This highly ornate masonic sword has a thick patina on the gilded brass and silver plated fittings with a heavily nickle plated scabbard that is mounted with three suspension rings. The scabbard is straight overall with minor surface rust and the expected light dings and scrapes but nothing serious. The sword pommel is beautifully hand enhanced and has the letters FCB displayed prominently which stands for Friendship, Charity, and Benevolence. The obverse clam shell is marked with the initials U.R. which stands for Uniformed Ranks and a lily, a popular image for this fraternal order.
The reverse clam shell is decorated with a coat of arms depicting lances, Laurel leaves. Armor, axes and oak leaves a symbol of strength. The blade is produced in Germany and beautifully etched including the owners name C.J. Sansen. The markings on Knights of Pythias swords varied widely. Most swords were inscribed with the acronym "FCB," which stands for the Pythian motto ("Friendship, Charity, Benevolence"). Images on swords were also somewhat common, and included: A man, woman and child (symbolic of Pythias saying good-bye to his family); a man looking out of a building, with a group of people below (symbolic of Damon's pending execution); a man between some pillars, pulling them down (similar to Samson destroying his enemy's temple); or various types of weapons (swords, axes, hammers, etc.). A full Knight of the Pythian order often inscribed his sword with the image of a knight's helmet with a lion on the crest. Many also carried the image of a sprig of Myrtle (the Pythian symbol of love) or a falcon (the Pythian symbol of vigilance).The blade itself is in excellent condition with no sharpening or chips to the edges the point is still sharp and free of bends there is some minor surface rust which would easily clean up beautifully.
An unusual feature of this sword is a whistle that is incorporated into the cross guard of this piece.an interesting addition that is still functional.The ricasso of the blade is stamped with the mark of the German firm Tiger based in Solingen a major edged weapon company known for its high quality products The mark of the M.C. Lilley company is also prominent in etched form on the ricasso The M. C. Lilley Company founded in the mid-1860s was world renowned as a manufacturer of regalia. Regalia is defined as magnificent attire, finery. Besides ceremonial swords, the Lilley Company produced banners, flags, emblems and uniforms for fraternal societies and organizations such as the Mason Fellows, Knights of Pythias and policemen. Lilley also supplied the U. S. Marine Corps and the cadets of West Point and Annapolis with swords. During World War II the company made thousands of machetes for Dutch troops. There is even a story of one of the swords being recovered from Pearl Harbor in great condition. Their goods were shipped all over the United States, Canada and even Australia.
This is an unusual variation of a high quality Masonic sword with the unique added feature of a ceremonial whistle.
As the prices of good quality militaria continues to climb, the masonic swords provide a wide variety of beautiful pieces at reasonable prices and are definitely garnering attention in the growing collectibles market.