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MODEL 1896 McCLELLAN CAVALRY SADDLE –VERY NICE SPANISH AMERICAN WAR ERA SPECIMEN:  This is a very nice example of the relatively scarce Spanish American War era Model 1896 McClellan Saddle, the last of the “black leather McClellans”.  Introduced on the eve of the War with Spain, the Model 1896 McClellan is readily associated by collectors with our first imperial war.  

Known to have been manufactured at the Rock Island and San Antonio Arsenals, as well as by at least one civilian contractor, the Model 1896 McClellans were produced in black leather for only some 6 or 7 years, at which point the army changed to using russet leather.  This relatively short production period coupled with hard service in tropical climates during the Spanish American War, accounts for a relatively low rate of survival of this saddle in collections today.   

This specimen, although showing the expected evidence of use, has survived in very nice condition.  The leather on the seat has some crazing, but is generally smooth with a nice shiny surface.  The seams are intact with the exception of a 1 ½” long section that has opened on the inside seam of the left sidebar which is not visible when the saddle is on display and does not effect the integrity of the seat.  The leather that covers the front and rear extensions of the sidebars that extend beyond the pommel and cantle respectively is smooth and intact.  The proper quarterstraps are all intact and unbroken, connecting at the full form safes on both sides.  All of the brass hardware to include the coat strap mortise plates, foot loops, staples and rings are present and intact.  The stirrups are both full form, have complete solid leather hoods, and full form unbroken wooden frames.  Although the stirrups show evidence of use, they both feature a legible “US” embossed on the front center.   

Overall this is a very nice and complete specimen of the Model 1896 McClellan Saddle, certainly one of the better examples I’ve seen offered on the recent market, and one that is seldom found in American Military saddle collections. $1,850



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