Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 105: N.P. Ames Pattern 1833 U.S. Dragoon Officer's Saber

Auction Date: August 26, 2022

Rare N.P. Ames Pattern 1833 U.S. Dragoon Officer's Saber with Scabbard Featured in "The Ames Sword Company 1829-1935" by John D. Hamilton

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $7,500 - $11,000

Rare N.P. Ames Pattern 1833 U.S. Dragoon Officer's Saber with Scabbard Featured in "The Ames Sword Company 1829-1935" by John D. Hamilton

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 461
Item Interest: Very Active
Catalog Page: 127
Class: Other

This sword is featured on pages 39 and 112 of "The Ames Sword Company 1829-1935" by John D. Hamilton. Hamilton's Appendix III indicates the government paid $20 for these officer's sabers under contract and purchased 34 on February 14, 1834, that were "presumed purchased by individual Officers" and another 4 on September 30, 1839, that were delivered on November 5. Another 18 were ordered in January 1840 and delivered on February 4 for the Republic of Texas. However, only a very small number of these swords are known in collections today. This sword has also been identified as featured in "Civil War Cavalry & Artillery Sabers" by John H. Thillmann on pages 61. Hamilton suggests the blade etching patterns were designed by Silas Mosman, Jr. The blade is 34 inches long with 18 1/4 inch etched panels with various highly detailed designs and the noted maker's mark, a rounded spine, and brown leather washer. The right side has an eagle with a banner reading "Liberty, floral motifs, a stand of arms with a liberty cap, and "N.P. Ames/Cutler/Springfield," and the right side has floral designs, another eagle and "Liberty" banner, a Native American warrior with raised tomahawk and bow and arrows, and "United States Dragoon." The hilt is gilt brass with a shagreen and wire wrapped grip. The scabbard is iron/steel, and this has been reported to be the only 1833 Dragoon Officer's saber with its original scabbard suggesting Hamilton may have been in error when listing the scabbard as brass in his book. The Native American warrior on the blade is identified as Tecumseh. Hamilton notes that the Regiment of Kentucky Militia under Colonel Richard M. Johnson killed the famous Shawnee warrior and leader and routed the British in the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813, and that Johnson was the chairman of the Congressional Committee on Military Affairs in 1832 and submitted the bill establishing the First Regiment of Dragoons that would have received these swords. Claims of Johnson killing Tecumseh are somewhat questionable, but he and his men were part of the American forces at the battle and were engaged with the Indians when Tecumseh was killed. These claims became popularized when he ran for vice president in the 1830s. The United States Regiment of Dragoons (First U.S. Dragoons in 1836) was organized in 1833 after the Black Hawk War for frontier duty. They were led by Colonel Henry Dodge, formerly the commander of the Battalion of Mounted Rangers and served in the West in the 1830s and early 1840s and then in the Mexican-American War, on frontier duty in the antebellum era, and became the First U.S. Cavalry during the American Civil War. Provenance: The Donald M. Armstrong Collection; The Jim Linton Collection; Property of a Gentleman

Rating Definition:

Very fine overall with bright blade with distinct etching and minor oxidation, 60% of the original gilt finish on the hilt, aged patina on the exposed brass, mild wear on the grip, brown patina and mild oxidation and pitting the scabbard, and general mild overall wear. This is an extraordinarily rare and attractive early Ames sword made for an officer of the United State's elite First Dragoon Regiment.

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