Post Civil War, dating about mid 1880’s. Gilt brass hilt finely detailed with pierced cross guard and quillon block with GUOOF inscription. Crusades tent form pommel with a crusader to the front. Gilt tape wrapped white ray skin grip.  31 ¾” heavy double edged blade as indicative of early examples. The ricasso marked M C LILLEY & CO COLUMBUS OHIO.  That form used 1882-1925. The blade finely etched on gilt ground with the owner’s name, foliage and crusaders scene. The gold faded with remnants of original blue as well. Gilt scabbard with finely modeled crusades and biblical motif mounts. The body hand engraved with the all-seeing eye (the Eye of Providence), serpent and cross and a halberd. The surface is fire gilt, clearly evidenced by remnant brush work. That technique was made obsolete about 1840 with the advent of electroplating and is seldom seen after that date. The GUOOF was the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, a branch founded in 1843 through a lodge in England, for blacks, which were excluded from membership in the Odd Fellows. The early membership drew from two established black groups who lacked mutual benefit components: the Philomathean Literary Society and the Philadelphia Company and Debating Society. It is considered one of the most significant black mutual aid societies from its beginnings and its membership grew through the 1880’s, the period of this sword. The sword itself shows wear from use but was produced to the highest standard: to proportions and using techniques specific to the Civil War and immediate post war, clearly dating it to the early-mid 1880’s.  Very Rare. 

Item ID: B8149

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