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    Description

    Uniform, Sword and Daguerreotype of An American Diplomatic Officer Appointed to Represent the United States in the Court of Napoleon III C. 1850. The uniform consists of an exquisite quality double breasted blue wool, with white silk facings, coatee. White silk lining with single interior breast pocket and interior tail pockets, lined with white polished cotton. All buttons are OD 23 (Albert) with G & Cie / Paris backmark. There are eight buttons on each breast as well as two buttons on each tail. The double breasted configuration is fully functional and the white facings can be turned in and the coat fully buttoned. The 2 14" high standup collar is bound with heavy bullion cord and covered with very heavy superb quality gold bullion embroidery of oak leaves and acorns, as are the 2 1/2" split cuffs and 2 1/2" faux tail pocket flaps. Coat in exceptional condition with just one small moth hole on the back of the collar, some noteworthy wear on the silk lining inside the collar, and a few small holes in the body lining. An absolutely gorgeous coat. Accompanied by the regulation white wool vest and trousers. the vest has a white cotton belted back, five button front (buttons cuff size OD 23 with same backmark), two front pockets lined with white polished cotton and a 1 3/8" high standup collar. Condition overall about perfect. Trousers of incredibly soft white wool with four hole one piece brass suspender and fly buttons. White silk lining. 1 1/2" wide gold bullion stripe woven with oak leaves and acorns on each outer leg seam. Boot cut with slight flare at the cuff and straps to button underneath the shoe/boot. Some scattered light stains that would probably clean, else perfect condition.
    The regulation sword is extremely rare with only a handful of specimens extant. The hilt of gilt brass is about mint retaining 99% of the original gold wash. The knucklebow incorporates oak and laurel leaf clusters and terminates in a ram's head where it joins the guard. Open mouth with tongue, finely detailed eaglehead, with the quillon also being an eaglehead. Mother of pearl plaque grips with decorative brass ferrule at the base and brass strips with stars at the sides. The small sword style blade is triangular in cross section and decorated for half its length with fire blue and gilt. The blade retains the original red wool washer. The remainder of the blade retains all of the mint luster. Sadly, the lower approx. 7" of the blade at the tip are broken/missing. The form fitted leather scabbard is also broken through at approximately the same point as the blade but with no loss. The gilt brass throat with frog stud, and 5" tip, are both profusely decorated with leaf and scroll engraving. A 1 5/8" X 3 1/4" ink script tag is attached to the sword, "Sword worn by Henry Parish when he was presented to Napoleon and Eugenie about 1850", and on the reverse "Uniform and hat worn at this time in my black trunk in summer or winter clothes in store room 1947" Obviously written by one of Parish's descendants. The sword is accompanied by the original black oil skin storage case.
    Henry Parish was born in New York City in 1830, graduated from Columbia in 1849, and that same year traveled to Paris, returning to the United States in 1853. it was during this period that he tendered his diplomatic service. Parish went on to become a very successful business man in the second half of the 19th century and spent 44 years as President of the New York Life Insurance and Trust Company, dying in 1917 at the age of 88. The set is accompanied by an oval 1/4 plate daguerreotype portrait of Parish, probably taken in France C. 1850, based on the format and casing. It is accompanied by a 2"X 3" ink script note identifying Parish along with his birth and death dates. An absolutely exquisite image, totally untouched, in pristine condition, in a minty black pebbled leather push button case.
    The set is further accompanied by a 13" X 17" photograph album bearing the following ink inscription on the front page, "Eliza M. Perkins from Henry Parish 1896 Views of house and rooms 1 West 19th St." Parish resided at this address for many years. The album has heavy gilt edge leaves and contains 13 magnificent 9 5/8" X 13" albumen views of Parish's lavish home and its interior. A remarkable graphic testimony to the wealth and station attained by Parish in his subsequent business career. The heavy brown leather covers of the album show considerable wear but the contents are mint and clearly the work of a highly skilled photographer.
    A remarkable grouping for both rarity and historical importance, and especially desirable for its association with the court of Napoleon III. A rare opportunity.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2011
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,172

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