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ANTIQUE U.S. EAGLE HEADED NAVAL OFFICERS SWORD
Presented in overall excellent untouched condition is a 29″
straight blade, famous eagle headed Naval Officer’s sword. It’s blued and gilded blade is in exceptional original
condition, and has an engraved flower motif. There is a fuller (blood drain) which runs almost 15
inches down its blade that becomes double edged from there to the point. There are no visible maker’s marks or a date
in its present form, but it clearly is representative of the 1812 – 1840 Period. The knuckle bow is Rocco with floral
designs. Harold L. Peterson dates this design in his book as Ca 1825-1840. (see below)
The brass hilt has an ornately embellished large sized counter guard with an upper
quilon. The counter guard has a reclining women with outstretched arm holding a caduceus, a horn of plenty with
a ship over. She sits to the right of an anchor which is below an American spread eagle with shield. The grip is of ivory
with cross hatching and is in perfect condition except for one small age crack.
The bluing and gilding is in exceptional original condition
CONDITION: The bluing, gliding and brass
work are 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 bend in its center halfway down. Overall, this sword is in exceptional
original condition with a nice patina.
Everything about the sword is exceptional.36 1/4″, with a scabbard of 32 3/4″.
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
This counter guard of this sword is similar to that pictured in the book,
“The American Sword, 1775-1945” by Harold L. Peterson, page 152, item 132. Dover Publications, 2003.
This is a very rare example of a eagle
headed sword with a published example
Fiercely proud eagle head pommel & large guard
side of ivory handle
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 36 1/4″ long overall. 32″
blade length. Max width of blade 3/4″ In scabbard 37 3/4″ Weight 2
up of engraved blade
Counter guard with American eagle, over anchor, women holding a caduceus, a horn of plenty, with
a ship over.
for its age an and years of use this is a first rate U.S. Naval sword from a historic period in our nation’s history.