Jump to content

M1818 Nathan Starr Sabre Stamp ?


MSG MP

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

First posting to this forum but I have visited it many times and found a large amount of useful information. I have been collecting bayonets over the last few years but this was my first saber/sword that I purchased. I have read on the internet that Nathan Starr made a little over 10,000 of swords for state militias but have not been able to find this specific stamp. So, my question to you is:

Is it authentic?

Who's inspection stamp is displayed?

 

Thanks for any help in this matter. Sorry, could not figure out how to hyperlink on this forum just yet...

 

http://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww15/ph.../IMG_0254-1.jpg

http://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww15/photoh/IMG_0255.jpg

http://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww15/photoh/IMG_0253.jpg

http://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww15/photoh/IMG_0252.jpg

http://i701.photobucket.com/albums/ww15/photoh/IMG_0250.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

These M1818 sabers have an array of odd marks, as they were provided to various state armories and were the product of subcontracting.

 

It's where the US inspector's initials should be, but I've never seen a mark like it on aM1818, or anywhere else for that matter.

 

But I think it's definitely a genuine M1818, and a very interesting example...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info! I am sure there were several other unknowns who did the inspecting during that time period. Maybe somebody took a sick day and the fill in just made something up.. :dunno:

Link to post
Share on other sites
suwanneetrader

You have a Md 1818 (contract 12-28-1818), Cavalry Saber. 10,000 were made for Militia (no reg. US Cav at this time) 1820 - 22, for $5.00 each. Yours was inspected and left the factory in June 1821. In 1821 all were inspected by Luther Sage and marked LS, except 1,000 which were inspected by Joseph Weatherhead and John Newbury. It was (1960 -2000) when I was very active in collecting and researching weapons by the Starr family) thought this "S like" stamp was used by John Newbury, but I knew of a Md 1818 Non-Comm. (Art) stamped JN. So it could have bee used by Joseph Weatherhead. Andy Mowbray was compiling a definative book on Starr swords and other edged weapons by Starr when he passed away late 1990's If I recall the time correctly, and his son, Stuart (publisher and owner Man At Arms) says it was almost finished but not enough interest in these Federal Period swords to make printing profitable. Hope this helps Richard PS: I have not kept up with values but friends that still do tell me that except for the officers and Naval models prices have reduced back to the 1990's level.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been looking at Starr's on the east coast for several years now and have seen just the opposite, their prices go up over the past few years, vice down. which is sad as I was hoping to pick one up before prices got beyond my means. suwanneetrader, thanks for sharing that great info the stamps/contract and Mowbray's book.....I for one would have loved to see the book finished.

Link to post
Share on other sites
thanks for sharing that great info the stamps/contract and Mowbray's book.....I for one would have loved to see the book finished.

 

I'd be #2 in line...

Link to post
Share on other sites

#3, here.

 

My favorite magazine is without a doubt "Man at Arms." Stuart Mowbray does a great job with the publication; the articles are fantastic and his column "From the editor" is a hoot. And of course, the books they offer are world class.

Link to post
Share on other sites
suwanneetrader

Maybe if enough interest is shown he will print it. E-mail him at stuart@manatarmsbooks.com . I know he would appreciate any comments you relay about his magazine as well as the request for his Dad's Starr book. Stuart is a good young man and has always been nice to this old guy. Tell him Richard Marquette put you up to it. :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites
You have a Md 1818 (contract 12-28-1818), Cavalry Saber. 10,000 were made for Militia (no reg. US Cav at this time) 1820 - 22, for $5.00 each. Yours was inspected and left the factory in June 1821. In 1821 all were inspected by Luther Sage and marked LS, except 1,000 which were inspected by Joseph Weatherhead and John Newbury. It was (1960 -2000) when I was very active in collecting and researching weapons by the Starr family) thought this "S like" stamp was used by John Newbury, but I knew of a Md 1818 Non-Comm. (Art) stamped JN. So it could have bee used by Joseph Weatherhead. Andy Mowbray was compiling a definative book on Starr swords and other edged weapons by Starr when he passed away late 1990's If I recall the time correctly, and his son, Stuart (publisher and owner Man At Arms) says it was almost finished but not enough interest in these Federal Period swords to make printing profitable. Hope this helps Richard PS: I have not kept up with values but friends that still do tell me that except for the officers and Naval models prices have reduced back to the 1990's level.

Thanks for the wonderful information! Over the years of hunting and gathering a small collection of bayonets and daggers, makers marks always interested me. I will continue to educate myself with the information you provided. Not a bad find for being at the bottom of a closet at an Estate sale... :o

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 7 years later...

