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Matthew Stagmer
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Location: Maryland, USA
Joined: 23 Jan 2008

Posts: 473

PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2011 1:30 pm    Post subject: Early American Antique Saber -         Reply with quote

This is an early American saber made by Nathan Starr of Connecticut. He and his son Nathan Jr were the leading sword makers in America until 1830 when they stopped making swords and gave up the US military contract to Ames. They made roughly 2000 swords of this and later styles.

This is one of the more early swords by them. They started making swords in 1798. The later swords have more pronounced curves in the blades.

One reference says that they were the first production sword company in America. Making this and other swords by them a true part of US history and well worth sharing with you all.

The sword has seen some improper 'cleaning' but is still quite sturdy. Not sure how long it will be in our hands but we wanted to share.

Blade length is 33.75"
POB is 8.25" from hilt
Small fuller up the spine that ends 6.75" from the tip
fuller width is about .25"
blade width at shoulder 1.5"
blade width just before point 1.25"
distal taper is from 1/4" - 1/8"
It has a slight false edge and the point is rounded about the same as a quarter

The hilt looks to me to be iron as it looks much like old wrought. The handle is wood and spiral fluted with leather over. There is 2 small pieces of brass wire at the top of the hilt making it obvious that the flutes once had brass wire inlayed.






Here you can see the top of th end cap is brazed on with brass.












Matthew Stagmer
Maker of custom and production weaponry
www.BaltimoreKnife.com
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,835

PostPosted: Wed 26 Jan, 2011 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing Matt

I think you may be misreading the reference mentioned, as the elder had been producing swords before the 1798 contract. That contract is listed as a run of 2000 but to keep it in better context, Abel Buell of Hartford received a US contract in 1798 for 1000 of the same pattern. In a different context perhaps all the work in in PA including Prahl's contract for 1000 horsemans sabres in 1776 and another smaller contract in 1781. Sword making was full tilt after the war of independence and many thousands of swords produced before the 1798 contracts. The Starr family US contracts were well over 30,000 edged weapons by the end of the 1812 conflict Nathan the elder had been a militia armourer during the revolution, as were others across the colonies. The & Co was Nathan's partners Francis and his son Wilbert Sage.

Cheers

GC

Here is a quick internet blurb
http://armscollectors.com/mgs/four_big_black_swords.htm

IIRC, Sean Scott over at SFI had acquired one for his cavalry interests.

edited for accuracy and clarification


Last edited by Glen A Cleeton on Fri 28 Jan, 2011 4:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Matthew Stagmer
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Location: Maryland, USA
Joined: 23 Jan 2008

Posts: 473

PostPosted: Thu 27 Jan, 2011 5:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah Glen! I was hoping to hear from you on this. Thanks for sharing. I was thinking of posting this at SFI for others to see.

Thanks for the info my friend. I have held many swords with great history but this one somehow hit home for me. Being a family of smiths and US makers and all. Nice that there is so much info out there on the Starrs. I honestly had only done about 20 mins of research befor posting this so it was nice hearing what you had to say.

Thanks a bunch. Hope you enjoy seeing this. Shame someone had to try and "Clean it up" with a dremmel but it is still a nice piece of US history.

Matthew Stagmer
Maker of custom and production weaponry
www.BaltimoreKnife.com
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Thu 27 Jan, 2011 10:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Nathan Starr & Co. that is printed on the Forte of the blade seems awfully modern in its script. I have a M.1818 N. Starr Cavalry sword and the markings are quite different. Just curious....
inkothemgard!
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,835

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 7:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

HI Morgan

The mark is perhaps not like you might see on some old swords, or not the same font/size as the later Starr marks. Take a look at the 1798 pictured in David Radcliffe's article linked above and compare that to the images above. The same as others I have seen, including in the article. What is your suspicion? An aged reproduction? Have you looked at other examples of the earlier mark? I know the nco spadroon has been reproduced but the signs are obvious, while still troubling for a novice collector.

Sean's example
http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=102758


Cheers

GC

Pictures of the nco, old and new



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Matthew Stagmer
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Location: Maryland, USA
Joined: 23 Jan 2008

Posts: 473

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 10:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Morgan Butler wrote:
The Nathan Starr & Co. that is printed on the Forte of the blade seems awfully modern in its script. I have a M.1818 N. Starr Cavalry sword and the markings are quite different. Just curious....


I will have to search for a link but i found some recently sold pieces that had the mark just as this piece does. I dont think it is a fake.

