ITEM# 01062011-3
Description  Original 19th Century US Brass Shoulder Scales—Probable USMC
Price $ 245.00


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Original brass, partially-articulated shoulder scales, very much like the standard Civil War enlisted general issue—but different. At first glance, you’d think: “Yes, I’ve seen dozens of these before, they’re typical M1854 brass enlisted epaulettes. But wait, on closer inspection these scales are approximately 20% larger than the standard. Too, while they’re of multi-piece construction, they are not fully articulated. The roughly-rectangular shoulder portions and the pad/crescent halves are separate stampings, but the individual scales are a bas relief faux articulation. Perhaps most significantly, the reverse sides of these epaulettes are fitted with the complicated stamped-and-soldered brass components necessary for attaching removable fabric fringe—a la only the US Marine Corps issues of the period—to the undersides. Too, USMC regulation epaulettes were larger than Army issues. I would be inclined, therefore, to identify this set as Marine, but what of the scales themselves as a single stamping? Did the Corps, always cost-conscious, eschew separate stampings for economy’s sake? This is the only characteristic which presents some puzzlement to an otherwise clearcut ID, and if anyone can document Marine use of scales like these, he’s found a ganga! These shoulder scales are a nicely-matched set, and are definitely old. Overall, they boast a handsome age patina, and the visible solder joints have that off-white extreme oxidation seen on antique leaded seams, while the unpolished areas—the fringe fittings—glow with the old Quartermaster’s greenish-yellow pickled finish we know and love from unissued US brass insignia of the 19th century. Condition is excellent, though one epaulette bears a small ding on its crescent.