This 16in (41cm) ‘Improved Pattern’ Bowie knife did not disappoint, selling at the top of its estimate for $60,000 (£45,455). Most importantly, this was an unrecorded new discovery.
The blade bore the stamp of Schively of 75 Chestnut St in nearby Philadephia and the knife was in overall excellent condition with plenty of original finish and crisp chequering on the dark horn handle. Only the leather sheath had suffered since it was made in the 1830s, with much of the original finish flaked off.
This large Bowie knife came up at the Antony Cribb (22% buyer’s premium) auction in Newbury on August 4 with an estimate of £1500-2500.
Manson of Sheffield was a prolific supplier of cutlery hilted Bowie knives in the 19th Century. The 14in (35.5cm) clipped back blade is stamped MANSON SHEFFIELD at the forte and with the UNION handshake emblem.
Cribb says: “The large size of this piece, 55.5cm overall, combined with the quality would suggest that it was either an exhibition piece, display piece or special commission.”
It sold online to a US bidder for £3800.