October 30 - November 2, 2018 Firearms, Militaria, & Sporting
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UNIQUE & RARE 1847 CUSTOM AMES SOLID SILVER & GILT MEXICAN WAR PRESENTATION SWORD TO MAJ. BRADFORD. Unique, rare and unusual custom sword by The Ames Manufacturing Co., one of four ordered by H.E. Baldwin, New Orleans, as listed in the Ames Mexican War Presentation Log. This sword is the one identified as “antique”, ordered Sept. 1, 1847, and priced at $225.00. This sword is of exquisite quality rivaling the swords by Nicholas Noel Boutet from the Versailles Workshop. This wonderful sword was presented to Maj. Alexander Blackburn Bradford for service to the State of Mississippi during the War with Mexico. The sword is extremely unusual with 31-1/4? dbl edged blade with central fuller etched on both sides about 17-1/2? with both sides having foliate arabesque patterns, trophies of arms & flags with one side having the Liberty Cap in a sunburst about the center and the cartouche etched just below the ricasso “Ames Mfg Co / Cabotville, / Mass.”. The other side has an early American eagle facing to its left with a ribbon in its beak inscribed “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and clutching only arrows in its talons. The hilt is of heavy solid silver with raised cast oak leaves, and acorn patterns on each side, emblematic of victory, a braided rope pattern down one edge with foliate & floral patterns on other edge. The integral ferrule at the handguard has foliate decorations around its edge and the turban shaped pommel cap is heavily cast with foliate & floral patterns with a central raised dome which has the sword tang pulled through and peened over. The basket is extremely unusual for an American sword being cup rapier style with dbl foliate quillions and a single tapered handguard 4-3/4? at the handguard that tapers to a point near the pommel. It has decorations chased with flowers & scrolls en suite. The opposite side has a turned down flat panel. The outside center of the handguard is overlaid with a triangular shaped solid gold plaque which is inscribed in period script engraving “To / Major Alexander B. Bradford / of the / First Regiment / Mississippi Volunteers, / FROM THE / Citizens of Marshall County, / Miss.” This rare sword is accompanied by its orig solid silver scabbard with dbl hangers and raised applique foliate arabesque patterns with central medallion of an American trophy of arms and flags. The center of the sword has a raised applique of a large & very detailed trophy of arms and flags including two American flags. Top of the scabbard just below the throat, is beautifully engraved with an early American eagle facing to its right with a half sunburst over its head and clutching olive branches & lightning bolts in its talons. The panel between the hanger and central applique is engraved with battle honors, “Withlacochee(sic) / Monterey / Buena Vista”. The area below the central applique is deeply engraved in foliate arabesque patterns with a bald eagle emerging from between scrolls. The top rear of the scabbard, just below the throat is engraved “MADE / FOR / H.E. BALDWIN / & CO., / NEW ORLEANS / BY / AMES MFG CO. / CABOTVILLE / MASS.” and is surrounded by foliate arabesque patterns. The drag is light with foliate pattern langets up each edge with an oak leaf pattern on the tip. Alexander Blackburn Bradford was born 2 June 1799 in Jefferson County, TN, and died 9 July 1873 in Bolivar County, MS. He fought under Gen. Jackson in the War of 1812; was a member of the Tennessee State Senate in 1837; practiced law in TN & MS; he was a Brig. General of the 14th Brigade TN Militia in the Seminole War where he acquired the title “The Hero of Withlacoochee” (another listing shows him as a Colonel); a Major in the Mexican War in Jefferson Davis’ 1st Mississippi Regiment, serving with distinction, and subsequently a member of the Mississippi State Legislature. When the call to arms came for the Mexican War Mr. Bradford organized a company, the Marshall Guards, and with them immediately went to Vicksburg. When the company voted for officers of their unit Bradford received 350 votes to 300 for Jefferson Davis, however desiring a larger majority Bradford declined the position and Davis was subsequently elected Colonel, with Bradford accepting the position of Major. Little is known of Maj. Bradford after the Mexican War until the outset of the Civil War when he became a delegate from Mississippi to the Confederate Provisional Congress 1861-62. Maj. Bradford was reportedly fearless in battle, rushing up & down the lines at Buena Vista shouting: “My God, can’t one bullet hit me?”. This was in relation to his apparent desire for glory to be acclaimed as Jefferson Davis and Col. McClung who had both received wounds during the battle. Gen. Bradford, not known for his reticence or lack of vanity, after his proposal of marriage was rebuffed by a young lady, was overheard to exclaim, “Well, if you won’t marry Gen. Alexander B. Bradford, who in the hell will you marry?”. This is a sword that is probably one of a kind and belonged to a one of a kind early American hero. Coupled with the rarity of the design makes this a very highly collectible item. It has remained in the lineal descendants of Gen. Bradford, most recently, John Bradford Williamson, who is still in possession of Gen. Bradford’s portrait. CONDITION: Fine. Blade is an overall light gray cleaned patina with strong clear etching and a series of light nicks & scratches near the tip with some fine pitting. Handguard & hilt are sound and retain traces of orig gilt. The solid gold presentation plate on the handguard has a small crack and has been reattached. Scabbard is fine with some lightly cleaned areas over the inscription and engraving and retains 50-60% light gold gilt. Drag shows no appreciable wear. This is an extraordinary custom Ames sword, undoubtedly special ordered by a grateful citizenry for their local hero. From the collection of Jason Roselius.
Wooden case, powder flask, tool & bullet mold
Barrel Length
3 - 1/2"
.28 Percussion
FFL Status
1855 Root
Serial Number
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Minimum Bid: $9,000.00
Current Bid: $0.00
Estimate: $17,500 - $24,500
Number Bids: 0
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