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PATTERN 1903 ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL OFFICER’S BOX SPURS – RARE EARLY 20TH CENTURY  - EXCELLENT MATCHED PAIR COMPLETE WITH HEEL BOXESAs described in The American Military Spur, by Dorsey on pages 74 -75, the Pattern 1903 Officers Box Spurs were produced by the Ordnance Department specifically for mounted officers at the famous Rock Island Arsenal.   

One of the least-known of the US military spurs, these nickel plated steel spurs were beautifully finished with a high polish and false rowels, made without serrations which would have snagged on the cuffs of the officers’ trousers.  The spurs were designed to lock into matched nickel plated steel holders, or “boxes”, which in turn were permanently mounted into the heels of the officer’s boots.  To mount the spurs, the square shaft inside the yoke of each spur was inserted into the spring loaded box through a hinged door.  When the spur was fully seated, it snapped into place, held by an internal spring in the box.  To remove the spur, it was pulled sharply back from the heel and the box spring released the spur.  As the spur shank cleared the box, the hinged door fell back into place to seal the box and prevent dirt and gravel from fouling the mechanism.   

This is a matched pair, complete with the matching heel boxes, and both function properly.  Each shank is stamped on the top “RIA” and on the bottom “1903”.     

Produced in very limited numbers for a very small officer corps, they were only produced for approximately four years, and by 1908 had been dropped from the offerings in the Ordnance Department Price List.   This limited production resulted in a very low survival rate, and matched sets of these Pattern 1903 Officer Box Spurs – especially complete with the boxes – are quite rare today.  (0838)  $525




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