Skip to content
ANTIQUE U.S. EAGLE HEADED SWORD
War of 1812
Presented in overall excellent untouched condition is a 29″
straight blade, famous eagle headed War of 1812 officer’s sword. It was acquired from the wife of the owner of the famous
“Lyni Collection”. It’s blade has an engraved flower motif surrounding a cartouche of cannon, drum, and flag. There
is a broad fuller (blood drain) which runs halfway down its blade that becomes double edged from there to the point.
The brass hilt has a stirrup-form hand-guard with an upper quilon with a slightly flared cross-guard. The langet
has a shield with the crest of the American eagle. The grip is of ivory with cross hatching and is in perfect
condition. Everything about the sword is exceptional with no looseness. The blade retains its original edge, and its
surface is smooth, untouched, with very little age spotting and an even patina. The companion brass scabbard
has some dents, but is otherwise in excellent condition. It is complete and also original with a floral shield beneath the
first ring and a pleasing patina. Overall length of the sword without scabbard is 33 3/4″, with
scabbard 36 1/2″.
This sword or one exactly like it is pictured in the book, “American Swords from the
Collection of Philip Medicus”, page 101, item 6-2, by Norman Flayderman and Sturart C. Mowbray, Andrew Mowbray Publishers,
This is a very rare example of a eagle
headed War of 1812 American sword with a solid provenance
CONDITION: There are no visible maker’s
marks or a date in its present form, but it clearly is representative of the 1812 Period. The brass work is in exceptionally
good condition. The ornate brass guard and handle is in perfect condition with no looseness. The blade is in excellent
condition with very little pitting and discoloration. It still has an edge and is smooth to the touch. The ivory
grip’s cross hatching is by hand, and is in excellent condition. The brass scabbard is complete with some dents
along its length and a small break at the front edge, halfway down. Overall, this sword is in original condition with
a nice patina.
Proud eagle head pommel & great seal
Detail of eagle head and cross hatching
HISTORY: America’s armed forces were increased in numbers around
1799 with the approach of the War of 1812 with England. It was in those years at the turn of the 19th century that the
eagle’s head in a style that was typically American in character first began to be used as the pommel of sword hilts
intended for the military. At the same time, the bird in its entirety, with or without the motto, “E. Pluribus Unum,” was
incorporated in the decoration of blades. After great deliberation and much discussion, the eagle was finally adopted
in 1782 as an appropriate national emblem. Shortly thereafter, it made its official début in the use of the Great Seal of
the United States, and on the coinage. Soon afterward this insignia made its appearance generally on military paraphernalia.
In the United States National Museum at Washington is an unusually interesting officer’s saber, undoubtedly of French manufacture,
having an eagle head pommel and blade decorated with spread eagle, motto, and the date 1783. This is without question one
of the first swords to be so designed and inscribed. Once the vogue for the eagle head pommel was established, it
remained in popularity in the Army for half a century. In the naval service it was much shorter lived, probably from
about 1832 into the 1840’s.
Most American Officer swords in the period from the end of the American Revolution to
the early 1820s were foreign made. The styles of the period dictated officer swords of fine quality, and the skills needed
to make them were in short supply in the young country. Nowhere in the United States could there be found the expertise to
make the fine decorated blades that were the fashion. There were silversmiths in America that could mount imported blades
and create swords of high quality, but their number were small and output was not high. In addition, the cutlers of Britain,
France, and Germany were so efficient that American cutlers had difficulty being financially competitive.
DIMENSIONS: Sword 33 3/4″ long overall. 29″
blade length. Max width of blade 7/8″ In scabbard 36 1/2″ Weight 2
for its age an and years of use this is a first rate U.S. Naval dirk from a historic period in our nation’s history.