Matthew Stagmer
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Morgan Butler




PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 12:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First of all, Nice NCO sword Glen! 2nd, my comment on the script was pretty much what I wrote. I have never seen markings like that on a Starr sword. The script looked very modern to me, especially with the ampersand. I was just curious is all. The markings on your NCO pics is what I am more familiar with and is what is stamped into mine as well. I cant really say much more than that. Not to say that it is a fake. Perhaps who ever owned the sword years later, put that on the blade. By the by, here's a pic of my Starr Sword. I love saying "Starr Sword" by the way. Big Grin


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inkothemgard!
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,835

PostPosted: Fri 28 Jan, 2011 5:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Morgan

Quote:
I cant really say much more than that. Not to say that it is a fake. Perhaps who ever owned the sword years later, put that on the blade.


Do you own a copy of Peterson? While I do have other book examples of the 1798 Starr, Peterson relates in his simple Starr family bio regarding W Starr & Co. The 1798 saber was the only sword produced by this firm. That should put matters in a little better context for you,. You might note the younger Sage son Wilbert inspecting swords (hence the oft found WS mark).Further expanded in Peterson in sword "20" is the fuller explanation of the blade mark exactly as shown in examples apparently unknown to some As you seem to indicate).

Bezdek the mighty compiler has quite a bit more information on the Starr family in his 1812 title.and if that period of the war of 1812 war both prior and after, it is a book to hold indispensable as so much data found in one place. All of the information is found in other texts and Dick Bezdek usually acknowledges his sources but all in one place with leads to other research, invaluable. Be that as it may Morgan, if you don't own the Peterson title, you may forever overlook what is well noted and not hard to find.

Your 1818 is very nice and on my lists somewhere but that is late in the period for most of my interests. Right now I am looking at a particular spadroon type and a particular sabre type (both eaglehead pommels) and that really will finish my old list begun at the end of the last decade. Looking really is almost as much fun and like the NCO swords above, don't own them aside from images. A tally of my blade images in 114 subfolders had gone over nine thousand images (more or less doubling in the past few years). An appalling number are of my own collection but most of it archived for my own researching and sharing such (here for example). Actually, I would rather fall into owning a Daniel Pettibone (not of the late 19th century) example of the Starr contract swords. Pettibone worked for Starr over a spell both after and before his other work. Starr hilted up a Ketland style eagle pommel as well (to be found in the Mowbray eagle title). Some of my impulse buying has been for the unknown but I have never assumed them to be anything I can't document.

Cheers

GC

Books can be as cool as owning any sword.

Pettibone's cast steel sabre of the early 19th century (also a US contract)

edited for errant brain cell dysfunction. I am two years and a few months of rebirth after a stroke.



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Michael J. Becker





Joined: 14 Oct 2008

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 23 Mar, 2011 2:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all, I've never been on a forum before, so please be patient. I am the owner of a Nathan Starr 1798 contract saber, I don't know much about it, but I do know that it's rare. Looks to be in fairly bad condition. Don't know if it's worth much..but just thought I'd throw the information out there and see if anybody is interested!
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,835

PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2011 6:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Michael

Welcome to one of a few forums for discussing old swords. The early Starr's are scarce on the market and always interesting for some of us to see more surface. Having not seen one aside from books and old internet articles, to see three surface on the boards in the span of a year is actually pretty exciting.

There are some tips posted regarding sharing images if you are able to. Much has become so visual that they tend to supplant other conversation.

Cheers

GC
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Jeff Demetrick





Joined: 11 Oct 2004

Posts: 37

PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2011 1:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From Page 21 of Major James E. Hicks' NATHAN STARR Arms Maker 1776-1845 1940. Description; ' Model 1798 cavalry sword. The blade illustrated is of the Model 1798, the mounting of the period 1810. Blade length 33 7/8 inches, iron mounted, wood grip.'

All the best
Jeff



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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2011 2:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the image Jeff

The book is pretty much impossible to obtain (price and availability) I have seen some of the book via Google and would be on a long list I'd look for interlibrary.

Cheers

GC
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Dmitry Z~G





Joined: 22 Jun 2008

Posts: 77

PostPosted: Thu 24 Mar, 2011 8:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is a good 1798 Starr saber, no faults with it other than someone took a grinder to the hilt and a good part of the blade. Shame.
I have the Hicks book; imho, the book is outdated and requires scrutiny regarding the information that the author presents. It is over 60 years old, after all. There really needs to be a better text on the subject.
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Michael J. Becker





Joined: 14 Oct 2008

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PostPosted: Sat 02 Apr, 2011 4:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again, I've taken some pictures of my 1798 Starr. It says US 1798 I believe, I've noticed the letter in the US is the old fashioned S that looks like an F in script...bear with me. Still not a bad buy in the late 70"s for $35.00 in a little antique store in the middle of Nebraska!
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