December 14-17, 2021 Collectible Firearms & Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/14/2021
James Kent was born in Petersburg, Virginia on January 8, 1830. He graduated from William and Mary College at age 18, and the University of Pennsylvania at 21. He lived in Linden, Alabama, for a time, married and moved to Selma about 1855 to practice medicine. Kent commanded the Independent Blues, organized in July 1859 in Selma, Alabama. He was presented this sword on July 4, 1860, as a token of appreciation by the newly formed Governor’s Guard, also of that city for assisting in their instruction in drill (See Military Images July 1992 p.16-17). Both militia companies were activated and sent to Mobile in January 1861 where they were posted to Fort Morgan, a recently seized U.S. facility guarding the city. Before leaving Selma on January 11, 1861, the Independent Blues were photographed at the wharf on Water Street. The image is in the Alabama state archives and Kent is certainly among the officers posed in front of the company. The company remained at Fort Morgan for some two months and later entered Confederate service, on May 10, 1861, as Company D of the 8th Alabama, officially electing Kent again as captain, and organizing on June 9, 1861 for three years’ service. The regiment reached Petersburg Virginia on June 6, 1861 where Kent was welcomed as former resident. In November 1861, however, he resigned from the Independent Blues and returned to Selma, where he helped organize the 44th Alabama, of which he was elected Colonel in May 1862. The regiment was assigned to Law’s Brigade, Longstreet’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. The regiment was sent to Richmond in June and made part of Wright’s brigade with three Georgia regiments. Kent was obliged, however, had to go on leave by July, apparently trying to recuperate in Petersburg, and to resign for health reasons on September 1, 1862 the same time that the regiment he had organized was getting its first taste of battle at Second Manassas. There are several health reasons listed in records that indicate the cause of Kent’s resignation. He returned to Selma and continued to practice medicine, serving briefly as a surgeon again during Wilson’s attack on the city in April 1865. He retired from medicine in 1876, and served briefly in the state legislature. Kent passed away in Birmingham, Alabama on May 24, 1881. This beautiful Ames presentation sword merits as a token of appreciation for an officer who helped teach his men how to properly drill. The presentation is located on the upper mount with an engraved scroll vignette and reads “Governor’s Guard to / Dr. James Kent / July 4, 1860.” The sword is quite elegant, and when unsheathed, the blade features beautiful etched foliate scrollwork combined with patriotic motifs. The etchings on the obverse begin with floral scrolls that morph into acanthus leaves and bellflowers followed by a beautiful spread winged eagle holding a banner that reads “E Pluribus Unum” between its talons. The eagle is followed by more foliate scrolls which end at the ricasso. The reverse is nearly identical to the obverse, starting with floral scrolls which morph into scrolls of acanthus leaves interrupted in the center by the letters “U.S.”, which replace the eagle, continuing with more scrolls of acanthus leaves ending at the maker mark just above the ricasso. The blade is marked “Ames Mfg. Co, / Chicopee / Mass.” With beautiful acid etched lettering. The blade meets the hilt, which is of cast brass, featuring a guard adorned with open floral and foliate scrolls. The quillon is decorated with a leaf, as well as swirl designs on either side. The grip features a grooved, center-swelled wooden handle wrapped in high quality sharkskin. The skin is tightly bound to the grip with double twisted brass wire that fits neatly in the grooves of the handle. The tiered brass pommel is decorated with a flower and laurel leaves. The sword is complete with its gilted brass scabbard which features brass mounts and a brass drag. Besides the presentation, the scabbard is marked “Made by / Ames Mfg. Co. / Chicopee Mass.” On the reverse between the throat and upper mount. The mounts are beautifully cast and chased and the upper mount features a spread winged eagle with its breast protected by a patriotic shield. The middle mount contains a panoply of arms. The lower mount is plain, but there is a magnificent engraving of a panoply of arms, topped with a shining liberty cap, and more engraved scrollwork in between the middle and lower mounts. CONDITION: The blade exhibits a pleasing light gray patina and still retains some of its shine. The are scattered areas of pitting towards the tip and one chip along the edge of the blade. The tip is slightly indented. The guard exhibits slight patina but remains bright. The grip is in very good condition with one small area of sharkskin loss underneath the guard and the brass wire remains tight. The pommel exhibits a mustard patina. The scabbard retains some of its gilt with obvious areas of heavy wear. The engraved designs remain crisp and unmolested. The upper mount wobbles slightly. The scabbard body exhibits scattered blemishes throughout its length as well as what appear to be two small soldered repairs on the lower mount. All screws remain in place as well as the carry rings which remain secured to the scabbard. Overall very good. The sword is accompanied by a binder of research with the photo of Dr. Kent and his men. There is also a copy of the July 1992 Military Images magazine (pages 16-17) which details Kent's sword presentation. This is a very nice Ames presentation grade sword that was presented to an officer who was clearly admired by the men under his command. Although he served briefly, Dr. Kent was part of a well-known Alabama unit which had significant roles in major battles during the war. JLD
Blade Length
30 - 1/2"
Overall Length
36 - 1/2"
Binder of Research
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $5,500.00
Estimate: $6,000 - $10,000
Number Bids: 13
Auction closed on Friday, December 17, 2021.
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