James Westa Sheffield Civil War Bowie knife, original sheath. “OK DCL” marked blade, stag handle; orig sheath is intact. Rare short-lived maker; great overall condition – VERY rare this nice and complete.
Rare American Civil War era classic Bowie knife made by James Westa Cutlery (Lord Street, Sheffield, England), circa 1840th-1860th. The blade and original scabbard are marked “OK” – this Bowie was clearly made for the American market. Very little is known about this particular maker; it seems that by the mid-1860th James Westa was no longer in business. A rare maker with only a few surviving cutlery examples today – a great find!
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.
This very attractive Bowie is about 11-1/8” / 28.2 cm overall; mirror-polished blade is about 7-1/8” / 18 cm long; solid full-tang construction. Ricasso is stamped JAMES WESTA / LORD ST. / SHEFFIELD on one side; DCL in the other. The edge has been lightly re-sharpened; is very sharp still; the tip is intact; no typical dings or contact marks on the blade’s spine. A few minor surface rust spots are noted for accuracy.
Original stag handle scales are in excellent shape, considering the age; no chips, cracks, or repairs. Pinned German silver medallion on one side; the pins are German silver as well. A solid “boat”-shaped German silver cross guard is about 7 mm thick and 2-3/8” / 6 cm wide; all handle parts are tight with no play. Original brown with gold borders leather sheath is super-embossed “OK” on one side. Some material loss on the ridges; minor scuff marks and scratches consistent with age. The throat and triangular tip are made of German silver; original frog stud is present and intact – very rare this nice and complete. 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. Also, this Bowie comes with a new soft green fabric storage pouch included – a perfect way to store and preserve this fantastic Bowie specimen for years to come.
Over 150 years later, this antique James Westa Sheffield Civil War Bowie knife is in very much serviceable condition still. These Bowies are VERY rare this nice, especially with the original leather 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 “OK DCL”-marked James Westa Sheffield Civil War 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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