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Our Price: sold

RARE CIVIL WAR HANES “EXCELSIOR” HAND GRENADE. One of two types of hand grenades developed during the early years of the Civil War.


Unlike the more common Ketchum grenade, this type was developed by W.W. Hanes in early 1862. He names his patented invention the “Excelsior” grenade.


This device is a small cast-iron shell with brass percussion nipples, each requiring attachment of a percussion cap before throwing the grenade. It would only take one cap to trigger the explosion, and soldiers trying to use Hanes’s grenade found out the hard way that it was too easy to accidentally set off one of the percussions caps. This resulted in the Excelsior grenades never being used in battle or, at least, there has not been a recorded battlefield find of one.


These grenades are exceedingly rare. This example is a variant roughly cast in two sections with 11 brass nipples inserted and one fill hole threaded for percussion nipple. Its external cast iron case does not accompany this grenade. See photograph of a complete example from 'Field Artillery Projectiles of the American Civil War' by Dickey & George, 1993 edition.


Very good condition. Cast iron surface is fine with a discernible mold seam. Two of the brass nipples are distorted. Percussion nipple screws in and out. A nearly identical example without case sold for 2875.00 at the James D. Julia auction in 2007. Fully cased examples usually sell for 10K+.





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