Federal Sword Belt Plate and Keeper - Water Recovery

Item: Federal Sword Belt Plate and Keeper - Water Recovery
Construction: Cast brass with integral eagle motif and tongue.  Applied three piece nickel-silver wreath (now missing).  
Condition: Good, excavated. The plate has an overall dull tan-yellow brass patina with areas of black primarily in the area of the wreath and rays. Approximately one quarter of its wreath remains. The surface wear of both the buckle and keeper, along with its patina, indicates that it was recovered from water. The front, with its stippled background, shows a raised eagle clutching arrows in its left talons and an olive branch in its right, along with a wreath, rays, and stars. The rear is believed to be stamped with benchmark number "194" and its belt attachment bar and tongue are both present. Its keeper is present and is stamped with benchmark number "121". The keeper may or may not be original to the buckle however its surface wear and patina matches the buckle suggests that, it too, was from the same water recovery. This plate still retains a distinct and even body curve and has no cracks, bends, or repairs.
Approximate size: 55 x 85 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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