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Lot
72184

General Ulysses S. Grant's Civil War Presentation Sword as "General in Chief of the United States Army 1864". A "Magnificen...

2007 June Civil War Grand Format Auction #663

 
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Auction Ended On: Jun 24, 2007
Item Activity: 2 Internet/mail/phone bidders
35,251 page views
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Lot Viewing:
Allstar Events Complex
2638 Emmitsburg Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Auction:
Eisenhower Hotel & Resort
Grand Ballroom
2634 Emmitsburg Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Description:
General Ulysses S. Grant's Civil War Presentation Sword as "General in Chief of the United States Army 1864". A "Magnificent Sword For General Grant!" read the headline in the Richmond Examiner on April 16, 1864. "The Most Beautiful And Costly Sword Yet Manufactured In This Country" proclaimed the St. Louis Dispatch. Truly a national treasure, this silver and gold jeweled presentation sword owned by General Ulysses S. Grant is one-of-a-kind, the only such example of precious craftsmanship and historical significance in private hands.

Presented to the future 18th president of the United States by the citizens of Kentucky who gave this token of their esteem to General Grant upon his promotion to "General in Chief of the Armies of the United States" in 1864, a major turning point in the Civil War. This was a historic event, as Grant was being elevated to the same level of command as only George Washington had ever achieved, prompting Kentucky patriots to raise money to purchase this unique and extremely valuable sword crafted by St. Louis silversmith and jeweler Henry Folsom.

Twenty-six mine cut diamonds compose Grant's monogram "U.S.G." set upon a large amethyst surmounted by a gold sunburst, the sword is crafted of pure silver and gold with the silver grip in the form of the goddess Victory. Over the goddess' head is an American eagle with wings spread. The sword is still in the magnificent original ivory mounted black japanned fitted presentation case. The 33-inch blade is intricately etched and engraved with battle scenes, which include a stand of arms, artillery firing, cavalry engagements as well as infantry scenes symbolizing Grant's command of the entire United States armed forces.

Grant was fresh from victories at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge and was brought in from the West by President Lincoln and Congress to win the war that had torn the nation apart for three long years. Within a year of Grant's promotion to General in Chief of the United States Armies the Confederate Army led by Robert E. Lee surrendered and the war was over. America was once again reunited. This was the highest rank ever achieved by any American since the Revolutionary War when George Washington was appointed General in Chief; a title shared by two men both of whom carried the fate of the country in their hands, and would both become great leaders after a war guiding our nation in a time of healing and rebuilding.

Provenance:
1. Ulysses S. Grant - 1864 (sword presented to him by citizens of Kentucky) - 1885 (his death)
2. Grant Family - 1885-1960s
3. Jay Altmeyer - 1960s-1989 (Altmeyer was a charter member of the American Society of Arms Collectors; the sword sold in 1989 for a then-world record price)
4. Donald Tharpe - 1989-present (Since 1989, the sword has been part of the Tharpe Collection of American Military History)
Exhibited:
Virginia War Memorial Museum, 1999
American Arms Collectors Semi-Annual Meeting (Best Single Weapon)
Greater Baltimore Antique Arms Collectors Show, 1995 (Best in Show)
The Liberty Heritage Society Musuem*****

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