AMESBURY, Mass., March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- With Soviet-American relations very much in the news today, it's timely that a Revolutionary War-era sword produced in 1777 for the very first U.S. Ambassador to Russia – Francis Dana (1743-1811) – is set to cross the auction block as part of a three-day sale planned for March 24th-26th by John McInnis Auctioneers, online and in the firm's Amesbury gallery, at 76 Main Street.
The sword and fully intact scabbard are historically significant, having been made at the time of the American Revolution by John Bailey (b. 1736, death unknown), the British-born American cutler and metalworker best known for creating George Washington's battle sword, a lightweight 'cuttoe' about three feet in length. Today it is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Francis Dana was a fierce opponent of British colonial rule and a leader of the Sons of Liberty (co-founded by his father, Richard Dana). He helped set into motion a series of events that would forever change history and establish the United States as a free and independent nation. Dana was a close aide and confidante to Washington, conferring with him at Valley Forge in 1778.
The sword is a magnificent example, signed by Bailey and engraved with "Francis Dana 1777" on the obverse side. It is a lion head silver-hilted officer's sword, with a pierced and engraved silver guard and a double silver chain-guard. That it still has its leather scabbard (most don't, they're that frail) will add to its desirability. It has reinforcing line-decorations and three mounts.
In 1780, Dana was named American minister to the Russian Empire – in effect serving as the first official ambassador to Russia. While he never gained official recognition from Catherine the Great, he remained in St. Petersburg until 1783. His translator was John Quincy Adams, the 14-year-old son of John Adams. Both Adamses went on to become President of the United States.
Dana was also a signer of the Articles of Confederation, an elected Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress (1777) and was appointed to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts (1785).
Other rare and collectible items from the time of the American Revolution will also come up for bid. These include about 50 engraved bookplates by Nathaniel Hurd (1729-1777), the Boston printer-engraver and contemporary of Paul Revere, and a portrait oil painting of Count Von Ferson, a Revolutionary War hero who famously had an affair with Marie Antoinette of France.
Other key offerings will include a pair of circa 1820 floor globes by Cary of London, each one 39 inches tall; a large oil portrait painting by the noted artist William McGregor Paxton (Am., 1869-1941), a Russian enameled silver tea set by a famous maker dated 1887; a New Hampshire two-part highboy with original untouched red surface; and a large (Bien) John J. Audubon folio.
For those unable to attend in person, internet bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. Telephone and absentee bids will also be accepted. To learn more about John McInnis Auctioneers and the March 24th-26th auction, log on to www.mcinnisauctions.com.
SOURCE John McInnis Auctioneers