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CIVIL WAR CAVALRY OFFICERS LIGHT CAVALRY SABRE – BEAUTIFULLY ETCHED BLADE AND FINE ENGRAVED FITTINGS ON THE SCABBARD – A VERY IMPRESSIVE SPECIMEN:  This Civil War Cavalry Officers Light Cavalry Sabre with it’s beautifully etched blade and finely engraved scabbard fittings is destined to be the centerpiece of your cavalry sabre collection.  At best, Cavalry Officer’s sabres of this quality have always been difficult to find offered on the market for they were simply not produced in great quantity.  One estimate determined that one of the largest manufacturers of cavalry sabres, the Ames Company, manufactured only 338 Cavalry Officers sabres, a mere 4/10ths of one percent of their total cavalry sabre production.  In addition, not all Cavalry Officers sabres were embellished to the degree present on this specimen.  Cost, personal finances, and availability all served to limit many of the officers’ sabres to plain, unadorned scabbards, blades with very simple etching or no etching at all, and little decoration on the guard.   

This particular sabre was featured, and pictured in photographs, in an article written by Stephen Dorsey in a 1992 issue of Gun Report magazine entitled "Variations of The Civil War Cavalry Officers' Sabres".  Although this sabre is unmarked, the features including the style of the fittings and the pattern of the decorations, reinforce it’s identification as being made by Henry Sauerbier of Newark, New Jersey. 

The unmarked blade is consistent with Sauerbier’s sabres.  The Phyrgian cap pommel, the three branches of the guard and the quillon all feature the cast decorations of acanthus leaves and berries and/or oak leaves and acorns.  The decoration on the quillon is further enhanced with hand applied chasings to emphasize the relief of the leaves.  The guard is full form with no damage and the branches maintain their original curve.  The classic light cavalry sabre grip with the swelled belly is covered in black leather secured with a three strand-twisted center wire wrapping.  The leather is overall smooth showing no wear or flaking and the wire is tight in the grooves of the grip.  The blade is full length, features an unstopped fuller, again consistent with Sauerbier sabres, and is finely etched on both sides with a variety of floral and military motif patterns.  The obverse (right) side of the blade is etched over half the length of the blade beginning at the guard with a floral pattern, then a stand of arms surmounted by an American Flag, then a spread winged Federal eagle over a banner, terminating in more floral work.  The reverse (left) side of the blade is likewise etched for over half the length of the blade, beginning at the guard with floral patterns, then a classic figure of an armored soldier, then a bold “US”, a Roman short sword, and finishing in more floral patterns.  The etchings are all clear and legible, however they are almost impossible to photograph and capture the etched images due to the glare from the blade.  The blade has a flat back, unstopped fuller and is unsharpened with a smooth edge with only one minor nick, terminating in the original shape of the point.  The blade is overall bright with only scattered minor darkening on the last four inches of the blade.  The steel scabbard is very attractive with a smooth, even blued surface with a nice mottled, aged finish.  The brass throat is decorated on both sides with a deeply engraved leaf pattern.  The broad bands under the ring mounts are consistent with those used on known Sauerbier scabbards and make a dramatic presentation on this scabbard, engraved with a leaf pattern overall, with a stand of arms behind a federal shield on the top portion of the upper band.  The ring mounts have the cast leaf decoration on both sides and both rings are intact and retain their shape.  The scabbard body is full form with no dents and a complete, intact seam.  The drag is one of the more decorative styles used by Sauerbier with the oak leaf and acorn decoration on both sides.   

This Cavalry Officer’s Sabre is an elegant piece and it will provide the owner with a great sense of pride in ownership.  These heavily decorated sabres seldom see the light of day, quietly passing from one collection to the next with few opportunities to acquire one.  $4,950

 

 
 

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