IMPORTANT & EARLY 1825-50 MINT PATRIOTIC ETCHED FANCY SELF DEFENSE WEAPON For Sale
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IMPORTANT & EARLY 1825-50 MINT PATRIOTIC ETCHED FANCY SELF DEFENSE WEAPON:
IMPORTANT & EARLY 1825-50 MINT! PATRIOTIC ETCHED FANCY SELF DEFENSE WEAPON
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THIS ITEM WAS MADE BEFORE 1900
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ANTIQUE CONNOISSEUR QUALITY MINT CONDITION UNSHARPENED UNCARRIED
BEST EXAMPLE KNOWN OF THIS TYPE WEAPON ~ FANCY CROSS GUARD & POMMEL
PATRIOTIC AMERICAN EAGLE ETCHED DRESS DAGGER ~ ORIGINAL MINT GOLD EMBOSSED SHEATH
CIRCA 1825 - 1850 ~ FAMOUS COLLECTIONS
There is scant information published on this Maker Crookes Brothers, Sheffield. He is listed in Goin's Encyclopedia of Cutlery markings as being in business from 1825 - 1850, manufacturing Bowie type knives and other types of cutlery. There are several other 18th and 19th Century cutlers with the name Crookes. There were dozens and dozens of collaborations within the hundreds of Sheffield makers, and families typically were in the cutlery business for decades or even centuries. It is possible that Crookes Brothers have a family affiliation with the well known Sheffield Cutler Jonathan Crookes (est. 1780), although J. Crookes but was not noted in the Sheffield trade directory until later, in 1827. It is also possible that Crookes brothers have a family affiliation with the later period noted maker G. Crookes & Co., the well known and high quality Sheffield Maker of Bowie type knives, circa 1836-1856, who operated an import agency in New York City between 1851-1855 and also ran a wholesale cutlery outlet from 1852-1854. Their factory was located at 95 Norfolk Street, Sheffield; the same street as Joseph Rodgers (# 6 Norfolk). This later company was renamed Crookes & Co. between 1856-1867, after which it appears they went out of business. This fine Dagger was made between the mid-1830's period when Sheffield began creating Patriotic themes in their cutlery, to the 1840's; Crookes Brothers went out of business in 1850.
During most of the 19th century there was little law and order, and it was "every man for himself". Men were constantly at risk of being waylaid by thugs, ner' do goods, thieves, robbers and bandits. Men typically carried a single shot cap and ball percussion pistol, or brace (pair) of pistols for self-protection. The Colt Patterson revolver was not invented until 1836, and only a very affluent gentleman could have afforded one. It wasn't until the Colt 1849 Pocket model percussion (loose powder, cap & ball) revolver was introduced that most men could afford to purchase and carry a multi-shot pistol for self protection. These loose powder, cap & ball pistols were unreliable; and until cartridges became in general use after the U.S. Civil war, Men continued to carry edged weapons for self protection. Almost all men of this period would carry a fixed blade Dagger, Dirk or Bowie knife as a side arm on their belt that could perhaps avert a skirmish or confrontation just by being displayed; and some would also carry a folding dirk in their pocket or vest that would be hidden for concealment and used as a weapon when needed. Early Sheffield Daggers fall into the category of edged weapons made only for personal self-defense purposes. Double-edged Daggers were intended only for stabbing & slashing; not for whittling; and thus have the accompanying Mano-a-Mano romance and history associated with this early period of American history. They were the Gentleman's primary (or back up) side arm and necessaryaccouterment. Fancy Sheffield Daggers, Dirks and Bowies were favored by affluent Gentlemen, Gamblers, Dandys and Sporting Gents, as well as Military Officers during the Mexican American and Civil War periods who preferred them for self-defense. These weapons were carried as a necessaryaccoutermentfor self protection during through the 1800's, as well as beyond the turn of the century when carrying firearms were outlawed.
