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Late French Brass Fighting Dirk 1840-1860

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Late French Brass Fighting Dirk 1840-1860
 

This Old Relic Has Been Sold.
Thank you!

LATE FRENCH BRASS FIGHTING DIRK

French 1st Empire Fighting dirk image
French
 
 

Presented is a French Infantryman's sword from the 1840 -1860's that has been made into a Fighting Dirk. As configured, the original "P" guard has been removed and the bade has been shortened with a sharp double edge and a two strand, wire wrapped, bone grip from an antler. The furniture is brass. There is no scabbard. It's size and heft shows that it was intended to be used in combat rather than for dress with a point of balance just forward of the guard.

CONDITION: The straight double edged blade has turned grey with age and has a mottled dark grey to black areas. There is some minor pitting and spotting. The brown antler grip is in excellent condition with the wire wrap being a recent replacement. The cross guard is slightly loose because the drift pin is missing. It is without quillions. The pommel is in the shape of a crown and the design is worn. The weapon is without maker's marks, which was not unusual for the period when many of the weapons were that way.

A near twin of the pommel is pictured on the cover of "Les POIGNARDS DE MARINE" by Lhoste, Resek, and Tonnerre. Editions Du Portail

The crown shaped pommel is very similar to many shown in Lhoste that were made during the First Empire (1795-1814). It has the classic conical pommel cap whose design is of alternating panels of flowers and scallop shells with a decorated band of geometrical figures under the cap and a similar band acting as the ferrule. Both are held in place by brass rivets. 

The styling of the dirk is decidedly French with it's straight, double edge blade. Dirks with a curved or “saber type” blades with a single edge were more popular with the British, and over time they began to be referred to as the “British dirk”, while straight-bladed double edged dirks are known as the “French dirk”. 

ObverseReverse side of pommel of French fighting dirk image
Two French dirk pommel caps from the 1st Empire as pictured by Lhoste image
               A comparison of this dirk's pommel to two pictured on the cover of Lhoste's book on dirks
 

PROVENANCE: From a private collection of nautical antiques where it was acquired ten years ago. 

French fighting dirk's obverse hilt image
French fighting dirk's reverse image
                             Showing both sides of the French 1st Empire fighting dirk's hilt 
 
 
French 1st Empire's blade toward hilt, reverse image
Center section of dirk's blade image
Pointof reverse side of 1st Empire French dirk image
            The condition of the very sharp blade is the same on both sides. This is the reverse.
Showing the front of the cross guard image
The end of the pommel showing the tang image
 Front of cross guard shown over the pommel with the tang in the center
 
 

DIMENSIONS:  

Hilt   4 1/4" L x  1 3/4" W x 3/4"T                  Cross guard 2 5/16" W

Length overall 17 1/4" Blade  12 1/2" L x 3/4" W x 1/4" T at widest

Weight   8 3/8  ounces

 
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