ANTIQUE U.S. NAVAL DIRK WITH NELSON ERA CONNECTION
Likely 1805 – 1825
Presented is a high quality, and very rare, curved sea service naval dagger
called a “dirk” that was made in England with America in mind as evidenced by the spread eagle and Federal shield
on its blade.
sellercore The other connection is in the important crocodile symbol in the guard which is emblematic of the trophies of war that
were awarded to Lord Horatio Nelson and his officers of the victorious British Fleet over the French in 1798. The sword
presented to Nelson had a crocodile handle, and is on display in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England.
The birds head pommel, guard, backstrap and chain knuckle guard and near perfect
scabbard of this dirk are made of brass and have 90 percent of their original gilding. The handle is made of bone
or horn, and is a later replacement. On the obverse of the scabbard is a floral design, with no design on
the reverse. There is a Federal shield and spread eagle on the blade, and in the banner above is etched E.
Pluribus in gold wash. The ricasso has blue and gilded military symbols of cannon, acorn, leaves and draped flags with the
crest with an eagle above. On the reverse side is a large floral design with a circular design above.
of the Nile emblematic crocodile symbol
SIGNIFICANCE OF CROCODILE:After the battle, Nelson’s captains who fought at the Battle of the Nile formed “The Egyptian
Club” to meet and commemorate the battle. They commissioned a limited number of swords and medals for
issuance to the victors, all most all of which had an emblematic crocodile as part of the design. Among their first actions
were to present a crocodile handle sword to Nelson and commission this portrait. In 2002, at a Sotheby’s Nelson
auction, another ceremonial sword with its hilt in the shape of a crocodile was estimated at £40,000 to £60,000,
and sold for £270,650 to a private collector. The engraved sword was one of a handful made for the elite Egyptian Club.
Blade 9 1/2″ long X 7/8″ at widest
Grip 3 1/2″ long x 5/8′ wide x 1″ thick
Length overall in scabbard 14″
CONDITION: The curved 9 /8 inch blade with
a 3 inch false edge has remnants of bluing with areas of rusting and some minor pitting. There is less roughness on the reverse
side. In certain areas it looks worse in the pictures then its real condition. Possibly the dirk was in the
scabbard for a long time when it had water in it. The brass scabbard has almost all its original
gilding remaining and is near perfect.
Dirks have a long history in the Navy and date as far back as the Barbary War (1805) and
were used as part of the midshipman’s uniform as late as 1867. Early dirks are very rare since their were only 550 officers
in the Continental Navy.
America’s armed forces were increased in numbers around 1799 with the approach
of the War of 1812 with England. It was in those years at the turn of the 19th century swords and dirks were made, mainly
in England, in a style that was typically American in character for our military. At the same time, the eagle in
its entirety, with or without the motto, “E. Pluribus Unum,” was incorporated in the decoration of blades. After great deliberation
and much discussion, the eagle was finally adopted in 1782 as an appropriate national emblem. Shortly thereafter, it
made its official début in the use of the Great Seal of the United States, and on the coinage. Soon afterward this insignia
made its appearance generally on military paraphernalia. In the United States National Museum at Washington is an unusually
interesting officer’s saber with its blade decorated with spread eagle, motto, and the date 1783. This is without question
one of the first swords to be so designed and inscribed. In the naval service dirks had a short lived, probably
from about 1805 into the 1840’s except for the midshipman’s version authorized in 1867.
Crossed flags, oak leaves and cannons
American eagle and
for its age an and years of use this is a first rate U.S. Naval dirk from a historic connection to Lord Nelson’s Battle
of the Nile.
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with your purchase it may be returned, if without damage, within three days of receipt in its original condition and packaging.
Returns must be insured for their full value. All that is required is a prior email authorization by us for the return. Unfortunately,
no refund can be made for the cost of shipping, packaging and handling unless we are at fault.
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an outstanding example of an antique sea service dirk that has a connection to Lord Nelson’s victory at the Battle
of the Nile River in 1798.
Copyright 2008 by Land And Sea Collection™, All