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LARGE BLACK LEATHER SADDLE VALISE – ca. 1850-1865 – AN EXCELLENT ATTRACTIVE SPECIMEN APPROPRIATE FOR DISPLAY WITH ANY 19TH CENTURY AMERICAN MILITARY OFFICERS’ SADDLE:  This Saddle Valise presents in excellent condition, having defied the passage of time, the turbulent years of the mid-19TH century which consumed so much of the early horse equipment through hard use, and the neglect and poor storage in the years that followed which eventually destroyed what little remained.

This valise has all the appearances of those associated with the antebellum era, and is certainly of the style carried by US military officers as early as the War of 1812 and through the mid-19TH Century across the border and along the Santa Fe Trail during the Mexican War period, and this enduring style would be very appropriate to complete a Civil War Officer’s Saddle – both Union and Confederate.  While not a regulation army pattern, this valise would have appealed to officers who, of course, were required to purchase their own horse equipment, and to those enlisted men who could afford to add to their issued equipment or brought this sort of equipment from home. 

This valise has survived in excellent condition - directly attributable to the maker - as this piece was as well made as any piece of expensive luggage and was likely the top of the line at the time it was made.  Constructed of heavy bridle leather, the interior is divided into three separate compartments by two leather panels which run the length of the valise, with an additional small pocket with a flap for securing small necessaries.  The two leather panels are secured with a series of brass finials - one set on the front and one on the back - and all of these finials are present.

Measuring 25“long, 8” high, and 2 ˝” wide, this is one of the larger valises that I have handled.  The body, interior dividers, ends and straps are fashioned from substantial weight leather that is still very supple.  The leather surfaces are still bright with a shiny finish, with no crazing or flaking.  The valise is very solid with no rot or deterioration, all of the seams are intact, and the shape holds it form without any need for support.  The three closing straps on the outer flap with their matching brass wire buckles, and the two heavier straps with matching buckles for attaching the valise to the saddle are all present, intact, and full length.  There is a longer exterior strap set at the center of the valise that is in line with the center flap buckle, and it may have been intended to be used for securing a rain cloak or something similar.  The end pieces are both present and intact and feature “ears” which fold under the outer flap to secure the contents.

Valises of this vintage simply did not survive in any appreciable numbers and finding one this size and in this remarkable condition is unusual.  This exceptionally nice valise would display quite nicely with any US military saddle collection, especially mounted on the cantle of a Ringgold or Grimsley Saddle, or any one of the many saddles used by Civil War Officers.  SOLD


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