Barclay Bros Sheffield Bowie knife made circa 1850th-1860th. German silver guard with “shield” stag handle, original sheath. VERY rare maker; great overall condition – super-hard to find this nice and complete.
Rare American Civil War era classic Bowie knife made by Barclay & Brothers Cutlery in Sheffield, England circa 1850th-1860th. Little is known about Barclay & Bros, only a few examples of their Bowie knives and a few folder models survived. Sheffield-made knives always played a big part in American history. During the American Civil War a lot of British-made Bowies such as this one were marketed to the Union soldiers with patriotic slogans and battle scenes – a clever marketing strategy. The ploy worked and these handy knives were hugely popular with the Union and Confederal troops alike, as evident from the numerous Civil War-era photos of soldiers posing with the Bowies of various shapes and sizes. Just like with the most Sheffield makers of the era, some Barclay & Bros Bowies ended up in the American market during the American Civil War. This is one of the harder to find makers of the era with only a few surviving fighting Bowies known- a great find!
This very attractive Bowie is about 10-1/2” / 26.67cm overall; the blade is about 6-1/4” / 16 cm long; solid full-tang construction; all parts are tight with no play. Ricasso is stamped BARCLAY / & BROS. / SHEFFIELD on one side. The blade has not been re-sharpened and it’s razor-sharp still; the tip is intact. No typical dings or contact marks on the blade’s spine; the original blade tip is not damaged; no rust spots or pitting on the blade – this type is VERY hard to find this nice. Original stag handle scales with engravable “Federal shield” medallion pinned on one the left scale. An unusual elegantly-shaped thick solid German silver crossguard is about 5 mm thick and 2-3/16” / 5.5 cm wide.
Stag scales are in excellent shape, considering the age – no cracks, chips or repairs; all handle parts are tight. Original red veneer sheath is included. Original gilt embossing is clear and sharp; German silver throat is nice and tight but the other metal piece covering the tip went missing – a fixable detraction. Original issue Bowie sheaths are hard to VERY find since they deteriorate much faster than the knives; this type is super-hard this nice and complete.
Over 150 years later, this antique Barclay Bros Sheffield Bowie knife is in very much serviceable condition still; VERY rare this nice, especially with the original sheath included. Most of the surviving “classic” Civil War-era Bowies are in private collections and rarely come up for sale; don’t miss your chance to add this gorgeous specimen to your collection!
This rare Barclay Bros Sheffield Bowie knife and its original sheath have not been cleaned or tampered with in any way. This classic Bowie is in 100% original “as is” condition; these are the actual photos. We have several vintage European knives available for sale – please check out our Collectable Blades section for similar listings.
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