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MODEL 1878 CANTEEN WITH THE EARLY ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL NARROW LEATHER CANTEEN STRAP:  An original Indian War period US Army issue Model 1878 Canteen complete with the early pattern, narrow leather shoulder strap manufactured at the Rock Island Arsenal.   

The canteen is complete with both of the triangular hangers that were attached as part of the modification process the arsenal used to convert the Civil War canteens to the Model 1878 Pattern.  The “US” stencil is clear and legible, and is of the desirable “large” pattern characters, indicating that this is one of the earlier stenciled covers.  The cover is solid and free from any wear points or tears, and the seams are intact.  The body of the canteen holds it shape on the front and the rear surfaces with no dents or other damage.  The original cork stopper and brass chain are intact and full form with no loss to the cork.   

The rear of the cover was dyed black or dark blue at some point in its service life, perhaps to prevent the cover from transferring color to or from the soldier’s dark blue uniform.  There is a name written on the reverse and can be read through the dark dye.   

The correct narrow leather strap is in very good condition - full length with no weak points, complete with both brass hooks and leather keepers, and the leather is supple with only minor flexing in scattered spots on the surface.  The inspector’s initials stamp is legible and the “ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL” stamp is partially legible.  These narrow canteen slings have all but disappeared from the market and are now quite scarce.   

This is the canteen issued to the regular army in the west, with no National Guard or State Militia unit marks, and it is a very solid specimen with the very desirable, and correct, narrow canteen sling.  (0802)  $250



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