|Description and Photograph||
Military outfitters William Courtney and Gilbert Tennent were both doing business in Charleston, South Carolina during the decade before the War. Fortunately, up until 1861 the company was named Courtney, Tennent & Company and in 1865 the name changed to W. C. Courtney & Company. It was only during the War years that the company’s name appears as Courtney & Tennent. Because of this their War date products can be readily identified. It was during these War years that Courtney & Tennent supplied swords of various patterns, and buttons to the Confederate Navy. Courtney & Tennent did not manufacture arms; instead they purchased military supplies wholesale from England and resold them at retail in Charleston, South Carolina. Though they did not make them, the swords that they sold to the Confederate Navy are readily identifiable by the Courtney & Tennent dealer’s mark stamped into their sword’s ricasso. The swords that they sold to the Confederacy are as rare, or rarer than many Confederate manufactured swords.
There are original, unmarked English manufactured swords readily available on the antique arms market and many have had fraudulent Courtney & Tennent importation marks added to them by counterfeiters. Fortunately, the originals are easily discernible from the spurious by anyone familiar with original Courtney & Tennent markings.
The naval cutlass shown here with the sheet metal guard is the rarest of the Courtney & Tennent imported swords. This example is in an untouched original condition. The pressed leather grips have some slight surface flaking and are otherwise perfect. The guard is tight and is in beautiful condition. The blade retains its original luster and does not have a single nick. The sword is still sheathed in its original scabbard which is also in excellent condition. The brass has minor dings and there is some surface flaking, but it is strong and tight. This is the best example of this rare pattern I have ever seen.