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    Description

    The only example known...

    Confederate Naval Officer's Sword, Patterned After the U.S. M1852, by Firmin & Sons of London, Consigned by Descendants of Robert Baker Pegram, Commander of the Confederate Steamer CSS Nashville. Although the existence of this pattern sword was virtually unknown until the emergence of this remarkable specimen, recognizing that most Confederate naval officers resigned from US Navy service still in possession of their M1852 swords, it is a logical progression, and reasonable expectation, that a sword such as this would have been produced. A possible hint to the sword's precise point of origin may be found in Pegram's forays to England during the War, once aboard the Nashville and subsequently, in 1864, to procure arms and equipment to outfit the "Virginia Volunteer Navy".

    Careful examination of the sword clearly indicates that it is, in fact a "revamped" M1852 Ames. The 27½" blade exhibits an etch that, while very similar to that normally encountered on the Firmin dolphin heads swords, displays two distinct and noteworthy differences. The Confederate flag displayed in the center of the obverse utilizes the St. Andrews cross in the canton, rather than the normally encountered 1st National circle of stars. Additionally, the sword employs a more rudimentary ½" ricasso with the Firmin logo etched above on the reverse. This represents a radical difference from the rather long ricasso, inlaid with the brass
    "Proved" disc normally encountered in the Firmin dolphin heads. The blade is absolutely untouched with a smooth light gray patina, just some scattered salt and peppering. All etching with hand engraved details, deep and crisp. The reverse includes the Confederate Navy insignia with crossed cannons on a fouled anchor and the logo, "Firmin & Sons/ 153/ Strand/ &13/ Conduit St./ London". Both sides of the blade also include the normally encountered tobacco leaf vine and scroll motif. The all-brass hilt is virtually identical in form the the US M1852, with the obvious exception of a "C" replacing the "U" in the riband on the face of the guard. It is also of particular note that the entire hilt retains approximately 90% of the original gold "Sheffield" type plating, rather than the gilt normally encountered on Civil War period swords. The guard/knucklebow exhibit a slightly less refined finish, most notably on the inboard face and where the dolphin head joins the pommel cap, than is normally encountered on the Ames. The white fishskin grip, with twisted brass wire, is excellent. The sword retains the original black and gold bullion suspension cord for the knot, which is now missing, cylindrical in cross section and of a style previously encountered on Confederate swords.

    The brass mounted leather scabbard was manufactured by Ames and is so marked on the back of the top mount.. The scabbard has unquestionably always been with this sword. The scabbard is now in three pieces, but there is no loss and it could be professionally restored. The regulation style brass mounts are perfect, retaining traces of the original gilt.

    The sword is accompanied by a manuscript from the current owner detailing his inheritance of the sword from his father's estate in 1987, the gifting of the sword to his father ca. 1915, from William Allen Deas, who was his great uncle and was married to Lucy Cargell Pegram, the daughter of Robert Baker Pegram. Deas himself served gallantly in the Confederate service and was, in fact related by blood to Robert E. Lee. The consignor has also included detailed genealogical references and recollections of his earliest memories of "Seeing the sword over the living room mantle" in the house once occupied by Deas. An absolutely unique offering, of inestimable importance to the Confederate sword collector.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    29th-30th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,475

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