Wilkinson Son Sheffield US Navy deck knife, pre-1890 manufacture. Full-tang construction, rosewood handle; rare type in excellent overall condition, considering the age.
Rare antique “NEW YORK SHIELD” marked US Navy deck knife made circa 1860-1890 for the US Navy by Wilkinson & Son in Sheffield, England. Hard-to-find type marked “NY / Union Shield” on the blade and U.S. NAVY on the rosewood handle, . Wilkinson & Sons made all kinds of cutlery and were in operation from 1777 to 1917. 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 British knives of various shapes and sizes. This particular “NY / Union Shield” Bowie was undoubtedly catered to the New York state volunteers. A similar Alexander Bowie type is illustrated on page 366 of THE BOWIE KNIFE, UNSHEATHING AN AMERICAN LEGEND book by Norm Flayderman – an expert on the subject of antique American Bowies (see the scan attached).
This very attractive specimen is about 11-1/2” / 29.2 cm overall; the blade is about 7” / 17.8 cm long; solid full-tang construction. Ricasso is stamped WILKINSON & SON / SHEFFIELD on one side; the edge has been very gently sharpened; is very sharp still; the tip is intact. The blade’s spine is near-excellent with no typical dings or contact marks. A few minor surface rust spots are noted for accuracy (cleanable). Original rosewood handle scales are in excellent shape, considering the age; no chips, cracks, or repairs; all handle parts are tight with no play. Over 150 years later, this antique Wilkinson Son Sheffield US Navy deck knife is still in very much serviceable condition. These antique deck knives are VERY rare this nice since most would not last long after constant contact with salt water; don’t miss your chance to add this gorgeous specimen to your collection!
This original pre-1890 Wilkinson Son Sheffield US Navy deck knife has not been cleaned or tampered with in any way. The knife 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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