American Swords,  LLC.


Preserving the History of Antique American Swords

British style late 18th, early 19th century gilded brass Scabbard made for the American marked.

(American Pillow Pommel Officer's Sword)

French Style Early 19th Century Brass Scabbard

(High Grade American Mounted Infantry Saber)

Replaced Throat

High Grade Gold Gilded Scabbard Mount

"It is always the good men that do the most harm in the world."

               - Henry Adams

"If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?"

               - Abraham Lincoln

Faked-down reproduction

Scabbard and Drag

Gilded Brass Boot/Drag on Widmann Militia Officer's Sword

(Circa 1835)

M1850 Foot Officer's
Scabbard Throat

Note red Moroccan leather liner (click picture)




 

Circa 1815-1830 Gilded Brass Artillery Officer's Sword

Presentation Grade Gilded Brass Artillery Officer's Sword
(French Import Made for the American Market)

A young Cavalryman poses with his M1860 Cavalry Saber on Lookout Mountain


"If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and Live in Hell"

                             - William P. Sheridan

Examples of Presentation Grade Scabbard Drag Mounts on M1850 Officer's Swords

Please click the images below for an enlarged version. (Bottom right is a faked up reproduction. Did you spot it?)

M1860 Staff Officer's Sword Drag
(On a high grade presentation sword)

Ames M1850 Staff & Field Officer's Sword Drag

(On a regulation identified sword dated and inspected 1862)

Ames M1850 Foot Officer's Sword Drag

(On a regulation sword dated and inspected 1861)

Gilded Brass Drag on Militia Officer's Sword

(Circa 1840-1850)

Gilded Brass Drag on Militia Officer's Sword

(Circa 1830-1840)

Chased & Engraved Brass Scabbard Drag

(M1860 Presentation Cavalry Saber Dated 1863)

Steel Scabbard Drag

(M1840 Heavy Cavalry Saber "Wrist Breaker" Mexican War Date 1848)

Brass Foot Artillery Scabbard Chape/Drag

(M1832 Foot Artillery Scabbard.  Sword Dated 1844)

Brass Drag NCO Sword (pins missing)

(M1840 Non-Commissioned Officer's Sword)

Circa 1821 Silver Washed Bras Drag

( Early 19th Century American Infantry Officer's Eagle Head Spadroon)

Circa 1821 Gilded Brass Scabbard

( American Eagle Head Presentation Scabbard dated 1823)

French Style Early 1821-1835 Century Brass scabbard

(American Eagle Head Sword Scabbard Post 1821 Regulations)

English Style Early 19th Century Leather with Gilded Brass Chape

(Circa 1805 American Eagle Head Scabbard)

Ames M1832/34 General Officer's Sword Drag

(Sword Dated 1839)

French Style Early 19th Century Brass Scabbard

(American Mounted Infantry Eagle Head Saber)

M1840 NCO
Scabbard Throat

Note the surviving portion

of the red wool washer​​​





 

Myth or Fact?

When the term is used for a sword as being "married" to a scabbard,  it means that the scabbard is not original to the sword. 

The Drag & Chape
The drag is exactly that.  The part of the sword scabbard that drags on the ground.  Many sword's drags show extensive use and have been ground away significantly.  On the officer's sword's drags are often decorated and embellished.  Brass scabbards were favored by the French and carried over into the American market.  Many of the pre-Civil War scabbards were solid brass.  The acanthus leaf, along with acorns, eagles, and other floral designs were used in embellishing scabbards on officers' swords. Chasing, engraving, relief casting, and all combinations thereof were also used to accent the scabbard.  Work ranges from the simple and clean-cut, to elaboratley styled, reverse cast brass.  The degree of finishing and detail is usually a good indicator of grade.  Ames tended to follow a simpler, yet quality evident symmetry.  I have yet to own a high grade Ames scabbard, so one is not pictured.  However, almost always, the Ames name will be engraved on a plaque as opposed to being stamped.

Below are some examples of various drag styles. 

Myth or Fact?

Many swords have dents in the lower portion of the scabbard.  It is commonly speculated that these dings were intentionally inflicted to prevent rattling of the sword in the scabbard.  However, I have yet to see any official record or soldier account of this.  So, is this merely a seller's attempt of embellishment to explain condition, or was it an actual field practice?  If you have the answer, please let me know.

Middle Mount
The middle mount on the sword supports the second ring from which the sword is suspended from the body.  Like the top mounts, these can be plain to elaborately decorated.  The degree of embellishment, is often an indicator of sword grade, although not always.  Some fraternal scabbards are highly embellished, but lack collector value due to their numbers and association with civilian organizations.
Frog Stud
Frog studs are most commonly found on swords up to the 1840's although carried beyond the Civil  War years in the case of the U.S. Navy.  Frog studs were used to help hang the sword by inserting the stud through a leather eye of the belt hanger.  
Top Mounts
The top mount on many foot officer and leather scabbard swords conjoins with the throat forming a single piece.  Mounts support the carry rings or frog studs which attach the sword to the person.  Below are but a few examples of the many types and styles available to the collector.  A description is listed under each picture.
What's Wrong With This Picture?

(Left) The scabbard throat is a reproduction replacement.  It is not uncommon for scabbards to have lost their throats over a century or more.  In the picture directly above the replacement, is  an original Ames throat on an Ames scabbard.  Note the shape and overlap as opposed to the replacement.  Also, note the color differences in the patina between the upper mount and throat.  The throat on the replacement is a mottled color, which is an indicator of artificial aging.  Note the replacement throat lacks the naturally aged and even patina as seen on the top-mount below it.

Scabbard Throat

The scabbard throat, like other accessories, can be plain or highly embellished.  Some may be chased engraved or relief cast.  The throat guides the sword evenly into the scabbard and mitigates movement of the blade.

Types of Scabbards

Scabbards come in a variety of materials.  For quick reference, some of the common materials are listed below: 

  • Leather
  • Sharkskin
  • Brass
  • Gold or Silver Washed Brass
  • Sheet Steel variations blued and browned
  • German silver
  • Plate

A Quick Guide to The Scabbard

A sword without a scabbard (or with an incorrect "married" scabbard), is like looking at the "Mona Lisa" without her cloths; simply incorrect.  This will also reflect in the price of a sword; usually 40% or more.