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GAR Sword Types


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#1 SARGE

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 08:45 PM

Gentlemen,

I guess I can start off this new forum with one of my collecting interests. Grand Army of the Republic swords.

The GAR was the largest Union Veteran's Association and wore swords with their blue uniform. These swords were made after the style of the regulation "1860" Staff & Field Officers Sword that was worn until 1902. Here is an example of a standard regulation GAR sword with accouterments.

GAR_Sword_board.JPG

The belt is an 1870s period regulation sword belt with chain suspension. The chain attachments at the belt are styled after the 1870s - 1890s US spike helmet plate. The belt buckle is GAR regulation.

Here is a closeup of the hilt showing the entwined GAR logo on the clamshell guard. Also notice the insignia of the Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery, and Navy worked into the guard motif. The GAR cap insignia is shown attached to the board over the sword hilt.

GAR_sword_board_hilt.JPG

#2 SARGE

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 08:51 PM

A close up view of the GAR belt buckle on this particular belt. This is the late standard belt buckle that mimics the motif found on the clamshell guard of the GAR sword. The insignia of the Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery, and Navy are incorporated along with the GAR cypher. There are also other buckles that were regulation at different times.

GAR_board_buckle.JPG

Does anyone else have any GAR swords to show?

Edited by SARGE, 04 January 2007 - 09:15 PM.


#3 Greg Sebring

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 05:02 AM

Sarge,

That's a very cool sword and belt plate. I have one G.A.R. item and it's a reunion or meeting ribbon. I've always been interested in G.A. Custer and picked this up for $20.00 at a flea market probably 20 years ago.

Thanks for sharing the pictures......

Greg

GAR_ribbon.JPG

#4 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 08:40 AM

Hi, George,

I am just coming up to speed with the forum. Since I asked to have it created I ended up being away from the computer! :)

That is a fantastic sword. If I recall, I have seen others, but they didn't look like that one. Do you know if they were standardized? Or, if they were as various as their individual manufacturers?

Another question regarding the hangers. It looks to me that if you were to wrap that belt around your waist, the sword would be difficult to wear. When worn, would those hanger attachments be closer together? I've never seen the like am I find the whole set extremely interesting!

Kevin

#5 SARGE

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 09:09 AM

Greg,

Thanks for showing your GAR reunion badge. These badges have become quite collectable in the past few years. Ya gotta collect the whole set ya know! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/ermm.gif

The Custers are an interesting family. All overachievers it seems. As I am sure you know, George's brother won two Medals of Honor. He is buried at Fort Leavenworth and has two MOH insignia on his government issue tombstone.

Kevin,

Good job getting this forum put up! A Cracker Jack idea. Now let's keep it active. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif

As to the GAR swords... there were several different types. What the "regulation" GAR sword looked like depended upon the time period. The one above is the most commonly encountered pattern. Below are pages from a Simmons & Co catalog from the late 19th Century. The catalog shows various styles of swords available for the Grand Army of the Republic and the Sons of Veterans.

GAR_cat_3.JPG

Here is another page that shows other sword variations that were available.

GAR_cat_5.JPG

#6 SARGE

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 09:48 AM

The standard GAR belt was white. Some were white web cloth and some were white leather. Sometimes you will see black sword belts being worn in period photographs but the regulation color was white. The sword belts with chains are not often found as they were more fancy and expensive, costing about twice what a sword belt with leather slings cost. Here is a catalog description of the standard GAR sword belts, including the one pictured.

GAR_cat_1.JPG

#7 USMCRaiderGirl

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 10:07 PM

Nice to finally see some information about these GAR swords! They are quite beautiful to look at!

PS: I wonder who we send the $25 money order to now to get that nice GAR sword in the catalog you posted! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/naughty.gif

#8 SARGE

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 06:57 AM

Nice to finally see some information about these GAR swords! They are quite beautiful to look at!

PS: I wonder who we send the $25 money order to now to get that nice GAR sword in the catalog you posted! http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/naughty.gif


Raidergirl,

Thanks for the kudos. I bet somewhere in that catalog fine print that there is a disclaimer that says, "Prices subject to change without notice." Darn good idea though!

Here is another GAR sword that is sort of special. This is one that was owned by the post and was used by the member who was designated as "Officer of the Day."

GAR_OD_sword.JPG

Notice the etched blade and the sharkskin grip. The hilt is the same as the other sword posted but this one has a nice gilt finish and a white sharkskin (shagreen) grip instead of leather. Shagreen is a Turkish word for sharkskin and is usually the term seen in period sword catalogs for this particular grip material. Of course shagreen grips cost extra.

GAR_OD_sword_hilt.JPG

#9 SARGE

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:04 AM

Here is a closeup view of the clamshell guard showing the GAR logo.

GAR_OD_sword_guard.JPG

This is a closeup view of the blade showing the gilt etching. Of course, the gilt etch was also at extra cost.