Below are some photos of my latest acquisition, a Starr M1808 horseman’s saber. I decided to revive this thread to see if I can learn a little more about this sword. I've researched most of the available literature, and there really isn't much info out there about this particular model. I wish Stuart would publish his father's work on Starr swords - I for one would certainly buy it! My new sword:

post-160923-0-67055800-1519350203_thumb.jpg

My questions:

First, what is the proper designation of this saber? I see it called alternately both the M1808 and the M1810, with M1808 being the more common. I suspect the 1808 date comes from Harold Peterson who in his “old testament” lists this sword as item “26. Militia Cavalry Sword by Starr, c.1808”. According to Peterson, these swords were made under State contract while Starr was making swords for several New England States prior to the Federal Government provision of arms to the States under the Arming of the Militia Act of 1808. The M1810 designation may come from Richard Bezdek’s work “Swords and Sword Makers of the War of 1812” which asserts Starr received a contract c.1810 for cavalry sabers. He provides very little information about this contract, not even any evidence to support its existence, much less details on its dates or the numbers of sabers ordered/delivered, etc. Hicks, in his 1940 work, does not even mention the existence of this model. My guess is that Bezdek is right and that Starr did receive a contract in 1810 similar to the Winner contract, but that is just a hunch for which I have no evidence.

Second, there are two variations in the markings on the blades of these swords. Some are stamped “U S” on the reverse side of the blade like my saber above, others are marked with a “V” as shown below. (Presumably the "V" is for “viewed” or “verified”.) Both varieties are stamped on the obverse with the name “N.STARR” in raised letters in a sunken cartouche.

post-160923-0-69757800-1519350758_thumb.jpg

What is the significance, if any, of the difference in markings? One possibility which comes to mind is that the “U S”-marked swords were purchased by the Federal Government for its own use, and that the “V”-marked swords were purchased by the Federal Government for issue to the States under the Arming of the Militia Act. (I do not believe Peterson was right in stating that these swords were purchased by the States directly. They are too uniformly marked. If purchased separately by the various States, I would expect to see a variety of inspection/accession marks, not just a uniform “V”.) Another possibility would be timing, with one mark being used first, then the other.

 

A friend who is quite knowledgeable about early Federal swords suggested another explanation. In his work on Swords of the Springfield Armory, Burton Kellerstadt tells us Springfield produced horsemen’s sabers from 1808 until 1812. In his discussion of these swords, he includes a 10 Sept 1812 letter from Calander Irvine, the Commissary General, suggesting 500 cavalry blades currently at the Springfield Armory be transferred to his location in Philadelphia, and that he would have them hilted. There is no follow-up correspondence to indicate whether this was done and, if so, by whom. Bezdek, however, states in his book that Starr “Mounted 500 cavalry saber blades for the U.S. Springfield Armory (1812)”. He provides no source for this allegation or any further details. If he is correct, however, my friend suggests that the “U.S.” stamp may indicate these M1808 swords were mounted with Springfield made blades.

What do you all think?

Link to post
Share on other sites
suwanneetrader

My photos are 25 to 50 years old, many are faded so I'm not going to scan any. I did find some notes from when John Hammer was trying to trade me a Starr M1808 Saber & a C Williams M1812 Starr Saber he got in 1961 from Johnathan Peck Collection in on my 1808 Starr Cutlass and also correspondence with Andy Mowbray when he was working on a Starr Book. I had an 1808 Saber with a V on the blade and a P on the Knuckle bow.. I still own an 1808 with US marking as I only knew of 5 or 6 so marked. I have not any info to confirm US marked are US Federal purchase and the unmarked or V marked were for the State purchased or Militia Act but I thought so at the time. I remember a Starr - like saber with the 1808 type groove on the blade with no markings at all but blade was more like an 1812 saber than the 1808's.. I thought I had a copy of the 1810 purchase contract but I can not find it so I'm probably confused with a later contract. Any and all items by the Starr Family were interesting to me and I collected them. Their factory, which still stands, spanned a period from 1798 until about 1882.. Not just weapons but plows, planes, Fancy cutlery (I had a presentation silver set from their New York Sales/Showroom . Also working knives, tools, etc. Richard .

Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard, thanks for the info. I really did hope you would have info on the possible contract. The swords themselves certainly suggest there was one, but aside from the unsupported assertion in Bezdek, I've never seen any information on one, If one could be found, it might answer a lot of questions about his particular model, when it was made, how many, etc. I wonder if there is anything on this topic in Andrew Mowbray's notes for his unpublished book?

Link to post
Share on other sites

A related question: Both Peterson and Bezdek state the Starr M1808/M1810 had a leather scabbard. I have never seen an original leather scabbard for one of these, although I have seen a reproduction Hussar-style leather scabbard that noted sword restoration expert Jim Brown made for Dick Bezdek". I don't know whether he had an original on which he model it or not.

 

post-160923-0-08898100-1519517897_thumb.jpg

 

I have, however, seen at least 2 with all-steel scabbards similar to those found on the M1812 improved and M1813 Starr cavalry sabers:

 

 

post-160923-0-59506700-1519518470.jpgpost-160923-0-81729000-1519518606.jpg

 

My question, then, is were the M1808s originally issued with leather scabbards or metal scabbards? If leather, were they later replaced by metal scabbards. Does anyone have a good photo of either variety?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.