English Made General Officers’ Dress Sword Belt- C1890-1900


A fine quality piece made by John Starkey, London in the late Indian Wars to post Spanish War era.

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Although only the belt plate is hallmarked by the maker, J. Starkey / 23 Conduit St. / London (and bearing his hallmark), the bullion tape overall over the black bridle leather, is most reminiscent of the quality of work that is seen in the varied British regiment belts. On the belt, there are three narrow intermittent white strips worked into the bullion tape. It might be argued that this would refer to infantry, but no color was used by any field & staff belts, and nearly every field & staff U.S. belt has had solid bullion tape applied to the leather belt.  I believe this belt was either ordered or purchase in England. One only has to look at photos of general officers of this period to realize much latitude was taken concerning their uniforms and accoutrement.

The dual sword hangers with mimicking bullion tape, is certainly a feature seen in U.S. Army officer belts up to 1902, when the single hanger was introduced.

Two pins hold the gilt and silver washed eagle insignia on to the belt plate proper. The sword hanger snap swivels are held by an open square buckle with chape holding the swivels. Unlike the regulation belt of this period, there is no bullion on both sides of the hangers. A dismount hook is incorporated with the front hanger.  The belt uses a gilt buckle for size adjustment, seen in earlier pattern belts.

There are several areas where the bullion tape stitching onto the leather has popped, and a few separations have occurred as well. If displayed the tape would remain tight to the leather beneath, and would not require an restoration,

Despite the flaws, many of which may be remedied, this is a fine quality belt in very good and better condition. A great late 1800s variant.

Additional information

Weight 3 lbs