Original U.S. Spanish-American War Army Officer's M1860 Dress Parade Sword by M.C. Lilley with German Blade

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is the standard U.S. Staff and Field Officer's Dress or Parade Sword Model 1860, a pattern first used during the Civil War, which was in service until 1902. This example however is a particularly upmarket version, with and etched nickel-plated German-made blade and many high end gilt brass alloy appointments. Officer's were usually responsible for purchasing their own dress swords, so they varied considerably in quality and style. This sword is marked on the ricasso by the company that marketed it as part of the etching:


Mitchell C. Lilley of Columbus, Ohio first started marketing this type of sword in 1874, and was in company with several associates. The company did not the 'THE' before the name until 1882, so this sword is definitely from the end of the 19th century.

On the reverse ricasso there is what looks to be some type of animal, possibly a bear or dog, stamped into the steel. Under this is MADE IN / GERMANY. Retailers such as Lilley imported blades extensively from the active German sword export market, and would etch and plate them in house. The level of German sword steel was some what above the United States at the time, and higher end customers wanted the added prestige.

The 26" blade is extensively etched with U.S. symbols, including the E. PLURIBUS UNUM motto under a U.S. Eagle, several U.S. Shields, as well as floral motifs and a flag. The blade is in very good condition, with clear etching, and mostly only runner wear on the nickel plate. There is a bit of oxidation and areas, but nothing major.

The sword measures 32" overall, and the hilt and "shell" Guard are of gilded bronze/brass, all of which is intricately engraved. Some of the original gilding is present, making the sword very attractive. The ribbed grip has lost all of the leather or shagreen that it was originally wrapped with, though the original twisted brass wire wrapping is fully intact.

The sword comes in its original decorated brass mounted nickel-plated scabbard, which was later painted black. Scabbard is straight, and the plating is in good shape, with no dents that we can detect. Plating is in good shape where it can be seen, with the usual oxidation and age.

A very impressive dress sword from the Spanish-American War era, ready to display!

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