Published: August 15, 2000
Civil War Sword Highlights Cape Cod Sporting Auction
Annual Sale Offers 250 Lots
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – Eldred’s held its annual Sporting Auction of almost 250 lots on July 27, with decorative wooden bird carvings, decoys and rare firearms leading the event.
The star of the day was an extremely rare Civil War period presentation sword. It was manufactured by Ames Manufacturing Company, Chicopee, Mass., and presented to Colonel Horace Clark Lee of Massachusetts in 1865. The brass scabbard was engraved with eagles, oak leaves and fife and drum memorabilia. Etched along the length of one side of the blade, from left to right, were “Entered Service as Colonel. Sept. 3rd, 1861,” “Provost Marshall Genl. Department No. Carolina, June 1863,” “Brevet Brig. Gen. March 1st, 1864,” “Captured May 16th, 1864,” “Prisoner in Libby at Richmond,” “Prison Pen at Maron, Geo,” and “With 50 Comrads [sic], placed under fire of our batteries at Charleston S.C. June 15th 1864, and each day until exchanged. Aug 2nd 1864.”
The piece was also etched with the dates of many battles, including Roanoke Island in February of 1862; Newbern on March 14, 1862; Trenton on July 26, 1862; and Petersburg on May 9 and 10 of 1864, among others. With some minor pitting to the blade, the sharkskin handle with brass wraps in very good condition, the sword reached $19,550.
Collectible firearms drew many bidders. A rare Richmond Armory Confederate 58-calibre musket, stamped “1863 C.S. Richmond, Va.,” sold for $8,337. Two revolvers in particular far exceeded expectations: a Colt First Generation 44-calibre revolver and an 1853 Colt 44-calibre Army revolver sold for $1,840 and $1,725 respectively. A Civil War era 50-calibre Smith carbine sold for $1,610 and an 58-calibre 1861 Colt musket sold for $1,322.
Post-Civil War firearms also exceeded expectations. An 1894 Winchester lever action rifle rose to twice its estimate, selling for an even $1,000, and a 45-calibre Colt A1 U.S. Army semi-automatic pistol brought $862.
The exceptionally decorated and much-sought-after bird carvings by A.E. Crowell of East Harwich, Cape Cod, have always attracted many collectors. This year two carvings in particular – one of a life-sized Baltimore oriole and the other of a life-sized blue jay – exceeded their estimates, reaching $5,980 and $4,887 respectively.
Many of the 15 Crowell sculptures offered also stormed past estimates. A life-sized hummingbird sold for $2,760, a rare canvasback drake decoy sold for $1,955, and a miniature robin went as high as $1,050. Four shorebird decoys attributed to William Mayhew sold for $1,725 and two golden plover decoys attributed to Frank Adams sold for $1,121.
A unique black bear rug mount, a lot that included a letter from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation explaining that the bear was 23.75 year old when it was shot, sold for $632. Other rdf_Descriptions, including a seven-point buck deer head mount and many assorted fishing rods, reels, tackle and decoys were also purchased.
Prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
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