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Original U.S. Named M-1872 Light Cavalry Officer’s Saber by J.H. McKenney with Scabbard and Leather Hanger

Regular price $795.00

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 39 5/8 inch long example is very good, with the expected patina of age, but no signs of major wear, as this is definitely more of a "parade" or "dress" example. The curved 34 inch long nickel plated blade is in very good condition, and has lovely etched designs on both sides, showing standard foliate and military motifs. One side is named to John F. Griffith in the central panel, while the other side has U. S. marked, both in lovely Gothic script. The edge has not been sharpened, correct for a dress sword, though there is a bit of denting. The plating is well retained, showing some minor flaking and oxidation to the steel base metal. The blade is marked on the ricasso with the maker / distributer:

J. H.
      & Co.
N. Y.

This company would later become Baker & McKenney, and then later Ridabock & Co., so this is definitely an early example.

The grip is solid on the full length tang, however the guard is just a bit loose, even with the leather blade buffer. The grip still has most of the shark skin wrapping intact, with the original twisted brass wires resting in the grooves of the grip. The brass hilt is still in nice shape, though it does show some denting and deformation. It also looks like the brass portions were "restored" using gold paint at some point, which was well done but not really correct. It is a typical cast example, with a very decorative pommel and guard.

The scabbard is in very good shape, though it definitely has some dents and "dog leg" type bends, though none that interfere with sheathing the blade. It looks to originally have been blued steel, and has the usual brass fittings, which have also been touched up with gold paint. Attached to the scabbard is a lovely leather hanger, which we suspect is probably from the early 20th century or later.

Overall a great chance to pick up a typical late 19th century U.S. Light Cavalry Saber with a lovely named and etched blade. Complete with scabbard and hanger this is ready to display!

Blade length: 34”
Overall length: 39 5/8”
Guard dimensions: 4" width x 5” length
Scabbard length: 35 1/4”

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