Manson Sheffield Civil War Bowie knife 1850th-1860th, blade etched “American Hunting Knife”, German silver handle, original sheath is intact. Scarce short-lived maker; excellent overall condition – VERY rare this nice and complete.
Rare American Civil War era classic Bowie knife made by Manson Cutlery in Sheffield, England circa 1840th-1860th. The blade is finely etched “AMERICAN HUNTING KNIFE” – this Bowie was clearly made for the American market. This exact etching and knife type are illustrated on page 409 of THE BOWIE KNIFE – UNSHEATHING THE AMERICAN LEGEND book by Norm Flayderman – an undisputed authority on the subject of classic American Bowies (see the page’s scan attached). A rare Civil War era Bowie by a hard to find maker with only a few surviving examples – 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 11-1/2” / 29.2 cm overall; the mirror-polished blade is about 6-1/2” / 16.5 cm long; solid construction; all parts are tight with no play. Ricasso is stamped MANSON / SHEFFIELD on one side. The blade has not been re-sharpened; original factory edge is razor-sharp still; the tip is intact; no dings or contact marks on the blade’s spine. The etching is sharp and clear; one minor rust spot on ricasso is noted for accuracy.
Original German silver handle is in excellent shape, considering the age; no dings, cracks, or repairs. The guard is German silver as well; it’s nice and tight with no play. Original brown with gold borders leather sheath is super-embossed with the floral pattern on one side. Some minor scuff marks and scratches are consistent with age; nothing major. 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.
Over 150 years later, this antique Manson Sheffield Civil War Bowie knife is in very much serviceable condition still; 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 Manson 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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