Item: Federal Sword Belt Plate - Officer, ca. 1863 - Gilted
Construction: Gilt brass plate cast with impression of eagle motif in back.
Condition: Excellent, non-excavated. Its gilt brass has a very pleasing gold patina. The front, with its stippled background, shows a raised highly detailed eagle clutching arrows in its right talons and an olive branch in its left, along with a wreath, rays, and stars. There are several small dark spots that are on the very surface of the plate that do not appear to extend into the plate itself. The belt attachment bar is present with a benchmark number of "31" clearly stamped into the rear outer edge. This plate has no cracks, breaks, bends, or repairs.
Approximate size: 52 x 80 mm
Comments: This particular style sword belt plate is not often seen available. A similar, but not exact, example of this plate is pictured in the second edition of O'Donnell and Campbell's "American Military Belt Plates", as plate 637 on page 386. A scan of this page is included in the additional images. According to the description of the above mentioned book, the impression of the eagle motif in the back is "the result of a follow-up die strike or part of the mold pattern". Also from the book description, "Several examples of this pattern have been excavated from late-war sites." This sword belt plate will be an excellent addition to any Civil War plate or general relic collection.
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