December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
The formation of independent volunteer companies of uniformed militia in California was authorized in April 1850. In the wake of the admission of the state in 1850 and the Gold Rush, the militia companies often found themselves tasked with confronting Indian raids, bandits, land disputes, vigilante actions, and general civil disturbance. Livingston Low Baker was born in Maine in 1827, educated in Boston, and went to California during the Gold Rush of 1849. He was a co-founder in 1853 of Baker and Hamilton, a large dealer in hardware and agricultural implements operating in Sacramento and, by 1867, also in San Francisco. As a prominent businessman and member of society, he was involved for many years in the volunteer militia and the California National Guard. The Sacramento Guards, a company of light infantry numbering 45 men were organized August 11, 1855, with Baker as Orderly Sergeant. Baker was elected Captain December 17, 1855, obviously the occasion for the presentation of this sword. The company fell victim to the chaos of the vigilante crisis of 1856, when the San Francisco Vigilance Committee took over the city from May through August, defied the Governor and formed their own army, which reached more than four infantry regiments, fifteen artillery pieces, two companies of dragoons and several others. The few militia companies responding to the Governor's order put down the vigilante movement by force were quickly disarmed, and in fact many prominent citizens were members of both the militia and the vigilantes. The Sacramento Guards met on June 11, 1856 and solved the dilemma by disbanding, handing over their arms to the Sutter Rifles, and almost immediately regrouping as the Independence City Guards, who were the only uniformed militia company in Sacramento by 1858, officially reorganized under state law on June 28, with Baker as Captain. A number of its men joined the Union army during the war. Baker remained in California, becoming captain of a company designated the, "National Guard" Oct. 7, 1862 and from late 1865 to 1866 was colonel of the 4th Regiment of Infantry National Guard of California. He married twice, in 1859 and in 1875. He died in California in 1892 and is buried in Oakland. The sword is quite elegant and is worthy of presentation to a newly appointed captain. The presentation was applied on a silver shield that was placed on the guard and reads "Presented / To / Capt. L.L. Baker / by the / Sacramento Guards / Dec. 1855". The blade is beautifully etched and exhibits evidence of frosting. The etched designs on the obverse blade begin with a long branch of oak leaves and acorns that are neatly tied at the end with a bow. The center of the blade contains the bold letters "US" which are foliate in nature as they end with budding flowers and are contained in a buckler shield that is flaked by a foliate vignette and flower pedals. The letters are followed by a budding rose bush that is protruding from a decorative vase resting on a shelf above a budding flower and weaved designs. The reverse blade is similarly etched with a long foliate branch that is tied off with a bow and is followed by erect flower pedals that hover over a bold federal eagle that carries a banner in its mouth which reads "E Pluribus Unum". The eagle is followed by acanthus leaves that rest over a row of drums and a daisy in bloom. The designs end at the ricasso which is stamped with the Gebruder Weyersberg king's head proof. A single foliate vine creeps up the spine and travels the length of the blade etchings. The foliate motifs blend onto the guard which is evidenced by the drooped pedal quillon and the flowers that adorn the knucklebow. The left guard can be rotated down for convenience and the hinge functions properly. The cast brass grip exhibits simulated braided wire and ends at an urn shaped pommel, also adorned with leaves. The scabbard is constructed completely of brass and features two ring mounts and a belt hook. The scabbard is also adorned and exhibits ornate hand engraved designs. The ring mounts are surrounded by three towering foliate leaves with simulated scales piercing the gaps between the leaves. There is a bold federal eagle perched on a patriotic shield at the center between the mounts. The drag also exhibits the foliate and scaled designs and the scabbard compliments the designs on the blade. CONDITION: The blade remains bright with strong frosting. There are scattered scratches and areas of pitting, which are located on the spine and towards the ricasso. The hilt exhibits a pleasant mustard patina with scattered blemishes throughout. The guard, pommel, and knucklebow are loose. The scabbard remains bright and exhibits areas with a mustard patina that matches the hilt. The ring mounts and hook remain securely in place. There are a few small dents in the scabbard towards the drag. This is an excellent pre-Civil War presentation sword from a time of lawlessness and vigilantism in the American West. Overall very good. JLD
Name
Value
Blade Length
32"
Overall Length
39"
Paperwork
Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $2,400.00
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Number Bids: 7
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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