SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – A Civil War sword belonging to Brigadier General Eli Huston Murray, a Southerner who fought with the Union and became governor of the Utah Territory in 1880, is among the highlights of a three-day Americana auction at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal, set for July 28-30.
The auction, which starts at 11 a.m. PST, features hundreds of collectibles and includes a quilt signed by 19th century presidents Chester A. Arthur and Rutherford B. Hayes; a large, notable collection of Zane Grey books and movie posters, including several signed, first-edition books; antique Lionel toy trains; 19th century carousels from the famous San Francisco amusement park, Playland/Custer estate; a diverse selection of fine art; and estate jewelry.
Josh Levine, J. Levine owner and auctioneer, said the Scottsdale auction house is already receiving inquiries about the star of the sale: the Civil War sword belonging to the famous brigadier general.
“Most presentation swords were made to be pretty, but this was a German-made fighter sword that was given to Brigadier General Eli Huston Murray after the battle of Murfreesboro in 1862. Every man in his regiment gave a dollar for it, which at that time, cost $1,200,” Levine said.
A Kentuckian who joined the Union at age 19 when the Civil War broke out, Murray was awarded the
sword for his bravery and gallantry. Adorned with gold, the sword is damascus folded steel. Levine estimates its worth to be between $100,000 and $150,000.
Murray later served as governor of the Utah Territory until 1886 and was best known for his opposition of polygamy, which was widely practiced among Mormon settlers at that time.
Levine said the rare Civil War sword comes with strong provenance. In approximately 1938, Neil Murray, his wife, daughter and grandson visited Hardinburg, Kentucky. Upon signing in at the hotel, the clerk asked about possible relation to Eli Murray, and upon confirmation the clerk handed over the sword and uniform. While as a guest at the same hotel 70 years earlier, General Murray handed the hotel proprietor the items saying he never wanted to see them again, Levine reports. The Murray family was in awe and took the sword and uniform back to Glendive, Montana, where they were living at the time. The consignor’s late husband was part of the Murray family.
For more details or to register to bid, visit www.jlevines.com or call 480-496-2212.