Sheffield George Wostenholm Washington Works IXL bowie, 8.5″ spear-point blade, stag handle; original IXL-marked sheath. Rare Victorian era bowie type in great overall condition, considering the age.
Scarce Victorian era hunting knife manufactured circa 1848-1890 by the famous “Cutlers to their Majesties” George Wostenholm & Son in Sheffield, England. George Wostenholm (later G. Wostenholm & Sons) had been one of the best makers of knives, bayonets, swords, and various cutlery in the British Empire since 1745; sadly, the company has been sold in 1971. Sheffield-made knives always played a big part in American history. During the American Civil War a lot of British-made Bowies were marketed to the Union soldiers with patriotic slogans and battle scenes – a clever marketing strategy. The ploy worked and these large fighting bowies 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 is a very well made bowie – the overall quality and balance is excellent; the blade is largely intact with no pitting or rust; hard-to find original leather sheath with German silver fittings is included. Ricasso is stamped with the famous I✱XL trademark (meaning I Excel); the blade is sharply stamped G. WOSTENHOLM & SON / WASHINGTON WORKS / SHEFFIELD on one side. The “WASHINGTON WORKS” logo was used from 1848 to 1890. The blade has not been e-sharpened – it’s very sharp still; the tip is intact – rare this nice. No contact or dings on the spine; a few tiny edge nicks are noted for accuracy. Genuine stag handle with German silver guard and a butt plate; the handle is tight; large oval guard has a bit of a play. The knife is about 13″ / 33 cm overall; the blade is about 8-1/2″ / 21.5 cm long; the knife has an excellent grip and sits quite nicely in the hand.
Original brown with embossed gold borders leather sheath with sharp I✱XL markings super-embossed on one side. Minor scuff marks on the ribs are consistent with age; the throat and triangular tip are made of German silver; original frog stud is missing; all other parts are nice and tight. Original issue Bowie sheaths are hard to VERY find since they deteriorated much faster than the knives; this type is super-hard this nice and complete. Over 150 years later, this antique Sheffield George Wostenholm Washington Works IXL bowie is still in very much serviceable condition. These large Victorian era Bowies are 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!
I have a small but very interesting collection of various edged WW1 and WW2 era weapons available for sale. Don’t forget to check out our Militaria section for other WW1 and WW2 era combat knives, including German WW1 era trench knives, and WW2 USAF Pilot Knives we offer for sale.
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