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United States Marine Corps Swords

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PRE AND POST CIVIL WAR USMC SWORDS

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U407.  USMC - M1850 STAFF NCO SWORD, POST CIVIL WAR:  Several collectors have been asking me to find them a nice M1850 Marine Corps sword, but most I have seen were over priced or had condition issues.  Well, I found one with a screaming mint blade and very few condition issues.  This is a post Civil War Marine Corp M1850 Staff NCO sword, which dated to the around the 1870's.  The blade appears to have the correct marks for the Civil War, but the scabbard is from a later period.  This can be narrowed to that time because the scabbard is leather covered metal.  The guard and the scabbard have the matching serial number No. 158.  The guard and pommel cap are tight.  The grip and wire are original with 98% of the bright black leather remaining. The original blade washer has kept the 29 1/2" blade tight.  The blade is in mint condition with 100% original frosting, and W.H. Horstmann marked. Simply the best!  The scabbard is the SNCO design with the frog carry stud.  It is leather covered steel.  Historically, these scabbards did not hold up well and the leather often is falling off or missing.  This one retains 100% of the leather and the front is perfect, but the seam on the reverse shows some separation.  However, it is nearly intact and the best I have seen.  I am offering this at a price several hundred below what other dealers would ask for this sword.  $2400.00

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U423.  USMC - M1850 OFFICERS' SWORD, POST - CIVIL WAR:  This is a United State Marine Corps M1850 Officers' sword - post Civil War.  The Marine Corps authorized Marine Officers to carry this sword between the years 1859 - 1875.  The earlier ones I found have the Horstmann mark in a rectangle shaped box and the Kings head stamped in the blade.  I believe those with the square box Horstmann mark and void of the Kings head stamp are post Civil War, which is what this one its.  The hilt is tight with all original leather and double-strand wire.  The brass has a nice even mellow patina.  The original blade washer keeps the 32 3/4" blade tight.  The blade has an even gray patina, and has the standard etching for a Horstmann officer blade, but this has USMC in the center panel. There is a little pitting near the tip, though it is not bad.  The scabbard is original to the sword and has all the brass fittings. The length of the scabbard has not shrunk, but there is some shrinkage in the width causing some space near each mounts.  All the mounts are firmly in place, and with the exception of the top mount, the middle mount and drag retain much original gold wash.  This is a rare sword to find. $2500.00

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U426. AMES - USMC - UNITED STATE MARINE CORPS BOY MUSICIAN'S SWORD:  In all my years of collecting, this is the only known example of a Civil War United States Marine Corps boy musician's sword made by Ames that I have ever seen.  The second contract for the Marine Corps for the 1859 Marine musician's sword went to Ames in November 1859 for delivery in 1860.  Of the Marine enlisted swords adopted in 1859, the musician's sword is the least understood.  Marine musicians did carry a sword similar to the two types specified for Army enlisted men of foot; however, the Marine version has a half counterguard where the Army musician's hilt had none and the Army non-commissioned officer's sword has a counterguard on both sides. Marine musicians sword made under the July 1861 contract lack the inner counter guard.

This sword is fromthe 1859 Ames contract and has the half counterguard on the reverse side, andis a boy's musician's sword with a 24 inch blade.  This Civil War period Marine Corps sword will be void of any Marine Corps etching.  Musician's swords with USMC etching are post-war.  The hilt is tight with four dots in it above the blade.  The reverse clam shell is half sized and turned down and has some simple chase work. The 24 inch blade is Ames marked and has a floral design running the length of the fuller, and there are a few nicks in the blade.  The scabbard is a post-Civil War version for the 31 inch version of this sword, but not original to the sword.  To date, this is the only example I have seen of an Ames 1859 contacted Marine Corps musician's sword. Here is a chance to add a rare Marine sword to your Civil War collection.  $1200.00

