Antique Arms and Historical Objects

American 18th Century Stag Handled Hunting Sword

A wonderful and scarce piece from the colonial and frontier period.

Price: $1,800.00

Description: In the Germanic tradition but fashioned on the frontier of America, likely dating to the early to mid 18th century, is this blacksmith fabricated hunting sword. Its crudeness and folk-like features definitely identify this as an American made piece and not one made Western Europe. A simple comparison of European pieces illustrate the difference. Hunting knives of this sort were quite popular in Colonial America and into the Revolutionary War period. Not quite a sword yet not a side knife these were handy weapons for self-defense as well as for hacking through brush and other obstacles in the wilderness. Many a French and Indian War period soldier carried these.

Overall this piece measures 28.5” with an 18.5” single edged blade. The blacksmith’s hand work is seen in the minor forging flaws in the blade. The counterguard is a piece of decoratively scalloped iron tipped downward on one side so the hunting sword can be carried close to the body. Immediately on top and at the base of the grip is a faceted ring of iron, known as a ferrule. The ferrule has 8 facets. The hunting sword is completed with a nicely formed piece of stag horn which still fits in the hand quite comfortably today as it did when it was made. On the top of the stag grip is a piece of cast brass, 1/16” thick serving as the capstan for the blade’s tang which has been hammered over securely and filed flush. The edges of this brass cap have been nicely filed to form an exact fit to the contours of the irregular stag grip-a delightful feature. The photographs illustrate that this piece has been cleaned several times in its life but the pitting from rust is minimal and the iron surfaces are now returning to a pleasing gray patina overall.

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American Civil War Enlistedman’s “US” Belt Plate

Price: $240.00

Description: A fine example of this mid-war issue brass and lead waist belt plate. Standard regulation issue oval “US” plate with a lead filled back and “arrow” shaped hooks. This belt plate shows light use but is in excellent condition. The top edge is a little bit “ruffled” from battlefield use and the tongue hook and two arrow hooks still have their lead coating from manufacture. Some scratches front and back give this very nice plate a good war-time appearance.

This plate was purchased from an antiques dealer in Harrisonburg, Virginia who related that it was procured from a local estate. For the beginning collector these aren’t found much nicer and I’ve priced this at about 20% less than most, in this condition, that are offered on the market today.

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Scarce Misspelled George “Washinton” Framed Engraving C. 1880

Price: $245.00

Description:  A rare early run of a print where the engraver misspelled Washington’s name as “Washinton.” This print depicts the bust of General George Washington in full uniform and is in its original soft wood, gilt and gesso frame with cut iron retaining nails on the back. To the best of my knowledge this print has never been removed from its frame. The frame measures 9.25 wide by 12.5 high with the print measuring 5.5” X 7.5”

On the left side of his uniform below the epaulette is the printmaker’s signature “Joseph Wright Print, Phila. 1784” and below Washington’s waistcoat to the right is “Albert Rosenthal, Phila, 1888/Aqua Fortis.” Rosenthal was the engraver. Wright was the portrait painter from which this image was taken. Running along the bottom of the print is a legend reading “from the original painting in the possession of the Powel family, Newport, R.I.”

A copy of this rare print is in the collection of the Boston Athenaeum. The gilt and gesso frame is in good condition with surface scratching on the outer edge and one minor loss to the upper left hand corner (see photograph). The print itself is in very good condition with one area of foxing in the lower right hand corner.

It is said that by 1900 more than 75% of American households had some sort of image of George Washington. Although dating to the last quarter of the 19th century this print has a wonderful air of antiquity and the misspelling of Washington’s name is an added attraction and, most certainly, a conversation piece.

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Southwest Virginia Hunting Bag, Horn and Related Accouterments

This hunting bag, horn and accouterments have not been restored and remain in “as found” condition including some later adaptations during its period of use.

Price: $1,650.00

Description: A rare find recently sold from a prominent collection in the Shenandoah Valley is this wonderful Virginia Hunting Bag that, according to its provenance, was found in Bedford County, Virginia. Bedford County is just east of the Shenandoah south of Lynchburg and north of Roanoke. A number of prominent rifle makers hail from these parts-especially the Fincastle region.

This bag and horn set have nice Virginia characteristics especially the powder horn which has a distinctive carved band near the finely formed spout; typical of horns from this region and the south. The hunting bag is made of leather with a beautiful buckskin flap retaining much of the original hair and cut with a nice shield shaped contour. The pouch measures approximately 10” X 8” overall. The shoulder strap is made of a woven cotton-corded material tied at the top into a knot. The banded horn measures 9” overall with its original flat plug having a later (but very early) iron screw in the center. The stopper for the spout of the horn is a carved dark wood violin key-a likely early replacement during the period. There is a powder measure attached to the shoulder strap by a piece of sinew which is a .38 caliber brass casing-an addition from a much later period of use. Found inside the bag and still accompanying it is an iron single cavity bullet mold with sprue cutter about .36 caliber and a bone handled 3-tine fork typical of the first quarter of the 19th century. The back of the fork is stamped “Steel Patented.”

The horn and bag are no longer attached to one another by original means. A later leather thong is currently used to attach the two very crudely-probably by the original collector for display purposes. There is a small tear to the back of the leather bag. This bag and horn are presented exactly as found save for the later addition of two leather thongs attaching the horn to the shoulder strap. A sensitive restoration might replace the bullet casing powder measure, replace the screw in the plug end of the powder horn and re-attached the horn to bag in a more appropriate manner. I prefer to always present historic objects as found thus leaving any restoration up to the next owner. All easy and simply done a minor investment will make this Virginia bag and horn quite the show piece.

Provenance will be presented to the purchaser.

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Untouched Civil War U.S. Cartridge Box Plate

Price: $200

Description: New to market this Civil War U.S. Cartridge Box Plate was recently found at a house sale at the top of the Shenandoah Valley just below Hagerstown, Maryland. Long separated from its leather cartridge box this the regulation plate made of die stamped brass and filled with lead with two iron wire loops for securing the plate to the cartridge box lid. The patina on the face of the plate is simply lovely. Dark with tiny bits of verdigris here and there. The reverse is perfect, as issued, with untouched patina as well. Other than the family name of Shanks where the house sale was held there is no further provenance. These rarely come out of the woodwork anymore as most have been in collections for generations.

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