Civil war Burnside sword tops Bonhams at $271,000


2015-06-26 12:53:14


Civil war Burnside sword tops Bonhams at $271,000

A sword which belonged to US civil war general Ambrose E Burnside starred on June 11

A sword which once belonged to Ambrose E Burnside, a Union general in the US civil war, saw spectacular bids on June 11 at Bonhams.

Ambrose burnisde Sword BonhamsOne of the items from the collection of Burnside's aide-de-camp

The Antique Arms & Armour sale in San Fransisco saw the magnificent sword star as top lot alongside the Civil war uniform of Burnside's aide-de-camp, Robert Hale Ives Goddard. Both the sword and uniform were consigned by Ives' family, having remained with them since his death. The sword was presented to Burnside by the United States Sanitary Commission, a private relief agency created to support the sick and wounded soldiers following the US civil war. Relying on volunteers and donations, the commission raised approximately $5m in cash alonefrom its Metropolitan Fairs, which were held across the country. It was at the 1864 fair in New York that Burnside received the ornate blade in recognition of his war efforts. Although well-liked by his men and no doubt an honourable general, Burnside suffered numerous embarrassing defeats in the war, including the famous Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of the Crater. Today, he is best remembered for his work as a US statesman as well as his substantial facial hair, which helped coin the term "sideburns". The sword, featuring an intricately decorated gilt bronze hilt and Burnside's own AEB monogram, sold for $271,000. The uniform of Captain Robert Hales Ives Goddard, who gave the eulogy at Burnside's funeral, also sold with impressive results. Together with a collection of family photographswith Ives wearing the uniform, itmade $22,230. Like most conflicts, the impact of the US civil war is still reflected in auction houses today, where passionate collectors often pay huge sums to own an important item of memorabilia. Take a look at this interview from earlier in the year to find out why those collectors are prepared to invest. Paul Fraser Collectibles is currently offering a rare autograph from Oliver Cromwell, the perpetrator of England's own civil war. Click here to seethe full selection of militaria on offer.

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