Silvered Pre-Civil War U.S. Officer Dress Epaulettes in Original Box

Silvered Pre-Civil War U.S. Officer Dress Epaulettes in Original Box – These finely crafted epaulettes are silver with silver bullion-bound flat strap sections, with round shoulder edges topped with silvered, metallic crescents; from the latter, silver bullion braids hang. At the corner end of one of the epaulettes, remains a silvered, large ball type button; the other epaulette of the pair is missing the comparable button. The underside area of each epaulette is composed of padded, yellow silk. Beneath the remaining button, on the underside of that epaulette, remains the original silk, reddish brown, grosgrain ribbon for attachment to a loop or buttonhole on the shoulder of the officer’s coat. In addition to the epaulettes, an original, early, silvered officer’s sword knot was contained within the box. This silver bullion sword knot is quite rare and early.

In accordance to U.S. Army Regulations, prior to 1851, the wearing of gilded silver or gold epaulettes, such as these, was required for artillery and dragoon officers. The absence of rank bars on these epaulettes is indicative of a date preceding 1851, as during that earlier era, an officer’s rank was designated by straps worn over each epaulette; after 1851, most officers placed various insignias and rank designations, on each epaulette, using pins. This is a fine set of early epaulettes, in overall great condition and in the markedly more rare silvered finish.


These epaulettes remain in their original pasteboard box, with the Horstmann label affixed to the bottom of the box. The Horstmann address is stated as 51 N. 3rd St. Philadelphia. William H. Horstmann & Sons, Number 51, North Third Street, Philadelphia, are well known “Manufacturers and Importers of Military Goods – Horstmann maintained an ornately decorated storefront with an elaborate sign stating it to be William H. Horstmann & Sons clothing and military supply store, at the N. 3rd St. address. Horstmann & Sons produced and sold their wares at this location between 1830 and 1857, after which time they moved their factory operations to Fifth and Cherry Streets, and their storefront to a separate property at 223 Chestnut Street.

This Horstmann box and its original lid, which retains some of its original label, are in strong condition, with some wear and nicks, but structurally very sound.

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