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Thread: 19th century Bowie, dirk, cut down sword

  1. #1
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    19th century Bowie, dirk, cut down sword

    Just picked this up on usual site. Looking for any input country of origin, year of manufacturing, original or cut down sword or any thoughts. I am not home and do not have it in hand but will be in week or so to answer extra photos or direct measurements. Is it a really early bowie or?
    15 1/4 inch over all
    10 7/8 blade
    1 3/8 wide
    While sold as European hunting dagger and it may very well be there is no denying its resemblance to the early 19th bowies.Name:  Screenshot_20200110-170924_eBay.jpg
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    Last edited by Eric Fairbanks; 01-10-2020 at 05:43 PM.
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  2. #2
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    Very cool

  3. #3
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    The etching style and grind marks at the base of the blade make me think it's a cut down sword.... Rather nicely done and mounted as well, so I think a cutlers job rather than amateur.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Gentlemen, I thought it note worthy for its obvious early dating. The early bowies fascinate me. Your thoughts on etch style? There are elements of this piece that look French, British and German with an American market overtone. It is very interesting to me but does not have a composite look. I'm stumped. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  5. #5
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    The etch seems German to me, with the balls/circles below the baseline. Just as we see etched dirks, I wouldn't eliminate the possibility that the form is true to its original grind but the base does seem trimmed some.

    I dunno ?8^)~

    Cheers
    GC

  6. #6
    Hi Eric,

    I've sort of gone full circle with this one.
    If it weren't for the obviouis file marks/scratches at the back of the blade I wouldn't have particularly questioned it all being original.
    I notice that the ferrule decoration matches the decoration on the blade.
    However the grip-cap and crossguard are plain?
    The tang also looks to be quite narrow and mounted quite high.
    I think that the 'geometry' of the piece is right, I can imagine a straight line from the point through the centre of the ferule to the pommel/cap.
    If anything, I wonder if the crossguard was added/replaced?
    Whatever, it was done well by someone who knew what they were doing.

    So I found myself back at your original statement.
    I'd call it a European hunting knife and there would always be 5% of me that would wonder if it went on holiday somewhere and had a local refresh!

    It's very nice in any event.

  7. #7
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    Odd that the grinding marks on the blade next to the tang were not removed. It would be interesting to see how the tang is attached to the blade. Most likely a broken blade repurposed into a knife/dagger. Possibly used a broken sword blade, a carving knife handle and a crossguard. Does not appear to be professionally put together.
    I think the original tang was removed because it didn't fit the handle and the carving knife tang was attached.
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 01-14-2020 at 08:27 AM.

  8. #8
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    Very good observations by all and much appreciated. I believe you Gentlemen are correct in that it is possibly a repurposed sword, dirk or blade. I also agree possibly by a skilled but non professional craftsman. Perhaps a cutlery hilt but in dealing with fur trade items it seems quite large to be cutlery although it could have been designed after such as the trade was at its peak in this time frame or perhaps just before. The staple in the scabbard chape gives me pause but the knife seems well aged. A mystery then, none the less a beautiful early type knife. It will fit in well with my early bowie collection. A few more close ups now that it is in hand.[Name:  20200124_142457.jpg
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    I have had this knife referred to as a 19 century rifleman's knife in other places but I have never had any knowledge of such a knife.
    Last edited by Eric Fairbanks; 01-24-2020 at 02:42 PM.
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  9. #9
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    The staple is a correct attachment method that was used on bayonet scabbards from the mid 1800's. Note the scabbard mouth has been removed to fit the blade dimension.
    The locket button/hook also is identical to some bayonet scabbards so I would believe a repurposed bayonet scabbard with a drag made to fit the tip profile..
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 01-24-2020 at 05:53 PM.

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