Early Issue M1855 Rifleman’s Belt with Original Saber Bayonet – This belt is an example of the early production, M1855 rifleman’s belt. These first issue belts are readily identified by the asymmetry of the straps connecting the bayonet frog to the belt – the rear strap is noticeably wider at the point of connection to the belt than the front strap. Most of the M1855 belts we see are the second or later issue, which were constructed with the frog straps of equal width; these earlier belts are markedly more difficult to find. This example is complete and in overall very good condition; it remains supple, with only some minor wear and age crackling to the surfaces, with no resultant weak areas – we have not cleaned or treated the leather whatsoever. All of the billets – the closing tab on the frog and the adjustment billets – one on each end of the inside of the belt – are intact. In addition, the “signature” two-piece interlocking belt plate, the two brass standing loops (one appears to be upside down) and the horseshoe shaped buckle on the frog are all present.
Accompanying this belt is an excellent example of the M1855 sabre bayonet and scabbard. The cast brass, ribbed hilt of the bayonet is in fine condition, as is the blade, which remains bright. The only markings on the bayonet appear on the flat of the hilt which is stamped as follows: “D / 70”. The locking mechanism functions correctly, and the scabbard is complete and solid with a slight, apparent dent near the scabbard tip; its stitching is intact along the entire seam. The leather surface of the scabbard and brass throat and tip are in very good condition.
These belts have always been uncommon and finding one, with all of its component elements, with its original bayonet is a challenge now.
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