1850 foot officers sword

Mgunn

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Jun 13, 2020
Is there any way to tell if an 1850 Foot Officers Sword is Pre CW, CW, or post CW? I really want one for a wall hanger and have found a few in my budget (1k).
 

ucvrelics

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Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
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There are many different ways to tell the period of them. Makers marks, blade etching, scabbard construction etc. They were in use until 1872 so the best way is to do your research and if you come across one that you need help with, just post it here and we can take a look.
 

Mgunn

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Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Here are a few I grabbed off the sellers site.

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6CCA9DAB-4678-4FD9-9C3E-DEA3DCE64D62.jpeg


E034311A-622F-4491-92C9-A131313BB7F5.jpeg


FB61DC2B-5DFF-42E2-AA95-613E66C83178.jpeg
 

bobinwmass

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Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
This does look like a real Ames to me and in pretty decent condition. Addresses on blade and scabbard look good, sharkskin seam on reverse grip looks good. The block style "U.S." indicates likely made by 1863 per Thillman. I had never seen the block style "US" with such pronounced serifs before, but Thillmann's book does show some variance in the letters and one example with some rudimentary serifs. But are those stamped numbers on the blade near the hilt? Some of these swords were dated and inspected, but if that is a date on your blade, the digits don't appear to align properly. If a date, I wonder if someone added it later.
 

Mgunn

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Joined
Jun 13, 2020
This does look like a real Ames to me and in pretty decent condition. Addresses on blade and scabbard look good, sharkskin seam on reverse grip looks good. The block style "U.S." indicates likely made by 1863 per Thillman. I had never seen the block style "US" with such pronounced serifs before, but Thillmann's book does show some variance in the letters and one example with some rudimentary serifs. But are those stamped numbers on the blade near the hilt? Some of these swords were dated and inspected, but if that is a date on your blade, the digits don't appear to align properly. If a date, I wonder if someone added it later.
 

Mgunn

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Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Thanks for the information. This site is a wealth of knowledge. I’ll keep looking until I find one that is CW era.
 

bobinwmass

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Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
Ive seen this sword and know the seller. It is indeed a real Ames but its a post war sword with the #stamped on the blade. The seller does not say its a CW era sword just a "Nice Example" of a model 1850
Interesting to know. I
Ive seen this sword and know the seller. It is indeed a real Ames but its a post war sword with the #stamped on the blade. The seller does not say its a CW era sword just a "Nice Example" of a model 1850
Interesting to know. I'd never heard about numbered post-war models. But then again my interest is only up to 1865 and my reference is Thillmann's book, which also is only interested through the Civil War. What's a good reference book to learn about the later Ames versions?
 

bobinwmass

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Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
Have you ever seen a CW period with those # and then there is the etched Ames Mfg marks. Below is a great book on Ames that I had in my book collection until the flood last year which got over 50 of my books.
View attachment 388574
Actually, the etched Ames marking looks exactly like the photo on page 246 of Thillmann's. But it was the numbers that I could not make out that I was not familiar with. I'll have to look for that Ames book. Thanks.
 

gjpratt

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Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Just now reading this thread. Ironically, it’s my sword on consignment precisely because it is not CW. It is in pristine condition and a great ”representative” example for a wall hanger If non-period is not a concern. I bought it some time ago mostly for its eye appeal but also for its Ames heritage. One of a dozen items i consigned to him to pare down my collection to core interests.

The dealer is highly reputable in my opinion and dealings with him.

Not a sales pitch; just confirming @ucvrelics information first hand.
 

bobinwmass

Corporal
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
Just now reading this thread. Ironically, it’s my sword on consignment precisely because it is not CW. It is in pristine condition and a great ”representative” example for a wall hanger If non-period is not a concern. I bought it some time ago mostly for its eye appeal but also for its Ames heritage. One of a dozen items i consigned to him to pare down my collection to core interests.

The dealer is highly reputable in my opinion and dealings with him.

