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Lot 2290
Antique and Collectables

Category: Weapons & Hunting Gear

Description: D-guard Bowie Knife, wood handle, possibly North American Indian made.
Blade: double edged, with spear point, made from file steel.
Blade length: 15 inches

Material: metal, wood

Maker/Artist: Undetermined

Date: 19th Century

Provenance: N/A

History: Over the years many knives have been called Bowie knives and the term has almost become a generic term for any large sheath knife. During the early days of the American Civil War Confederate soldiers carried immense knives called D-Guard Bowie knives. Many of these knives could have qualified as short swords and were often made from old saw or scythe blades. The Bowie knife is sometimes confused with the "Arkansas toothpick," possibly due to the interchangeable use of the names "Arkansas toothpick", "Bowie knife", and "Arkansas knife" in the antebellum period. The Arkansas toothpick is essentially a heavy dagger with a straight 15-25-inch blade. While balanced and weighted for throwing, the toothpick can be used for thrusting and slashing. Although James Black is popularly credited with inventing the "Arkansas Toothpick", no firm evidence exists for this claim. Knives made in Sheffield, England, were quick to enter the market with "Bowie Knives" of a distinctive pattern that most modern users identify with the true form Bowie. The Sheffield pattern blade is thinner than the Black/Musso knives, while the false edge is often longer, with a more oblique and less pronounced clip edge. While the Bowie is often considered a uniquely American knife, most blades were produced in Sheffield England. Sheffield Bowies were sold with a wide range of etched or stamped slogans designed to appeal to Americans: "Death to Abolition", "Death to Traitors", "Americans Never Surrender", "Alabama Hunting Knife", "Arkansas Toothpick", "Gold Seeker's Protection"... American victories and generals were commemorated. "Bowie Knife" is etched on many different designs (including folding knives) of the era. The British disguised the origin of their products, operating the "Washington", "Philadelphia", "Boston", "Manhattan", "America" and "Columbia Works" in Sheffield. They stamped "US", "NY", etc. on their blades. The Sheffield "factories" were warehouses that collected the work of area craftsmen. The smelters, forgers, grinders, silversmiths, carvers, etchers... were individuals or small businesses.

Dimensions: H 4 in W 18.5 in D 2 in

Size of Artwork:

Weight: 1.4 pounds

Condition: Some rust, pitting, wood grip loose.


Some rust, pitting, wood grip loose.

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  • 24.5%

D-guard Bowie Knife, Wood Grip

Auction ended on Sun, Aug 9, 2015
Estimate $200 - $400
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