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Auction Date: May 1, 2016

Lot 3133: Historic John Bailey Revolutionary War Era Si

Sold for Historic John Bailey Revolutionary War Era Si
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Historic John Bailey Revolutionary War Era Silver-Mounted Officer's Lion Pommel Sword with "ANDREA FARARA" Marked Blade and Presentation Inscribed Scabbard Plate
Estimated Price: $30,000 - $50,000
Item Views 198 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Historic John Bailey Revolutionary War Era Si ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page64
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionThe remaining upper section of the sword's scabbard is marked "J, Bailey Fecit/Fredericksburgh" on the silver locket/mouthpiece. There is also a silver plaque on the 6 inches of leather that remains which reads: "Presented to Robt Buchanan/from his Cousins the daughters of the late Genl Thos Buchanan/1850." Thomas Buchanan (1747/48-1823) was born in Ireland and moved to Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, prior to the American Revolution. He served as a third lieutenant in Colonel William Thompson's Battalion of Riflemen in Captain James Chambers' company when the conflict first began and he was a captain in the First Regiment of the Pennsylvania Line by October of 1777. The First Regiment was largely made up of Buchanan's fellow Scots-Irishmen armed with rifles rather than muskets and fought during several important battles, including: Siege of Boston, New York Campaign, Battle of Trenton, Second Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, and Battle of Monmouth before he resigned in 1779 and became the sheriff of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. His family line can be traced back to King Robert II of Scotland (1316-1390). President James Buchanan was also a descendant of the same Scottish clan. Cutler John Bailey moved from New York to Fredericksburgh in 1778, and other Revolutionary War era swords with both his name and Andrea Farara are known. The pommel design matches another Bailey example in "American Silver-Hilted, Revolutionary and Early Federal Swords, Volume 2" by Daniel D. Hartzler. Many surviving Bailey swords were inscribed, and he is known to have forged a silver hilted hunting sword for none other than General George Washington. It is often referred to as Washington's war sword. By 1794, he had moved on to casting bells. This sword has a detailed silver lion head pommel and semi-basket guard with slotted counter guard. The spiral grip is wrapped with flat silver wire. The sword has a slightly curved 32-inch, un-fullered German blade with spear point. The blade is stamped with "ANDREA" on the reverse and "FARARA" on the obverse. Four proofmarks consisting of a profile of a Roman head with wreath are stamped on each side of the blade between the individual letters of the markings. Andrea Farara (Andrew Farrara) was an Italian born bladesmith in the 16th and 17th centuries especially popular in Scotland. Sir Walter Scott wrote that his name was inscribed "on all the Scottish broadswords that are accounted of peculiar excellence." This is a high quality officer's combat sword that is typical of the edged weapons carried by British and American officers during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. The combination of silver hilt and antique ivory grip indicates that it was probably the property of a field grade officer (major or colonel). The un-decorated, functional, blade indicates the sword was intended to be used as a weapon rather than a dress sword.

ConditionVery good. The silver pommel and hilt are in fine overall condition. The silver lion head pommel, guard, and grip wrap have an attractive, un-touched patina. The outer branch of the guard is broken at the junction with the counter guard. The grip has several vertical hair-line age cracks but the silver wire wrapping remains complete. The blade has not been cleaned and is in good condition with about 60% of the bright finish. The proof marks and "ANDREA FARARA" marks are sharp. The blade has scattered spots of discoloration on the edges and tip but no significant pitting. The incomplete scabbard is poor with only the mouthpiece, inscription plaque, and small amount of leather remaining. The silver has a dark aged patina. This is an extremely rare, historic example of a high quality, silver mounted, lion pommel Revolutionary War presentation sword. Writer believes this to be one of the finest we have ever offered!
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