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Auction Date: April 29, 2016

Lot 181: Historic Diamond Monogrammed Honor Sword with

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Historic Diamond Monogrammed Honor Sword with Case and Extra Scabbard, Attributed as the Property of Henry Humphrey, Maine Colonel and American Consul to Alexandria, Formerly of the Notable Collections of Philip Medicus and Norm Flayderman
Estimated Price: $25,000 - $40,000
Item Views 188 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Historic Diamond Monogrammed Honor Sword with ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page70
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionAs related in the cover story of the August 1958 issue of True Magazine (included), this sword was part of the collection of Philip Medicus, a New York businessman and avid collector, who is credited as one of the first 'big' collectors of American edged weapons, then-recently transferred to Norm Flayderman, a man whose name is synonymous with antique American weapons and military artifacts to this very day. This particular sword, which graces of right side of the cover, was reportedly purchased from Tiffany of New York by Henry B. Humphrey; while no Tiffany markings have been found, it is known that the firm did procure blades from the master smiths at Solingen and outfit them with hilts and sheaths, and the embellishment on this sword is of the caliber seen from the noted firm. Information on Humphrey is limited, though records of him being assigned by the President as American Consul at the Egyptian port city of Alexandria in 1846 and notes of service with the militia of Maine at an unrecorded date. Of particular note regarding the sword is the scabbards, plural, both of which show fine sculpted and engraved decoration. The first, presumably intended as a "daily wear" item, is constructed from brown lacquered steel with gilt brass furniture, with an engraved throat, sculpted suspension bands with raised floral scrolls, laurel wreaths and grotesque faces, a pair of twisted suspension rings, and a scroll engraved tip with sculpted drag. The second is presumably for special occasions, features much more elaborate decoration than the first, including a raised "US" in a sculpted laurel wreath on the middle suspension band, with the letters highlighted with a set of 27 diamonds. On the obverse side of the throat, bands and tip are sculpted raised scroll designs, with two angels holding a blank scroll on the upper band, the aforementioned diamond "US" on the mid band, a rose bush in bloom on the tip and a pierced-through scroll pattern drag, the suspension rings are a pair of sculpted laurel wreaths, and the reverse of the bands and tip are decorated with deeply engraved exotic river scenes. The sword itself measures in at 38 1/2 inches, with the 31 3/4 inch curved double fuller blade decorated on the lower half with fine gold washed etching and bearing the Clauberg trademark on the left ricasso. The vine decorated spine is also etched "IRON PROOF", with scroll and floral patterns and arrays of arms on both sides, an American eagle and script "U.S." on the left side, and the motto "DEEDS NOT WORDS" on the right. Derived from the original Latin "facta, non verba", "Deeds Not Words" has seen very wide adoption, being used by multiple military units, women's suffrage groups, and others. The hilt is constructed of finely sculpted gilt brass, with a fine scalloped full-coverage languet ahead of the counterguard, which is decorated with finely detailed scrollwork and features a folding reverse guard, a upturned ball pommel, and a script "US" and laurel wreaths on the 4-branch knuckleguard, which tapers down to a single sculpted and textured branch with a gem-cut purple accent stone (possibly amethyst, though not tested), and ends at a phrygian helmet pommel, capped with a round purple stone in a silver floral setting and decorated with raised scrolls, laurel wreath patterns and a bust of a woman wearing a liberty cap. The grips are scale-carved mother of pearl, with a series of 64 golden stars accenting the scales and a pair of chevron-engraved silver panels at front and rear. The entire set fits into a hardwood case with French-cut interior display panel, which pulls out to reveal a hidden compartment which bears and illegible signature (possibly Humphrey's) and the date December 13, 1863.

ConditionExcellent overall (sword and extra scabbard), with some light handling marks overall. The gold wash, etching, sculpting and other decoration on the swords and scabbards are all in fine shape, with a few dark spots (possibly traces of a lost silver plating) on the protected areas of the gilt components, a minor scuff on the stone on the guard, and some material loss on the washer. The case is fine, with mild wear and some re-glued spacers in the hidden compartment to support the French-cut panel. A very attractive example of the Solingen blade arts and New York decoration, more than worthy of a top-level representative of America's interests abroad, with a connection to two of the large names in American arms collecting.
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