Slater Brothers Sheffield boot knife; American Civil War era gambler’s dagger made circa 1850th-1860th. A unique German silver/inlaid ivory cross & mother-of-pearl polished horn handle, original sheath. Rare type by a seldom seen maker – VERY hard to find this nice and complete.
Rare American Civil War era gambler’s dagger boot knife made by Slater Brothers Cutlery in Sheffield, England circa 1850th-1860th, original German silver throat sheath is included. A fighting Bowie by Slater Brothers is illustrated on page 90 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 type by a hard to find maker but the best part is the dagger’s handle – the polished horn scale is intricately inlaid with an ivory cross surrounded by a silver wire with leaves and flowers made of mother-of-pearl. The white-on-black cross is strikingly beautiful; the overall quality of work is pretty amazing – what 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 attractive dagger is about 9-7/8” / 25 cm overall; the blade is about 5-3/8” / 13.7 cm long; solid full-tang construction; all parts are tight with no play. Ricasso is stamped with the “beehive” trademark and SLATER / BROTHERS / SHEFFIELD on one side. The dual-edge blade is very sharp still; the tip is intact. Some minor contact marks on the pommel are noted for accuracy.
Original German silver and polished horn handle is in great shape, considering the age; no cracks or repairs; all parts are tight with no play. The guard is an integral part of the handle – a pretty unusual feature for these boot knives. Original black with embossed gold borders veneer sheath; the throat is made of German silver; original frog stud is present and intact – rare this nice and complete. The metal triangular tip is missing – an easy fix. 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 Slater Brothers Sheffield boot knife/gambler’s dagger is in very much serviceable condition still; VERY rare this nice, especially with the original sheath included. Most of the surviving Civil War-era daggers 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 later Brothers Sheffield boot knife/gambler’s dagger and its original sheath have not been cleaned or tampered with in any way. This classic gambler’s dagger 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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