Stunning gold-gilded knucklebow. The bone grip survives almost perfectly. We can tell that the grip is pressed bone, and not ivory, by the dark bio-flecks in the bone.
This motto is sometimes found on federal period swords. After the War of 1812, a wave of patriotism swept over the nation. Patriotic mottos and displays featured prominently. This Latin motto means "to preserve/protect what I have won." Note the 15 stars; one for each state of the then Union.
The sword pictured is a stunning example of a high grade Artillery Officer's Saber. The gold gild survives almost in its entirety along with much of the stunning bluing and gold inlay on the blade. Often, we find chipping occurs on the pressed bone grip against the pommel or ferrule which, in this case, is absent. What is missing from this scabbard is engraving. A sword of this caliber usually exhibits elaborate engraving on the scabbard. As officer's had to pay for this embellishment out of their own pocket, it is likely that this officer was unable to afford it.
Note the embellished capstan or rivet that conceals the peened tang. Seldom are these found to survive due to their location on the end of the pommel. This sword also evidences the high grade, acorn and leaf gilded backstrap.