RARE EAGLE HEAD SWORD
Infantry Officer’s Ca 1820London
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. DIMENSIONS:
Length 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“ THE 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 Sword“.
hilt on the right and the top sword are engraved A.W. Spies
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 THE
SCABBARD: Is silver finished brass with 3 suspension rings and a trimmed drag.There are only traces of
the original silver wash remaining. Both sides are without dents. There is a tiny vertical crack
just below the throat, and light scratches and handling marks overall.
Scabbard in near perfect condition, but only remnants of a silver wash