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Varangian

Another Named Springfield M1902 - Frank R. Lang

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This is a nice example with a 32" blade, purchased by Lang probably in 1903 or 1904, going by the Armory signature.  Lang was born in Portland, Maine, on 16 Nov 1876.  Before his military career he was an avid bicycler and distinguished member of the Century Road Club of America, holding several state records and club awards for his cycling feats. 

 

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He enlisted in the 1st Maine Infantry for service in the Spanish American War, serving first as the Regimental Sergeant Major at the age of 22 and later promoted to 2LT of Infantry in H Company.  The 1st Maine saw lots of countryside, but no overseas deployments.  He mustered out with his unit on 12 Nov 1898, but apparently the military bug had bitten hard.  He was offered a commission in the regular Army on 10 Apr 1899; by his own account he was initially a 2LT in the 9th Cavalry, but the official records only show his commission as a 2LT with the 9th Infantry.

 

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Lang deployed with his regiment to the Philippines where he saw action, and also deployed with the regiment to China to help rescue the diplomatic delegations during the Boxer Rebellion.  On 13 Jul 1900, Lang participated in the Battle of Tientsin, where the 9th suffered a 10% casualty rate and lost its commander, COL Emerson Liscum.  Lang was himself shot in the arm.  The wound was apparently not too inconvenient, as Lang continued to march with the 9th to participate in the Battle of Yangstun on 6 Aug 1900.  Here he was less lucky; a shell from one of the modern Chinese Krupps field pieces exploded directly above him, killing his horse and wounding him so severely he was on convalescence for over a year.  He would later be awarded the Silver Star and two Purple Heart medals for his actions in China.

 

He returned to the Philippines with the 9th in 1906, where he saw more action as the Commander of the 13th Company of Philippine Scouts, but his wounds continued to trouble him.  He was allowed to transfer to the Judge Advocate Corps on 18 Jun 1909, where he was promoted to Major and then medically retired on 25 Jun 1909 for wounds received in battle.  He returned to active duty that November, however, and served until October 1913.  In 1917, he was named Commandant of the Regiment of Cadets of the University of Maine.  Here he is, front row with the very pointy campaign hat,  likely posing with this very saber.

 

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Lang returned to duty in 1917 for service in France with the JAG.  He retired, this time for good, on 17 July 1921 as a Lieutenant Colonel in the JAG.  He died on 3 April 1954 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  

 

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Great story and great piece.  Thanks for showing us.

Marv

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Etched names on Springfield swords are really rare.  A  great piece with a great story,

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Varangian, you seem pretty savvy on cavalry sabers.  I as I turn 80, I'm thinking of down-sizing my collection somewhat, including my Springfield M1872 cavalry heavy variant.  This, of course, is the only real M1872 cavalry saber; those usually called that are the pattern 1880 Field and Cavalry officers' saber.  The problem is I really   don't how much to ask.   I've only ever seen one listed, and it was in the $5k-range.  Seems a bit steep, but is it reasonable?

M1872 Cav Springfield 11.jpg

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2 hours ago, reschenk said:

I as I turn 80, I'm thinking of down-sizing my collection somewhat, including my Springfield M1872 cavalry heavy variant.  This, of course, is the only real M1872 cavalry saber; those usually called that are the pattern 1880 Field and Cavalry officers' saber.  The problem is I really   don't how much to ask.   I've only ever seen one listed, and it was in the $5k-range.  Seems a bit steep, but is it reasonable?

 

 

Nice saber!

 

Well, it was steep and I'm the knucklehead who paid it.  I've been looking for one for a decade or so, and seemed to always be a day late when it came to snagging them for $200 in an auction where no one seemed to know or care what one was.  It was originally listed quite a bit higher, but it finally came down in price to the very limit of my pain tolerance, so I just went ahead and bought it.  Obviously it's more than the market thinks it's worth, as it sat there for a while at that price.  

 

That said, they only made about 106 or so of them.  And, as you noted, they don't pop up very often on dealers' sites.  When you look at a similarly-scarce, but better known, saber like the M1911 Experimental, they price between $3k-5k.  The M1798 sabers pop up for sale much more often and hold around $3k or more.  I would expect yours to bring at least that much, but the market now is pretty soft as we saw with the latest Poulin auction.  I'd just hold on to it, at least until the holidays.     

  


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