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Auction Date: September 9, 2016

Lot 138: Desirable Confederate "CS" Marked Staff & Fie

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Desirable Confederate "CS" Marked Staff & Field Officer Sword with Scabbard Marked Made By James Conning Mobile, (Alabama)
Estimated Price: $7,500 - $15,000
Item Views 166 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Desirable Confederate ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page58
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionMeasuring 34 inches overall, with a 28 3/4 inch single fuller blade marked "195" on the right. The hilt is brass, with an engraved floral pattern around the blade on the guard, a pierced-through floral and laurel pattern between the guard and the branch, a single upturned rear quillion, a laurel wreath and "CS" on the underside of the guard, a helmet-shaped pommel and a wire wrapped leather grip. The scabbard is leather with brass fittings and a single partial hanger, with the rear of the throat marked "Made by/James Conning/Mobile" and both the throat and suspension band numbered "195" to match the blade. Originally a jeweler and metalsmith in New York City, Conning set up shop in Mobile in the early 1840s, selling fine silver and similar items brought in from New York and other points. Entering the arms and military goods trade during the Mexican-American War, Conning expanded into weapons sales, including firearms and swords. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was cut off from his traditional supply points, and endeavored to establish a local production base. Recruiting Jacob Faser, an apprentice of F.W. Widmann and former employee of William Horstmann, the factory was established in 1861, with Faser supervising the construction and operation of the factory. Like most Confederate outfits, Conning didn't feel the urge to re-invent the wheel, following the American Army's antebellum regulation patterns, with examples known of the mounted artillery sword and others. The enterprise ceased operations in 1862 when Faser, unhappy with his share of the profit for the work, went home to Macon, Georgia. Both men would make it through the war, with Conning eventually passing his shop down in his family and Faser becoming Mayor of Macon about 1870. Due to the short duration of Conning and Faser's partnership, the destruction of the Civil War, and the general wear and tear of existing for over 150 years, surviving examples of Conning swords are scarce in any condition.

ConditionGood. The blade shows a fine aged gray patina, with some pitting and etching concentrated towards the tip, along with scattered light spotting and handling marks, and the edge shows some light contact dings. The hilt is very good, with a number of dings on the well aged brass, some play in the guard and pommel cap, and a few absent turns of wire on the grip. The scabbard is fair, with the tip absent, scuffs and dents. The markings are clearly legible. A solid representative example of a highly desirable authentic confederate sword!
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