Swords in the News: Brown U seeks to retrieve Civil War-era sword

Sure, presentation swords aren’t our thing. Especially Civil War presentation swords.

But this looks like an interesting case that might affect the one or other collector of swords: While many of the Central European swords peddled at arms and armor shows these days qualify as “liberated” after WWII—winner takes all—there are some cases in which provenance seems to matter again…

Providence—Brown is suing a Virginia collector of artifacts in federal court over ownership of an 1863 Tiffany silver presentation sword given by a New York-based regiment to Col. Rush C. Hawkins. Hawkins eventually gave the sword and other items to Brown University, establishing the Annmary Brown Memorial named for Hawkins’ late wife, who was a daughter of one of the university’s founders.

The sword, which Brown says is the one found loaned for display at a municipal museum in Newport News, Va., late last year, is slated to be the subject of a trial in January in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The Wittman report asserts that artifacts collector Donald R. Tharpe, a defendant, did not do due diligence in researching the sword’s provenance before he bought it in the early 1990s from Illinois collector Robert Harper.

Read on…


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