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MODEL 1906 AMES “IRON GUARD” LIGHT CAVALRY SABRE – VERY NICE SPECIMEN:  Based on available information, the Model 1906 “Iron Guard” Light Cavalry Sabre was the result of a cooperative effort between the U.S. Army Ordnance Department and the Ames Sword Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts to produce a sabre in response to the dwindling stocks of the brass guard Light Cavalry sabres.  As with so much other military equipment, the quantity of Light Cavalry Sabres produced during the Civil War was so great that the sabres held in inventory continued to supply the army’s needs until after the turn of the 20TH Century.    

After some discussion between the Ordnance Department and Ames, and various considerations taken into account regarding the metallurgy and design characteristics, a contract was let out to the Ames Sword Company for 20,000 sabres (in fact, Ames eventually delivered 18,961).  The design adhered to that of the Light Cavalry Sabre, however the guard was changed from brass to iron, and the space between the scabbard rings was reduced to improve the balance when the sabre was carried (see comparison photograph below).  As the final evolution of the Light Cavalry Sabre, the Model 1906 holds an important place in the lineage of US Cavalry Sabres, being the last curved blade sabre carried by the cavalry troopers.  

This specimen is in excellent condition with no damage or misshaping, very little sign of wear or use and features a very attractive blade.  The iron guard is full form, is not misshapen due to wear or use.  The surface of the guard is overall smooth with no pitting, and the original blued finish is still present on the majority of the surfaces, worn on only the high points, and has aged to an attractive even plum brown color.  The grip leather is original and overall smooth, showing minor wear through to the wooden core on a few of the ridges on the right side of the grip.  The original wire wrapping is present, still very tight, and complete.  The leather washer on the face of the guard is present. 

The pommel of the guard is stamped with a “C” – the significance of the “C” is unknown as it is larger than the font commonly used by inspectors, however I have noted this same single letter stamped in the same location on at least two other Model 1906 Sabres, so there is some consistently in the application of this stamp.  There is a unit inventory stamp “M 34” on the flat of the main branch of the guard next to the pommel, indicating this sabre was issued in Company M, inventory number 34.   

The blade is full form, the metal surface is overall bright, and the ricasso cross polishing is still present.  There are a scattering of light frosting on the length of the blade on both sides – small darkened spots, but no perceptible pitting, just an aging of the steel.  The edge is clean and smooth with no nicks.   

The ricasso is stamped with a legible Ames Sword Company maker’s stamp, the Ordnance “flaming bomb”, and the date, “1906” on one side, and “US” and the inspector’s initials “J.H.C.” on the other.    

The correct Model 1906 scabbard is full form without any dents, and is complete with the throat, the properly spaced carrying rings, and a full form drag.  One of the finest of the Model 1906 Scabbards I’ve handled, this scabbard still retains 99% of the original blued finish, with much of the blue color still discernable, the balance having turned a natural plum brown with age.  The metal is overall smooth and bright with light pitting on one side of the scabbard, the balance retaining a smooth clean finish. 

The period the Model 1906 Light Cavalry Sabres were issued involved considerable and strenuous campaign service along the Mexican Border and in the Philippine Islands – environments that were extremely harsh and consumed so much equipment.  That exposure, coupled with later poor storage and handling, left so many of the sabres that did survive in “NRA Embarrassing” condition with heavily pitted guards, blades and scabbards.  This is a very respectable and attractive example of the last Light Cavalry sabre and the condition of this specimen, coupled with the historical context of the waning days of the U.S. Cavalry, combine to make this sabre a very nice addition to your collection.  (1020)  $775



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