This is the creme`- de - la -creme` of Fine Sheffield Dagger self defense weapons; i.e., a well known, high quality early maker, fancy cross guard & pommel, select oxbone scales, inlaid shield escutcheon, Patriotic American Eagle etched blade with a mint gold embossed sheath. In my opinion, this is the finest example known of this type of fancy pattern Dagger that made for, and intended to be carried and used; typically for decades. Overall length in the sheath is 10 1/16". The Dagger is 9 11/16" overall. This is a hefty, deadly weapon for it's size; weight is 5.6 ounces including the sheath. This dagger shaped blade has a median ridge down the middle, is made from about 1/8" thick stock, and is 5 5/8" long with a double edge found on Self Defense knives that were intended for both stabbing and slashing when making a return stroke during a knife fight; i.e., 2 sharpened edges vs. the typical 1 sharpened edge found on dirk style knives. The blade has a handsome etched panel the full length of the blade depicting a spread winged American Eagle clutching olive leaves with the American Eagle Patriotic etched panel with "The Land of the Brave" "& The Home of the Free" with a field of stars above and below and fancy scroll work on both sides. The blade is sharp, with the original edge, and has never been sharpened. The dagger blade has a full tip, and no nicks to the blade edge when running your finger down the edge of the blade. The blade has all of it's original crocus of Iron polish; a time consuming final polish found on high quality Sheffield knives that makes the blade look as if it is chrome plated. As expected, there are a few small spots of natural aged spidering and very light scattered aging; otherwise you would think the blade was made yesterday. This spidering is very desirable, as it takes a century + to form naturally; and thus, and proves genuine age. This dagger is unsharpened, and by looking at it's mint original sheath, also appears to never been carried. The hilt scales are sculptured oxbone, secured with 2 German silver pins. The ends of the scales are angled at about a 45 degree angle in the side view and have natural light yellow aging; undarkened by the oils transferred by handling over time. The hilt widens at the pommel to a bulbous form with identical stamped 3 dimensional lead filled hollow stamped German silver mounts on both sides in a shell motif at the end and grape clusters and leaf panels. The German silver cross guard with integral ferrule has identical stamped 3 dimensional lead filled hollow stamped German silver mounts on both sides in a Fleur-de-Lis' pattern with downward curled Quillons. Both the cross guard and pommels are secured with German silver pins, and the knife is tight. The fancy U. S. shield style escutcheon plate intended for initials and /or a date is unengraved, and was inlaid flush into the oxbone scale using a parser (bow fiddle). The lining on the inside of the cross guard is brass and extends to the end of the pommel, visible in the side view. There are no dings or damage to the mounts and no cracks to the scales; testament that the knife has been put up and stored properly without exposure to sunlight, heat and moisture; and rarely handled and never dropped. The original sheath is typical Sheffield style; cardboard covered with a thin leather veneer in a very unusual maroon color. Both sides have the original fancy double gold gilded border with a stylized pattern on the center front panel. The sheath tip is German silver with the early cut tip pattern, and the throat with the original frog button are also German silver. The mounts have no dings or dents, and the throat has a minor scuff on the back side and a spot of natural aging near the button. This could be cleaned if desired; but has been left in untouched condition. These fancy cardboard sheaths were very delicate; not practical over time or extended use, and were made primarily to get the knife out of the showroom; thus, few survived intact. A matching sheath in original, mint condition, en suite with the same mint condition of the knife, adds very significantly to the value of this piece. The gold gilding is very delicate, and can be worn off by simple rubbing with the fingers. This sheath has all of the original gold embossed gilding and one small indentation on the back, non display side that is not distracting.
Finding any pre-1850 weapon in excellent + condition is rare. This extraordinary example has never been sharpened, buffed, cleaned or even carried; and was obviously unused and "put up". Think about how many generations of kids this piece avoided, and how it was kept in mint condition for 168 - 193 years. This is a handsome, high quality piece; and it would be impossible to improve on the condition of this dagger. I classify this Dagger as Mint +; i.e., mint plus something special (overall eye appeal) in unsharpened & uncarried condition that is unheard of in a pre-1850 weapon intended for use, plus provenance. You will see 1,000 daggers before you will see one in this superb, Connoisseur condition; and this is as good as it gets. This pre-1850 Sheffield Dagger would be the centerpiece of any collection. This would make a handsome display piece in any knife, dirk, dagger, Bowie, edged weapon, gambling, Mexican War, Civil War, Military, Old West or Western Americana collection; as well as being an excellent Investment for a discerning collector.
The late Bill Williamson wrote that 95% of all 19th Century Sheffield knives were imported into America. Given this American heritage and legacy, self defense weapons are extremely rare and desirable. This handsome, eye appealing, early double edged Dagger with fancy cross guard & pommel, select scales, American Eagle Patriotic etched blade in mint, unsharpened, uncarried condition with a mint gold embossed sheath is extraordinarily rare. This was then, and is still, a top of the line, connoisseur investment piece for a discerning Gentleman. 19th Century Sheffield knives were completely hand forged, hand ground, hand fitted, hand polished, hand etched; i.e., completely hand made, using only simple hand tools. Ask a modern custom knife maker what he would charge to duplicate this hand forging, grinding, polishing & etching using only simple hand tools such as hammers & drills; and you would still end up with a knife with no age, no history and no romance. Most collectors have never seen, much less had an opportunity to own a handsome, eye appealing, early self defense weapon such as this without traveling to an sale house, and offerding until you end up owning the piece (plus buyer's premium, taxes, shipping /handling and / or travel expenses).
Provenance: Formerly in two ex. Antique Bowie Knife Association Iconic members who have passed over the great divide: Don Littman / Salem Oregon 60 year collection, George Taylor / Los Gatos, California 50 year collection. This exact piece is illustrated in "The Largest Knife Sale Ever" catalog part I, February 25. 2008 in San Francisco by Greg Martin sales, page 28, lot #42, with an estimate of $4,000 - $6,000 (plus 15-25% buyer's premium, taxes, shipping / handling and / or travel expenses). This knife is shown in Don Littman's knife collection inventory on page 14, Littman # D8 under DIRKS / SMALL BOWIES, Greg Martin sales #1169. This is also recorded in my log book when I did the collection appraisal only (descriptions were done by the sale house) in September 2006, when I appraised this piece at $6,000. Copies of both are available to the purchaser. After acquiring this originally, I sold it for $6K; and later was able to buy it SELLER'S RETURN POLICY DOES NOT DISPLAY THE CORRECT SHIPPING U.S.A. & INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING, HANDLING, DELIVERY
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