RARE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR DAGGER OR NAVAL
and well made “American Revolutionary” fighting dirk of large size
Presented is a highly unusual large dagger or dirk that
dates from the late 17th or early 18th Century. It likely is European in origin and found its way over here prior to our
Revolutionary War. This was where most weapons were from at that time. The straight blade is double edged, with a flat median
strip reaching from the hilt to the tip. It likely has been cut down from such a sword which was quite typical. The blade configuration
is known to have been used in European hunting swords of the 1730 to 1750 period.
One expert we contacted believes that it is a German hunting knife of the type that was used by a
“wealthy huntsman’s assistant for the “coup de grace” in finishing a wild boar. The three flat planes of the blade were unusual
for then, but you will see it on some 18th century Italian hunting bayonets. A fair amount of the weaponry, of all
kinds, used in the Americas at that time were in fact of German origin. These are seen in the Metropolitan and Smithsonian
Our own research comes up with a dirk of Scottish origin, Ca 1690-1720
that has many similar characteristics. It is found on page 240 of “Swords & Blades of the American Revolution”
by George C. Newman, Rebel Publishing Co., 1991.
The great majority of Scottish dirks had grips of wood,ivory horn or brass, but this version was all metal. Many of
their blades were cut down swords. The book notes that Scottish dirks first came to America in sizable numbers just after
Rudimentary cross guard with quillions and defensive funnel catch
There is an unusual heart shaped frog on the back of the scabbard with a grommet
adjacent as a single hanger. Near the throat of the scabbard on each side is a brass rivet which holds a spring
clip on the inside to keep the blade from flopping around.
The pommel is a metal cap held on by a peened tang. The grip is made from two rolled
pieces of metal held together by a thin line of solder or lead. The cross guard is a rod with a ball quillion on
one end. On the other end of the cross guard, the cap of the ball quillion is gone which shows its base is peened
on. There is a funnel shaped cup above the ricasso at the hilt end of the blade which was designed to catch the
tip of another’s weapon.
Pommel peened in place.
Note defensive funnel catch at cross guard
Even though the design is rather crude, the metal working appears advanced. We have
never seen anything comparable so if you are looking for something unusual with quality though rudimentary workmanship, this
should be your choice.
CONDITION: There is a dent in the handle and the
blade is loose on the hilt, and both the hilt and the blade have a beautiful patina of age.
Iron grip all housed in metal scabbard with distinctive heart shaped frog
Length overall 13 3/4″
In scabbard 14 1/2″ L
Blade 8 3/8″ long X 13/16″ at widest
Grip 4 1/8″ long not counting the pommel x 1 1/4′ wide x 7/8″ thick
Weight 11 1/2 oz