Original U.S. Spanish-American War Era Army Officer's M1860 Dress Parade Sword by M.C. Lilley
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 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:
M.C.LILLEY & Co.
NO.13 W.30TH. ST
NEW YORK -
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. We have found advertisements in the Army Navy journal with a New York Address for M.C. Lilley dated 1902, so the company most likely opened a New York location to take advantage of the military build up before the war.
On the reverse ricasso there is what looks to be some type of animal, possibly a bear or dog, stamped into the steel. Many of these upmarket swords were made with sword blades imported from Europe, particularly from France and Germany, so this may be the mark of the original maker.
The 30 1/4 " 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 crossed cannons on both sides, and a cannon with 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 plating loss in areas, but nothing major.
The sword measures 37" overall, and the hilt and "shell" Guard are of gilded bronze/brass, all of which is intricately engraved. There is also a foldaway guard, which makes the sword easier to wear at the side. A most of the original gilding is present, making the sword very attractive. The ribbed lacquered ray skin grip is in great shape, with the original twisted brass wire wrapping fully intact.
The sword comes in its original decorated brass mounted nickel-plated scabbard. Scabbard is straight, and the plating is in good shape, with no dents that we can detect. Plating is in good shape, with the usual speckled patina of age.
A very impressive dress sword from the Spanish-American War era, ready to display!
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