Up for auction is a Rare regulation model 1850 Staff & Field Officers Sword and Scabbard that was made by the famous Tiffany & Company of New York . This sword is completely authentic and has a verbal provenance of belonging to General John Riggin who was an aide to General Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. It comes with a framed and matted copy of a war time photograph of General Riggin in uniform holding his sword as well as a framed and matted copy of his commission to Brigadier General at the end of the war. Authentic Tiffany & Co. Officer swords are pretty rare on the collecting market and almost every collector wants one for their collection because of their history and reputation of quality and craftsmanship. Charles Tiffany was born in 1812, became a silversmith apprentice and started in business with a partner in New York city in 1837. Sometime between 1848-1853 he became the sole owner of the company called Tiffany & Company. The company earned a reputation for fine quality and excellence in the products they produced. When the American Civil War broke out, Tiffany received US Government contracts to supply them with cavalry, non commissioned officer, and short artillery swords as well as muskets, carbines and revolvers. As you probably know, Officers were required to purchase their own swords. Tiffany imported some swords and also hilted their own and employed their own sword designers. They offered a catalog so that an officer could special order their sword with whatever options of decorations they preferred. They purchased sword blades from all the major blade manufacturers in the world including American made Ames, D.J. Millard, Collins & Co., and imported blades from England, France and of course Solingen Germany. They sold all of their military stock to Shannon, Miller, & co. at the end of the war in 1866. From that point on Tiffany & Co. only offered Presentation Swords and Presentation Revolvers. This sword is a regulation officer's sword and not the more elaborately decorated presentation sword so we know that it was produced before 1866 making it a true Civil War period sword.
This sword and the Original Commission (not the copy) came out of an estate sale in Georgia about 3 months ago. The original commission and the sword had been acquired together by a collector 40+ years ago and had been kept and displayed together ever since. They were displayed together in his house for all those years until his passing. His daughter inherited them and kept them for 15 years before deciding to sell them. I purchased the sword from an Art and Antique dealer about three months ago. The original commission had already been sold to another collector but the Antique dealer made a perfect copy of it when I purchased the sword. He provided me with his signed and dated letter of provenance stating what he was told when he purchased the sword and original commission. The letter of provenance is also included in this auction.
John Riggin was born in St. Louis , MO in 1835 and died on June 13th 1886 in Bradenton , FL. On December 23rd, 1861. He was appointed Aide-de-Camp, U.S.V to General Grant and on May 3rd, 1862 promoted to Colonel & Aide-de-Camp, U.S.V and finally a brevetted commission to Brigadier General retroactive to March 13th 1865. This brevetted commission to Brigadier General is the one that I have a framed copy of and will go with the sword to the new owner. During my research on General Riggin I found several references in war time letters w General Grant mentions General Riggin by name. He was with General Grant throughout the war when General Grant was in such battles as:
The Battle Vicksburg
The Battles at Jackson , Champion Hill and Big Black River
The Battle of Chattanooga
Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of Cold Harbor
Lee's surrender to Grant in the McLean House, Appomattox , Virginia
Included in this auction is a framed and matted copy of a war time photogr...