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U567. RARE - CIVIL WAR UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS STAFF NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER'S SWORD: During the Civil War the Marine Corps was very small in size compared to the other military services, and as such Marine Corps Civil War swords are rare.  I initially thought this was a Bent & Bush made sword; however, a very knowledgeable and educated collector has positively identified this as being made by Ames. Most Marine Corps swords of this period, and following the war, were produced by Horstmann and that company is well known for marking their product. Horstmann had the first contract in early 1859 and the second contract went to Ames in November 1859, and Horstmann got the third contract in 1861. After that, Bent & Bush received all sword contracts.  This sword appears to be part of the second contract , of which there were only 36 produced by Ames in 1860.  The guard on this sword was made by Weyersberg. However, during a part of 1860 and to the start of the war, Ames incorporated these guards into their hilts. Ames still utilized their own pommels and the heel portion of their knuckle guard to assemble the hilt. The Ames knuckle guard was thicker than the matching section of the Weyersberg guard so the Ames part was filed to match the Weyersberg part. Many Weyersberg M1850 foot officer swords were imported by Horstmann. Once you note the Weyersberg guard (which is easily identifiable) look for the taper of the knuckle bow at the heel. Invariably, when the taper is there it is an Ames product. The Knight head is not found on the ricasso of these swords, and the blades are probably made by Ames. They are found with and without secondary (small) fullers. The swords that Ames assembled of this style are found with unetched blades. The scabbard has two brass fittings, the top mount designed to be carried in a leather frog, and the brass drag. The scabbard black leather has turned into rawhide. I have seen this before with some other Marine swords of this period, and believe this occurred as a result of exposer to salt water while at sea. Current not for sale.

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U568.RARE - CIVIL WAR UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER’S SWORD: During the Civil War the Marine Corps was very small in size compared to the other military services, and as such Marine Corps Civil War swords are rare.  Most Marine Corps swords of this period, and following the war, were produced by Horstmann and that company is well known for marking their product. Horstmann had the first contract in early 1859 and the second contract went to Ames in November 1859, and Horstmann got the third contract in 1861. After that, Bent & Bush received all sword contracts.  However, Horstmann was known to continue providing private purchase swords to Marines, and I believe this is one such example. The Marine Corps contract for the Civil War call for unetched blades, and the use of the letters USMC were not added to Marine sword until 1875.  This particular sword has an etched blade, but no letters, and no inventory-rack numbers in the hilt.

The swords hilt is a quality cast standard M1850 Foot Officers guard with some traced ofgilt, black leather grip with twisted wire.  The 27 3/4 inch blade is Horstmann marked and etched, but no lettered making it a Civil War period piece. The scabbard has two brass fittings, the top mount designed to be carried in a leather frog, and the brass drag.  $1800.00

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U571. USMC - M1875 MUSICIAN'S SWORD: This is a M1875 United States Musician's sword. Many mistakenly think it is Civil War, but it is not.  Its design is similar to the M1840 NCO sword, but with the reverse turned-down claim shell, a shorter blade, which it etched U.S.M.C. and maker marked Horstmann. The Marine Corps regulation of 1859 called for no reverse claim shell and no etching, though there are several examples with a 1/4 size reverse claim shell and etching, but these are believe to be Marine Corps boy musician sword.

This sword has a 26 1/2 inch blade in excellentcondition. The etching is strong and frosty, and there are no nicks or dings.The blade is held tight with the original red leather washer.  The hilt is strong, with a nice turned-down claim shell, and displays an even dark muster colored patina. The scabbard is complete with original mounts with only the top screw missing.  The leather is strong with no breaks, but some expected crazing.  These are getting harder to find in this condition. $1400.00

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U572.RARE - USMC – CIVIL WAR MUSICIAN'S SWORDI have been searching for this sword for over 40 years and was excited when I found it at the recent Gettysburg Civil War sword.  It is an extremely rare example of a Civil War Marine Corps Musician's sword with no reverse claim shell and a total unetched blade.  The Marine Corps regulation of 1859 called for no reverse claim shell and no etching for the musician sword. Horstmann, Ames, Bent & Bush all had contracts for Civil War Marine swords, and there is a known Roby example.  I believe this one may be an Ames example because the guard has the inspector mark "JH"; thought the blade is void of a marker mark. On close examination, you can tell the reverse claim shell was not just cut off, but factory configured to conform to the desires of the Marine Corps. You can run your finger over it and feel a smooth surface. The 25 inch blade is totally unetched; it has a dark gray patina, and has several small nicks. The scabbard fits the scabbard, has both mounts and is in outstanding condition. $1200.00

