RARE US ALLEGHENY ARSENAL M1851 OFFICER SWORD BELT BUCKLE CIVIL WAR ERA PATTERN 614. This buckle is an early, hard-to-find M1851 plate made at the Allegheny Arsenal in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania prior to the war (Campbell pattern #614).
It was intended to be used by officers carrying swords and enlisted cavalry soldiers. The plate depicts a patriotic eagle surrounded by a laurel wreath with a banner above the eagle's head that reads "E PLURIBUS UNUM". Numerous versions of this buckle were made from the 1850's through the end of the Civil War. They were used most extensively by both Union and Confederate cavalry.The plate is made of cast brass, with the eagle integral to the casting and a 3-piece applied laurel wreath. The eagle's head faces to the bird's right, with rays that extend between the wing tips.
There are 13 stars, with 6 above the main portion of the banner, 2 above the banner tail, 2 left of the eagle's head, and 3 to the right of the eagle's head. The long tongue is wide footed, intended to fasten to a separate brass keeper (not included). The wreath is made of nickel-silver and soldered in 3 pieces (1 small piece above each wing tip and a large piece surrounding the eagle). This particular example has gold gilt over the entire buckle, including the silver wreath, which I've never seen before (silver is visible on a few wear spots, see photo).
I'm thinking the gold gilt may indicate the belt plate was made for a high ranking officer or cavalry commander. The buckle measures about 3 1/4 (83 mm) long, not including the curvature. It measures 3 7/16 (88 mm) if you follow the curve.
The buckle is approximately 2" (51 mm) tall and the tapered tongue measures about 9/16" (14 mm) wide at the base. The top center of the back side is weakly stamped "US ALLEGHENY ARSENAL" (hard to read, possibly a result of the gilting process, see photo).
I also noticed several weakly scratched letters that appear to be "RM" or "FM", perhaps an officer's initials. The family was from Goshen, Virginia and believed to be related to Confederate General Elisha Franklin Paxton. I'm not saying this was General Paxton's sword belt buckle, but it's possible (although the scratched initials don't match).
Regardless, it's guaranteed to be a genuine M1851 Allegheny Arsenal sword belt plate and NOT a reproduction. I've never seen a reproduction with the Allegheny Arsenal marking and all the characteristics perfectly match the buckle pictured on plate 614 in the book. Condition of this M1851 sword belt plate is EXCELLENT. It appears to have been used very little and was obviously well cared for. As I mentioned earlier, I do not have the keeper.Overall, this hard to find belt plate looks fantastic and displays beautifully. It would make a wonderful addition to any Civil War collection. Please take a close look at the many photos I've provided and judge condition for yourself. It might be a long time before you see another one. Gold Gilt on Silver Wreath (Silver Visible At a Few Wear Spots). Initials "RM" or "FM" Scratched on Back. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please let me know.
I will insure this item at my own expense. Txzj pxzj4713 txzj-11 txzj41 txzj71 txzj115.
The item "RARE Marked US Allegheny Arsenal M1851 Sword Belt Plate Buckle Civil War Officer" is in sale since Wednesday, March 20, 2019. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Militaria\Civil War (1861-65)\Original Period Items\Belts & Belt Buckles". The seller is "virginia_quailman" and is located in Waynesboro, Virginia. This item can be shipped worldwide.