Vintage Cadet’s Sword

Vintage Cadet’s Sword.

Vintage Cadet's Sword

Presenting a RARE piece of Militaria, namely a Vintage Vintage Cadet’s Sword with original scabbard.


This RARE Vintage Cadet’s Sword and scabbard is from circa 1925.

This is known as a ‘WEST POINT CADETS’ SWORD’.

The handle is made of metal string and is encased in 18k yellow gold plate with highly elaborate and profusely designed gilt metal hilt and finger guard with decorative eagle head ends.

The hilt guard has been ‘personalized’ with the mongrammed initials of “M.A.”, as has the blade .

The blade has the initials “M.A.”  engraved onto it.

The quality of the sword clearly shows that it was an QUALITY Cadet’s Sword.

The Scabbard is the ORIGINAL scabbard and is made of steel and gilt metal reliefs.

The Scabbard has a single star and federal eagle emblem on the base cap.

The sword is fully and properly marked by the Maker. ….. “The M.C. Lilley & Co, Columbus,Ohio”……….a very well known American maker of this type of sword.

It has what appears to be a ‘beavers’ stamp on the blade. 


The West Point Cadets' Sword is issued to cadet officers of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York for use during their formal functions parades, inspections and graduation. It is also used during drills. The swords are issued on their appointment.

West Point Cadet Sword Model-1923

1959 M.S. Meyers Basic Sword.

The Ames model 1850 seems to be the grandparent of this type of Academy sword. The Academy added specific heraldry to their sword starting in 1872. Other academies customized their swords, but now only 2 remain. The West Point-specific Cadet Sword is sold only to current cadets and alumni. The basic cadet sword might not be made from the same materials specified by the Academy and is sold without USMA heraldry, and can be purchased almost anywhere. The basic cadet sword has been or is made in Germany, India, Spain, and China, but not all swords are of the same quality. Variations of the sword are used at The Citadel and other military academies and schools worldwide.

The major differences between the two can be seen at left for the U.S.M.A. blade and at right for the standard Academy sword. The blade etching can be seen in a photo below.

In full dress or while under arms the sword and scabbard are worn mounted from a white cotton sword shoulder belt that is hung from the right shoulder to the left waist, and a red silk sash is worn round the waist. A breast plate is worn centered on the breast. This uniform is formal and is worn on parades and Honor Council Meetings by the color guard, Drum Major, Officer of the Day and Graduation.

The sword is also used for drills or less formal military formations, when it is worn on a black leather belt around the waist with a brass buckle bearing the academy arms.

In 1841, the superintendent of the Academy ordered that sashes were to be worn with the sword. US Army generals continued to wear silk sashes in full dress until 1917 when this practice ceased in the US Army, but it has continued at the Academy.

In 1955, Frederick P. Todd noted[1] that today the West Point cadet officer is the only person in the Army who wears a sword and sash, and is the sole guardian of the tradition.

The sword is based on that used by the US Army when USMA was founded. The first swords used were legacies from the Army following the formation of the Academy in 1802 and are believed to have been similar to the 1767 French Grenadier Sergeant's sword used in the Revolutionary Army. The first swords procured for the Academy were delivered in 1838.

Swords used at USMA have copyrights and trademarks. They are controlled by the Directorate of Logistics, Cadet Services Division, Supply Branch and Service and Issue Center which now manages the maintenance of the swords, and their issue to qualified cadet officers.

The Cadet Store manages the sale of swords to cadets, alumni members and other authorized Cadet Store patrons.

Damaged and defective examples may be repaired or broken down and the components re-used.[3]

Swords were ordered from the Springfield Armoury until 1920, after which they were subject to competitive procurement.

Model 1872

West Point Cadet Sword Model-1872 Maker unknown

The first pictorial evidence that can be found of the use of the sword is a photograph of a group of cadets from the class of 1875. It is known that this pattern was not used in 1870, but the exact date of the change between this model and the previous one has not been determined. In 1872 there were many other changes in the sword regulations for the Army, and so this has been tentatively selected as the date for the change in the West Point sword, although it actually could have occurred as early as 1871 or as late as 1875.

