Original U.S. M-1872 Light Cavalry Officer’s Saber with Nickel-Plated Scabbard by H.V. Allien & Co. of N.Y.

Item Description

 Original Item: Only One Available. The U.S. Model of 1872 Light Cavalry Saber was the second in the series of light cavalry sabers used by the United States. The design was used in the U.S. from about 1872, through the Indian Wars and skirmishes of the 1870's, 1880's and 1890's.

This sword, unlike its predecessor, the Model 1860 Light Cavalry, was considered a minor improvement, although many were still not satisfied. The weight of the sword was less when compared to the Model of 1840 (Wristbreaker) and Model of 1860 (aka New Model). This sword was plagued with many manufacturing defects and ultimately led to the creation of a replacement, the Model of 1904. The noticeable difference is a smaller, sleek-appearing blade (almost fragile in appearance). The hilt appears to be a cross between the 1840 and 1860.

Condition of this 38 inch long example is very good, with the expected wear and patina of age. The curved 32 1/2 inch long blade is solid, with staining but no major rust or pitting. It could probably be buffed to a full shine, but we left it intact to preserve the patina. The grip is solid on the full length tang, however the guard is loose. The grip still has most of the fish skin wrapping intact, with the original twisted brass wires resting in the grooves of the grip. The blade is marked on the ricasso is maker marked and has a “gold” “PROVED” stamp on it.


Henry V Allien (1814-89), though a native of New York, was the son of a French officer from Napoleon's ill-fated expedition to Haiti in 1802. This firm lasted until just after World War II. Allien's obituary noted that he was a member of the New York Light Guard.

The brass hilt is still in nice shape, though most of the original gilding has worn away over the years. It is a typical cast example, with a very decorative pommel and guard. The outer guard branch is bent, which could easily be repaired, but as it is part of the history of the sword, we left it as is.

The scabbard is in great shape, with no large dents or dings on the scabbard body, and unfortunately most of the nickel plating has worn away. The brass fittings are very nice and still solid without any play.

Overall a great chance to pick up a typical late 19th century U.S. Light Cavalry Saber.

Blade length: 32 3/4”
Overall length: 38 1/2”
Guard dimensions: 5" width x 5” length
Scabbard length: 34”

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