Not a sales pitch; just confirming @ucvrelics information first hand.
For educational purposes, besides the stamped numbers, anything else that can help alert us that an Ames 1850 is a post-war sword? Unlike in his discussion of the 1860 Staff & Field, in his section on the 1850 models Thillmann does not appear to discuss the differences in the post-war examples. Thanks.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Location
Northern Virginia
Maybe I'm missing it, but I do not see anything about stamped numbers indicating post-war production in either either the Thillmann or Hamilton books. Could you give me the cite? I had always thought the block letters were indigative of earlier production vice script letters. If not, i guess i'm learning something.
 

bobinwmass

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Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
Maybe I'm missing it, but I do not see anything about stamped numbers indicating post-war production in either either the Thillmann or Hamilton books. Could you give me the cite? I had always thought the block letters were indigative of earlier production vice script letters. If not, i guess i'm learning something.
I had thought the same as you about the letters. I was not aware there were differences between a war time sword and one made post-war. Looking forward to learn the differences. I thought only way to tell would be by a late presentation date.
 

bobinwmass

Corporal
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
Is there any way to tell if an 1850 Foot Officers Sword is Pre CW, CW, or post CW? I really want one for a wall hanger and have found a few in my budget (1k).
While we are waiting for more clarity on how to tell a war time Ames from a post-war Ames, there are other makers that were active only during the war, or until shortly afterward. If you're not tied into having an Ames sword, here are a couple thoughts. I've had a couple Ames foot officers in the past, but I actually prefer the etching style on the officer swords made by C. Roby & Co over that of Ames, so I now have a Roby in my collection. C. Roby began making swords at the beginning of the war and the company went bankrupt in 1867, so it is likely a sword by them is war time era. Collins & Company dated most of their blades, 1862 is the most common date I've seen. Not only did they sell swords under their own name, but they made swords and blades for other retailers so you can find 1862 Collins dated blades on swords sold by Schuyler Hartley & Graham, and Tiffany. I have an 1850 Foot Officer sword retailed by James P. Fitch of New York with an 1862 Collins blade that was presented to a Massachusetts captain (my first post ever on this forum was about that sword). Fitch's company, with him as sole proprietor, was active Sept 1862 to Jan 1863. My final 1850 Foot Officer sword is an engraved silver gripped Horstmann with a sharkskin. Horstmann, like Ames, had a long sword making history, so take your time and look sround, and as @ucvrelics indicated above, research is important. If you are only interested in picking up one sword, you probably don't want the expense of picking up the 2 sword books by Thillmann, but if you are going to get more deeply involved, I would highly recommend them.
 

Mgunn

Cadet
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
While we are waiting for more clarity on how to tell a war time Ames from a post-war Ames, there are other makers that were active only during the war, or until shortly afterward. If you're not tied into having an Ames sword, here are a couple thoughts. I've had a couple Ames foot officers in the past, but I actually prefer the etching style on the officer swords made by C. Roby & Co over that of Ames, so I now have a Roby in my collection. C. Roby began making swords at the beginning of the war and the company went bankrupt in 1867, so it is likely a sword by them is war time era. Collins & Company dated most of their blades, 1862 is the most common date I've seen. Not only did they sell swords under their own name, but they made swords and blades for other retailers so you can find 1862 Collins dated blades on swords sold by Schuyler Hartley & Graham, and Tiffany. I have an 1850 Foot Officer sword retailed by James P. Fitch of New York with an 1862 Collins blade that was presented to a Massachusetts captain (my first post ever on this forum was about that sword). Fitch's company, with him as sole proprietor, was active Sept 1862 to Jan 1863. My final 1850 Foot Officer sword is an engraved silver gripped Horstmann with a sharkskin. Horstmann, like Ames, had a long sword making history, so take your time and look sround, and as @ucvrelics indicated above, research is important. If you are only interested in picking up one sword, you probably don't want the expense of picking up the 2 sword books by Thillmann, but if you are going to get more deeply involved, I would highly recommend them.
Thank you, I’ve been looking around for awhile now. There is another one at an antique firearms dealer about three hours from me. I plan to go look at it as soon as the DC troop stuff dies down (I’m an active duty NG soldier) if it doesn’t sell first.
 

bobinwmass

Corporal
Joined
Jul 14, 2019
Location
Western Massachusetts
Just now reading this thread. Ironically, it’s my sword on consignment precisely because it is not CW. It is in pristine condition and a great ”representative” example for a wall hanger If non-period is not a concern. I bought it some time ago mostly for its eye appeal but also for its Ames heritage. One of a dozen items i consigned to him to pare down my collection to core interests.

The dealer is highly reputable in my opinion and dealings with him.

Not a sales pitch; just confirming @ucvrelics information first hand.
Given the reply by @Richard E. Schenk , I am still confused. What specifically identifies this sword as post-war? I thought I was being told it was the numbers.
 

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