December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
Born in France, Edward Gustave Mathey enlisted as First Sergeant in Company C, 17th Indiana on May 31, 1861, was promoted to Second Lieutenant on May 1, 1862, and resigned August 10, 1862, due to taking a commission in the 81st Indiana as of September 1, 1862. With that regiment he saw action at Chickamauga in 1863, and in 1864 at Resaca, Kennesaw, Marietta, Atlanta, Jonesborough, Franklin, and Nashville. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on March 21, 1863, Captain November 8, 1863, and Major September 12, 1864. He was honorably mustered out on June 13, 1865, and received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the newly formed 7th U.S. Cavalry on September 24, 1867, with promotion to First Lieutenant on May 10, 1870. He is best known for his role at the Battle of Little Big Horn where, in command of Company B, he served as escort to the pack train, bringing provisions and the regiment’s reserve ammunition up to meet Major Frederick Benteen’s battalion and the shattered battalion of Reno, in time to endure the siege of their hilltop position until rescued by General Alfred Terry’s column on June 27, 1876. Mathey was subsequently promoted to Captain on September 30, 1877 and retired as a Major on December 11, 1896. Although retired in 1896, he kept up his military connections, being advanced to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1904, and passed away ten years later, in 1915 in Colorado. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The lot consists of four (4) pieces: (A) Mathey’s Model 1860 cavalry saber. The saber features a slightly curved blade with visible markings on the ricasso that read “US / C.E.W. / 1862” on the obverse and “D. J. Millard Clayville, NY.” On the reverse. The blade is followed by a brass hilt which has since been nickeled. The grip features a grooved, center-swelled wooden handle wrapped in black leather which is tightly bound to the grip with double twisted brass wire that fits neatly in the grooves of the handle. The sword is complete with its original scabbard featuring brass mounts and two carry rings which matches the nickel finish of the sword. This sword is not only a scarce, legitimately identified saber carried by an officer of the 7th Cavalry present at the Little Big Horn, it bears company, regimental, and individual rack markings indicating prior issue to enlisted men in the 7th Cavalry, all in companies in Custer’s battalion in the fight. The ricasso is stamped “C” and “7" over “4” over the maker’s mark, indicating issue to Tom Custer’s Company C, trooper rack #4, with the low rack number possibly indicating issue to one of Tom Custer’s sergeants. In addition, the knucklebow is stamped 7 / L / 28 and 72, indicating issue in Calhoun’s Company L, first to the trooper with rack number 28 and then to trooper with rack number 72, either before or after its use in Company C. In both cases this use would be prior to Mathey’s acquisition of the saber, likely for field use in preference to the much lighter, and hardly effective, M1872 cavalry officer’s saber. Mathey retained the saber as a memento after retirement, along with his M1872 officer’s saber, which surfaced from his estate at the same time and were both sold at Cowan's auctions in 2006. CONDITION: The edge of blade is rough and exhibits various chips which differentiate in size. There is recession of the nickel finish along the edge of blade, exposing the original steel. The hilt exhibits slight yellowing. The grip exhibits leather loss, exposing the wood handle. About half of the leather remains and there are chips in the exposed wood. The scabbard retains most of its nickel finish with scattered light abrasions. One of the brass carrying rings on the scabbard has been relocated backward approximately 4”. He had the scabbard altered for wear on a 1902 style belt by moving one ring and the sword plated. Overall good. Mathey may have had the sword re-nickeled in order to keep up with current regulations, despite his retirement several years prior, as he could have had this and other swords as decorations at his residence. (B) Mathey’s commission to Captain dated September 30, 1877. The document measures approximately 19” x 15” and is contained in a large plastic sleeve. CONDITION: The commission was once folded and exhibits creases and slight wrinkles. There are scattered areas of water damage and staining, especially around the bottom edges. The print and writing remain legible but the ink exhibits signs of fading. Overall good. (C) Brass tag marked “MATHEY” on the obverse and “7 CAV” on the reverse, CONDITION: Excellent. (D) Cabinet card of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The cabinet card is marked “Mora 707 Broadway, N.Y.” at the bottom and “RI 4182” with pencil on the reverse. CONDITION: The cabinet card exhibits yellowing from age and scattered light foxing. The picture remains clear and is unobscured. The corners are mostly intact with little signs of creasing or tears. Overall very good. The sword is incredibly rare. Not only is it identified to an officer who survived the Battle of Little Big Horn, but the sword is also marked to companies which were involved in the massacre. This is an excellent grouping of items from a career Army officer who fought in multiple wars and survived the “Custer Massacre.” JLD
Blade Length
Overall Length
Prov and custer picture
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $7,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium:
Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000
Number Bids: 2
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
Have One To Sell

Auction Notepad


You may add/edit a note for this item or view the notepad:  

Submit    Delete     View all notepad items