This is a graceful and beautiful example of a post-Revolutionary War era American silver hilt sword with ivory grip. Fine etching and blue remains on the blade (which is totally uncleaned or polished in any manner). While Welles swords are out there, VERY few silver hilts are known to exist—and this is a beauty, clearly once owned by a prominent American officer. This sword is marked above the ricasso “L. Wells & Company” which would date the piece from 1797 to 1807, if guidebook references are accurate.
Details on maker: Lemuel Welles, New York City, NY
Born: 3 Jul 1763, Hartford CT; Silversmith and jeweler; apprenticed in 1780 to James Tilley in Hartford, Connecticut; was a partner from 1794 to 1795 with Horace Welles in New York City, NY, as L & H WELLS, with a shop at 158 Pearl Street. He worked from circa 1794 to 1803 as a silversmith and jeweler in New York City, NY, as L. WELLS & Company after 1797. He was a partner from 1803 to 1807 with John Taylor in New York City, NY, as WELLS, TAYLOR & Company.