GAR_OD_sword_blade.JPG

This is a closeup view of the blade ricasso showing the maker markings. This particular sword was manufactured by the Ames Sword Company.

GAR_OD_sword_Ames_mark.JPG

#10 USMCRaiderGirl

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Posted 08 January 2007 - 07:33 PM

Another beautiful sword! I'm just amazed to see a lot of these. The ones I've seen in the past were either in old books (so low quality black and white photo) or were in terribly poor shape. But these are amazing to look at!

PS: I need to stop looking at these! I might start wanting to buy one, and I bet they are more than my initial budget of $25. ;)

#11 SARGE

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 12:18 PM

Here is another variation of the GAR sword. This sword is shown in the Simmons & Company catalog with an alternative style leather scabbard. Some of these GAR swords were worn on slings and some were worn in frogs. This sword was worn from the belt in a frog.

GAR_leather_scab.JPG

A closeup view of the hilt showing the standard D shaped guard and black leather grip. The GAR had membership ranks and it is probable that these swords were worn by NCO members in the same manner as the Civil War period NCO swords were worn in frogs rather than being carried by slings attached to rings on the scabbards in the manner of officer swords.

GAR_leather_scab_hilt.JPG

#12 SARGE

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 02:36 PM

Another later style of GAR sword is this one as shown in the Simmons catalog.

GAR_recurve_sword.JPG

This style of sword can be found carried with slings as in this instance or carried in a frog like the sword scabbard above. Notice the recurve guard.

GAR_recurve_sword_hilt.JPG

#13 SARGE

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 02:42 PM

A view of the recurve guard showing the clamshell.

GAR_recurve_sword_guard.JPG

A view of the blade showing the oval shape and the etching.

GAR_recurve_sword_blade.JPG

#14 Kevin Beyer

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 05:52 AM

George,

I had no idea that these G.A.R. swords had so many variations. If you show any more, I am seriously considering seeking one or two for my own collection. And I definitely DO NOT need to start collecting anything new!

Seeing as the G.A.R. had so many members, would you consider these items common? What would be a fair market price for any of these types of swords?

Kevin

#15 SARGE

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 08:33 PM

George,

I had no idea that these G.A.R. swords had so many variations. If you show any more, I am seriously considering seeking one or two for my own collection. And I definitely DO NOT need to start collecting anything new!

Seeing as the G.A.R. had so many members, would you consider these items common? What would be a fair market price for any of these types of swords?

Kevin



Kevin,

I am afraid there are even more GAR and SV types. These have increased in value in recent years. Not every member had a sword so there were not as many as one might think. I would say that if the standard run-of-the-mill GAR sword was considered common that the presentation swords or those owned by the post are rarely encountered. A standard GAR sword should cost around $200 - $300 in nice condition.

Here is an interesting sword that is the first style of Sons of Union Veterans sword. The Sons of Veterans took over for the GAR after the last Gar members died in the first part of the 20th Century.

SV_sword.JPG

#16 SARGE

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 08:38 PM

While both the GAR and SV swords look very much like the 1860 Staff & Field sword, they all differ one from another.

Here is a closeup view of the hilt.

SV_sword_hilt.JPG

And, here is a closeup view of the clamshell guard showing the entwined Sons of Veterans SV cypher.

SV_sword_guard.JPG

#17 SARGE

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 10:11 AM

Here is an example of the later Sons of Veterans sword with a different clamshell guard. This type of guard dates from the 1890s forward and became the new regulation.

SV_Harding_sword.JPG

This particular sword is a wartime WWI presentation to a Captain serving in the US Army. It was presented to him by his SUV Post in 1917.

SV_Harding_sword_blade.JPG

Finally, a view of the guard showing the (then) new Sons of Union Veterans logo on the clamshell guard.

SV_Harding_sword_hilt.JPG

#18 Guest_ladymemi_*

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 08:29 AM

Here is another variation of the GAR sword. This sword is shown in the Simmons & Company catalog with an alternative style leather scabbard. Some of these GAR swords were worn on slings and some were worn in frogs. This sword was worn from the belt in a frog.

GAR_leather_scab.JPG

A closeup view of the hilt showing the standard D shaped guard and black leather grip. The GAR had membership ranks and it is probable that these swords were worn by NCO members in the same manner as the Civil War period NCO swords were worn in frogs rather than being carried by slings attached to rings on the scabbards in the manner of officer swords.

