Federal Sword Belt Buckle and Keeper - Water Find

Item: Federal Sword Belt Plate and Keeper - Water Recovery
Construction: Cast brass with integral eagle motif and tongue. Applied nickel-silver wreath.  
Condition: Very good, excavated. The plate has a mottled dull tan-yellow brass patina with areas of black. The wreath remains solidly intact and in very good condition. Both the buckle and keeper's weathered surface appearance and condition, along with their patina, indicate that they were recovered from water. The belt attachment bar and its integral tongue are both present and complete. Also on the rear are possibly stamped numbers to one side of the tongue near the edge. Due to a layer of surface substance build-up and discoloration obscuring a clear view, it is difficult to determine which numbers. A keeper is present and is stamped with benchmark number "55". The keeper is an excellent fit may or may not be original to the buckle however, its surface wear, patina match, and fit all suggests that it was from the same water recovery and even possibly original to the buckle. This plate still retains an even and distinct body curve. There are no cracks, breaks, bends, or repairs.
Recovered: Unknown
Approximate size:
 55 x 87 mm
A similar example of this plate is pictured in the second edition of O'Donnell and Campbell's "American Military Belt Plates", as plate 663 on page 400. A scan of this page is included in the additional images. According to the description of the above mentioned book, this late-war plate combined the shortened wreath and 2.2 inch width adopted in November, 1861, with the circle of rays and common eagle form introduced in December, 1863. This sword belt plate will be an excellent addition to any excavated Civil War plate or general relic collection.

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