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Auction Date: May 1, 2016

Lot 3152: Unique N.P. Ames Gilt Officers Sword with Rep

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Unique N.P. Ames Gilt Officers Sword with Republic of Mexico and American Navy Markings
Estimated Price: $8,500 - $13,000
Item Views 181 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Unique N.P. Ames Gilt Officers Sword with Rep ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page73
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionMeasuring 35 inches in overall length and manufactured sometime between 1829 and 1847, this N.P. Ames sword shows an interestingly combination of novel features. In general form it shows elements of Ames' "lodge/society" swords, particularly in the hilt design with the chain knuckle guard and plumed helmet pommel, but with a one-piece silver finished brass handle with light geometric and scroll patterns, and a prominent three dimensional eagle for a guard. This guard eagle closely resembles the languet design on the Revenue Officers sword, though double sided in configuration. The straight double edged single fuller blade is 28 3/8 inches in length, with fine etching over two-thirds of the length, with American eagle/shield designs, floral vine and oak leaf accents, and naval motifs, as well as "N.P.Ames/Cutler/Springfield" on the left side. The gilt finished brass scabbard is finely engraved overall, with light scroll motifs around the throat and suspension bands, a relief-cut fouled anchor on the frog stud, a raised N.P. Ames scroll on the back, and an engraved scene between the bands of a traditional Mexican heraldic eagle (a spread-winged eagle perched on a cactus with a snake in it's beak and talons) over a fouled anchor, framed top and bottom with "REPUBLICA/MEXICANA". While no hard data is available for how this sword came to be, one strong theory can be found in the early history of the Mexican Navy; after securing their freedom from Spain the Mexicans actively built up their naval forces, but due to a lack of a local naval tradition often had to recruit skilled military men from foreign lands, particularly American and British officers; in one particularly famous example the Commander in Chief of the Mexican Navy from 1826 to 1829 was David Porter, a disgraced American Commodore who launched an unauthorized invasion of Puerto Rico in retaliation for the arrest of one of his subordinates. The owner of this sword may have been one such officer.

ConditionExcellent. The tip of the exceptional high polish original blade has been slightly rolled to the right, with some light spotting and extraordinary etching detail. A few dark spots are visible on the gilt components, mostly in the lower areas, with minor handling marks overall, and the grip shows a near black antique patina with a few streaks of well aged brass visible. A very attractive N.P. Ames sword with a top quality appearance and unique features of which writer cannot recall ever seeing another example!
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