GAR_leather_scab_hilt.JPG


Hi I bought a GAR Sword & he said it looked like the 1860 model but he wasn't sure. Sooo, I guess I'm asking if you have or know where I can get information about them, I see your book that you have on here the Simmons & co do you know where I can buy one from? Also the sword I have has the # 103 engraved in the inside of the clamshell & on the Scabbard where the blade slides in at it has the #27 engraved in it & underneath that it has the letter D & on the 2 gold pieces where the belt goes it also has the #27. Do you know what this means? The D part of the handle is broken off & missing and I also noticed that on the clamshell how underneath the GAR yours has 2 swords where as mine has what looks like a scroll & above the GAR it has 1 single Sword. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/think.gif

#19 SARGE

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 08:49 AM

Hi I bought a GAR Sword & he said it looked like the 1860 model but he wasn't sure. Sooo, I guess I'm asking if you have or know where I can get information about them, I see your book that you have on here the Simmons & co do you know where I can buy one from? Also the sword I have has the # 103 engraved in the inside of the clamshell & on the Scabbard where the blade slides in at it has the #27 engraved in it & underneath that it has the letter D & on the 2 gold pieces where the belt goes it also has the #27. Do you know what this means? The D part of the handle is broken off & missing and I also noticed that on the clamshell how underneath the GAR yours has 2 swords where as mine has what looks like a scroll & above the GAR it has 1 single Sword. http://www.usmilitar...tyle_emoticons/default/think.gif


Ladymemi,

The Simmons catalogs are very difficult to come by and I don't know where you might find one I am afraid. I believe the numbers on your sword parts are part numbers so the sword maker would know which fittings to use to assemble the sword. These numbers had no meaning to anyone except the manufacturer. If you can post a photo of your sword perhaps I can make better comments about it.

#20 Guest_ladymemi_*

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 09:46 AM

Ladymemi,

The Simmons catalogs are very difficult to come by and I don't know where you might find one I am afraid. I believe the numbers on your sword parts are part numbers so the sword maker would know which fittings to use to assemble the sword. These numbers had no meaning to anyone except the manufacturer. If you can post a photo of your sword perhaps I can make better comments about it.


Thank you Sarge for getting back with me, I will take a picture of it tonight and post it. I appreciate all your help with this quest so to speak. I agree about the Simmons catalogs, I have looked for a while for one & have not been able to find one.

Thanks again,
Memi ;)

#21 Guest_ladymemi_*

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 05:34 PM

OK, I hope these pictures are enough for you to tell me something about this sword. Please let me know if you need any more information. :lol:

Attached Images

  • Shell_21.jpg
  • Sword___Scabbard_1.jpg
  • Broke_1.jpg


#22 SARGE

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 06:14 AM

Memi,

Your sword looks like a standard D guard GAR sword with the D guard broken as you indicate. I do see the second crossed sword on the guard but it is difficult to see. So, the clamshell guard design is the standard one. The scabbard is correct for the D guard sword but it looks like it is missing the little brass throat piece at the top of the scabbard. I think you have a standard GAR D guard sword that has unfortunately been damaged.

I hope this helps.

#23 Guest_ladymemi_*

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 05:23 PM

Memi,

Your sword looks like a standard D guard GAR sword with the D guard broken as you indicate. I do see the second crossed sword on the guard but it is difficult to see. So, the clamshell guard design is the standard one. The scabbard is correct for the D guard sword but it looks like it is missing the little brass throat piece at the top of the scabbard. I think you have a standard GAR D guard sword that has unfortunately been damaged.

I hope this helps.



Yes it helps me, thank you so much for all your help with this.

#24 Guest_ladymemi_*

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 07:55 AM

:blink:
Hi SARGE,
do you know what the meaning of the insiginas mean on the swords, (all of them) like the Eagle on the top of the handle.
I know it's a stupid question, but I'm trying to find out as much information about the swords as I can, and I know nothing on them except what I have been reading on this site.

Thanks,
Memi



Gentlemen,

I guess I can start off this new forum with one of my collecting interests. Grand Army of the Republic swords.

The GAR was the largest Union Veteran's Association and wore swords with their blue uniform. These swords were made after the style of the regulation "1860" Staff & Field Officers Sword that was worn until 1902. Here is an example of a standard regulation GAR sword with accouterments.

GAR_Sword_board.JPG

The belt is an 1870s period regulation sword belt with chain suspension. The chain attachments at the belt are styled after the 1870s - 1890s US spike helmet plate. The belt buckle is GAR regulation.

Here is a closeup of the hilt showing the entwined GAR logo on the clamshell guard. Also notice the insignia of the Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery, and Navy worked into the guard motif. The GAR cap insignia is shown attached to the board over the sword hilt.

GAR_sword_board_hilt.JPG



#25 SARGE

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 10:27 AM

Memi,

The eagle on the pommel of the sword is the Federal eagle and it has the US shield of stars and stripes on its chest. The crossed cannons on the knuckle guard (missing on your sword) and clamshell indicate the Artillery branch of the military. The other branches are indicated by the insignia on the clamshell guard. The crossed swords indicate Cavalry, the crossed muskets indicate Infantry, and the anchor indicates the Navy. Of course the intertwined letters GAR indicate the Grand Army of the Republic.

Edited by SARGE, 08 May 2008 - 10:27 AM.



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