the same for the bottom two swords and a close similarity
on the one on top which is marked A.W. Spies in a band on the obverse. The top and bottom swords were purchased by Norman
Flayderman from Phillip Medicus in 1956 and later sold to a museum from whom they were acquired. Their provenance cards
were removed for the pictures. A twin to the sword on the left is prominently listed in Peterson's, page 79, “The American
hilt on the right and the top sword are engraved A.W. Spies
Both sides of the eagle head hilt
On the obverse ricasso, the blade features two kettle drums, cannon barrel, shield, cannon barrel; then trumpet and two sided pike
with branch above, then gold gilt on niter blue. Then section of acid etched nickel branch of oak leafs. Then American
eagle with shield, arrows in right claw. Fig leafs to left. Over the eagle is a banner with E. Pluribus Unum. Then a section
of a white etched branch of oak leafs. There is gold gilt over blue niter foliage above and then bluing to finish.
This 190 year old blade is in excellent condition with only some minor areas of discoloration to point. The washer appears
to be original.
The obverse side of the blade showing fire niter bluing and gilt
On the reverse ricasso,
first a long ornate vine with leafs and a flower. Then a silver etched area with etched cannon barrel and wheel with
a spear to right and what may be a flag to left. In the next niter blue section a design featuring leaves then the face
of an American Eastern Seaboard Indian that is wearing a feathered headdress. Then an etched silver section and then
a gold gilt over a niter blue leaf design, and then more bluing to ending in swirls.
side of blade equally brilliant