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U592.  USMC - M1850 OFFICERS' SWORD, POST - CIVIL WAR:  This is a United State Marine Corps M1850 Officers' sword – early post-Civil War.  The Marine Corps authorized Marine Officers to carry this sword between the years 1859 - 1875.  The earlier one I have found have the Horstmann mark in a rectangle shaped box and the Kings head stamped in the blade.  I believe those with the square box Horstmann mark and void of the Kings head stamp are post-Civil War; however, it the Kings head is present it is an earlier version most likely 1865-1869. This is an early version.  The hilt is tight with all original leather and double-strand wire.  The brass has a nice even mellow patina.  The original blade washer keeps the 30" blade tight.  The blade has an even patina, and has the standard etching for a Horstmann officer blade, but this has USMC in the center panel. The scabbard is original to the sword and has all the brass fittings. All the mounts are firmly in place. This is a rare sword to find. $2500.00

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U676.  USMC - M1850 OFFICERS' SWORD This is a United State Marine Corps M1850 Officers' sword – early version.  The Marine Corps authorized Marine Officers to carry this sword between the years 1859 - 1875.  The earlier ones have the Horstmann mark in a rectangle shaped box and the Kings head stamped in the blade. This is an early version.  The hilt is tight with all original leather and double-strand wire.  The brass has a nice even mellow patina.  The original blade washer keeps the blade tight.  The blade has an even patina, and has the standard etching for a Horstmann officer blade with USMC in the center panel. The U.S.M.C. etching is a different variant because the period between the letters are centered justified: U•S•M•C•, this is the only example I have seen to date with the periods raised.  The scabbard is original to the sword and has all the brass fittings, with the unique ring mounts. All the mounts are firmly in place. This is a rare sword to find. $2600.00

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U678. “RARE” PRE-CIVIL WAR UNITED STATES MARINE CORP BOYS MUSICIAN’S SWORD: This is a “Rare” Pre-Civil War United States Marine Corps Boy Musician’s sword.  It is the brass Eagle-Head guard design retailed by Horstmann and is marked on the blade and guard.  The blade is 23 1/2 inches and etched with a gray patina and surface pitting. The blade washer is original; however, no scabbard. $1200.00  

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U685b. “RARE” PRE-CIVIL WAR UNITED STATES MARINE CORP MUSICIAN’S SWORD: This is a “Rare” Pre-Civil War United States Marine Corps Musician’s sword.  It is the brass Eagle-Head guard design with no retailer mark, but must likely a Horstmann product.  The blade is 25 1/2 inches, un-etched with a gray patina. The blade washer is original; however, no scabbard. $1100.00  

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U685c. “RARE” PRE-CIVIL WAR UNITED STATES MARINE CORP MUSICIAN’S SWORD with SCABBARD: This is a “Rare” Pre-Civil War United States Marine Corps Musician’s sword with its original scabbard.  It is the fancy brass Eagle-Head guard design with the Horstmann mark on the guard and a Kings Head stamp in the blade. The blade is 26 inches, un-etched with a light-gray patina. There is no blade, but the scabbard is original with the top brass mount. It is rare to find these with an original scabbard! $1200.00 

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The following Marine Corps swords were sold in the past, but the information is provided for educational purposes.

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This sword belonged to Lt. James B. Breese.  He started in the Army, but in 1864 was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and remained on active duty until 1879. The sword is now in a private collection in the state of Illinois from where the Lieuteant originated. It is a standard M1850 Foot Officers sword with “US” etching, and Lt Breese’s name etched on the throat piece.

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