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Old South Military Antiques

Hayden & Whilden Artillery Sword
Item #: OS-7297

The military outfitting firm of Augustus Hayden and William Whilden was located at 250 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina. In the Antebellum days, Charleston was an extremely wealthy, aristocratic city. The city boasted several militia and fire companies dressed and equipped in the finest style. The firm of Hayden & Whilden (though under different names) had supplied these would be warriors for decades. Importing and marking with their own name, pistols, knives and dress militia swords. I am sure they also supplied belts, uniforms, and accoutrements, although they are unmarked therefore unrecognizable.

When war became imminent the firm purchased a small quantity of high quality artillery sabres from the firm of Thomas Griswold of New Orleans and stamped their own name and address into the ricasso, "HAYDEN & WHILDEN” over "CHARLESTON”. There are only a few surviving specimens of this extremely rare sword. One is in the Battle Abbey collection in Richmond, Virginia and there are a few scattered among the more advanced Confederate sword collections.

This particular specimen is all original and in excellent condition. The grip wrap and throat washer were made from crème colored leather and then the grip was dyed, so that the slight wear and few scuffs stand out in the images, but in reality, are only surface deep. The grip wrap, is 100% perfect, as are the two strands of twisted brass wire wrap. The beautiful blade does not have a single nick in its edge and has never been altered in any way. The Hayden & Whilden stamp at the ricasso is very deep, but has been stamped twice. The hilt is as tight as the day it was made. On the right side, where the guard joins the pommel, a small piece of shrapnel has struck it hard enough to indent the solid brass. So there is no doubt the sword’s owner stood amidst the shot and shell.

The sword’s original scabbard is perfect, having only a few minor dings and scratches in its surface. Both the hilt and the scabbard appear to have been gilded. Only traces of the gilt remain on the hilt, but the scabbard retains most of its gilt except as it approaches the drag, where it would have received more abrasion on a regular basis. There is a darker patina where the gilt has rubbed off. There is a lot of wear where the mount and ring meet. That and the wear at the drag end of the scabbard shows that it was carried a lot, but was not abused.

This sword used to belong to noted collector Fred Edmunds. He sold it for 35k circa 1995. In the intervening years I have only seen two other examples, and both were in very poor condition.

6/28/23 Another example has turned up on ebay just shy of 27k, which is very nice and at a good price if the wrap is original, and I have no reason to think that it is not, but cannot tell from pictures.

Price $32,000.00 USD