The straight blade is diamond-shaped in cross-section and tapers evenly to the point. It has a strong square ricasso, the obverse side of which is stamped "U.S. ARMORY/SPRINGFIELD." The grips are cast to resemble wire wrapping, and apparently the same mould was used as that for the 1840 non-commissioned officers' sword. There are ferrules decorated with floral scrolls at both ends of the grips. The pommel is an inverted section of a cone bearing an eagle with arrows and palms in low relief on both sides and a scroll at the top pierced for a sword knot. The guard consists of straight cross quillons with eagle head finials on both ends and an oval cartouch in the center of the obverse side which is surrounded by floral sprays and bears the letters "MA" in old English script. The entire hilt is cast brass. The scabbard is iron which may originally have been blued, but which is now bright. There are a throat with a stud for a frog and tip with an asymmetrical drag, both of brass.

There are several minor variations in this pattern. Some are made by private makers such as E&F Horster (Germany), Meyers, Rock Island, Ames, as well as the swords of the Springfield Armory, and are etched "U.S.M.A." in a cartouch on the obverse side of the blade.

Model-1872 (maker unknown) to the present model-1922 have all had their blades marked in this way.

At one time there was an attempt to issue the plainer Armory products to the non-commissioned officers of the Cadet Regiment and the fancier models to the officers, but this was abandoned and the swords were then issued indiscriminately.[11]

Adding to the confusion is a Frederck T. Chatman illustration dated 1885. It shows two cadets, the first in Summer and Full Dress, the other in White Fatigues. Both cadets' swords are well displayed and parts of the swords predate the first orders from 1872 with parts from a model 1839 issued sword.[12]

A total of 253 swords were produced by the Springfield Armory between 1868 and 1914[13] with a subsequent order for scabbards in 1920.[13]

Armory records show that between 1868 and 1920, the following numbers of swords were accepted:

  • 1868 - 36
  • 1874 - 25
  • 1876 - 28
  • 1880 - 14
  • 1882 - 50
  • 1893 - 50
  • 1914 - 50
  • Total - 235
  • Plus 100 scabbards[13]

The Supply Section at the Academy frequently uses parts from one sword to repair another, which is a source of considerable confusion.[3] Peterson on page 181 shows a photograph of Cadet M.M. Kimmel, U.S.M.A., Class of 1857, with a sword of this type that postdates the model by 10 years, and Todd points to an illustration by Fredrick T. Chatman on page 60, dated 1885, showing cadets under arms carrying swords that predated the model by 20 years. The rebuilding of the swords continues today.




RARE Vintage Cadet's Sword.

This is an ORIGINAL sword from circa 1925.


The M.C. Lilley & Co, Columbus,Ohio

M.C. Lilley & Co. was founded by Mitchell C. Lilley (1819-1882), a bookbinder and publisher from Columbus, OH. It began producing swords and military regalia in 1865. On Lilley's death in 1882, the firm became known as The M. C. Lilley & Co., and expanded to a complete line of military equipment, swords, uniforms and accessories. The company purchased the Henderson-Ames Company (a merger of the Henderson firm of Kalamazoo, MI, and the Ames Sword Company) and changed its name to The Lilley Co. in 1925. In 1931 it became known as The Lilley-Ames Co. See also: Ames Manufacturing Company or N. P. Ames Company



RARE Vintage Cadet's Sword.

This is your chance to acquire an ORIGINAL piece of Historic Fraternal Militaria

Condition: Overall in GREAT condition. Some slight wear to the handle and some oxidization to the blade and scabbard but otherwise in SUPER ORIGINALCONDITION for its age.

Provenance: From a Private Sword Collection

Dimensions: In Scabbard the sword is 37" Long.

The handle/hilt/grip is 5.5" long.

The Blade is 30" long.

It is 4.25" wide at the handle.

Price: $850.00  SALE PRICE NOW: $650.00 - SOLD