CLIP BLADE STAG HILTED BOWIE KNIFE WITH ORIGINAL FANCY SHEATH. Bowies from the 1840's period fall into the category of edged weapons that include use for personal self-defense; and have the accompanying Mano-a-Mano romance and history associated with this early period of History where Bowie knives were a necessary weapon and accouterment. One hundred and seventy-five years ago a young man in search of flashy, exciting, dangerous toys would look to his personal arsenal. In most of America, especially the South and West, a man would never venture into public without some sort of weapon(s). There was little law and order in America during the 1840's, and it was "every man for himself".
Men were constantly at risk of being waylaid by thugs, ner' do goods, thieves, robbers and bandits. An 1840's Frontiersmen, Trapper or Mountain Man would typically carry a fixed blade side arm used for self-defense as well as for dressing big game and clearing a campsite. Men typically carried a cap and ball percussion pistol or brace of 2 pistols for self-protection.
Percussion cap & ball pistols were prone to misfiring, and men would also need to carry a dirk, dagger or Bowie knife as a back-up or primary weapon. Wealthy Gentlemen of means wanted fancy goods as a necessary accoutrement for self-defense. The age, rarity and condition, as well as the type of blade etching or stampings, knife mounts and a fancy sheath are all key factors in the eye appeal and value of an Antique Bowie. Bowies that included coffin shaped hilts, fancy cross guards, figural pommel decorations such as a half horse / half alligator, alligator, a Federal Eagle or Horse Head patterns were popular, as were cyphered blades in the late 1840s.
Bowie knives were the rage in America from the early 1830's through the 1850's, and one of the most ornate and flashy 1840s weapons was a Sheffield Cyphered Bowie blade with a fancy sheath. Almost all Cyphered blades date to the 1845 1850 period. Even though most States outlawed carrying Bowie knives by the 1840's, Men continued to carry them as an accoutrement and necessary self-defense weapon. All early Bowies could be used as a primary or back up weapon if needed for self-defense; and can be just as deadly as a pistol side arm in a close encounter. These early Bowie knives were completely hand forged, hand ground, hand fitted, hand polished, i.
Completely handmade, using grindstones and the simple hand tools. Wragg is a well-known, highly regarded, and desirable Early Sheffield high quality Bowie knife maker. Levine rates his knives as a "very high value". His earliest address is the Furnace Hill Works at 25 Furnace Hill, used from 1830 to 1846. His sons joined the firm in 1846, and his Maker's marked was changed to Wragg & Sons when the firm moved to 38 Furnace Hill.There is also a known example of a folding Wragg horsehead dirk with a 40 Furnace Hill address. It is possible Wragg may have continued to use the 25 Furnace Hill stamp until 1850 when the firm moved to the Sheaf Island Works. It is unclear when Wragg went out of business; some sources say 1860, others say he continued into the 1860's. This Wragg Bowie is 13 1/8" overall, with an eye appealing early style elongated clip blade that is 8" long X 1 1/16 wide and made from 5/32 stock. This elongated shaped blade is unusual and is an early style.
The ricasso is hot stamped, S. WRAGG, 25, "FURNACE HILL, and SHEFFIELD" in the well-known 4-line half circle gang stamp. This is Wragg's earliest address used between 1830 to 1846. Since almost all Cyphered blades date to the 1845 1850 period, this Bowie most probably dates to 1845.Note that the short 5-year of cypher blades was mostly due to the makers discovery that cypher stampings cost more to produce and sell but weakened the blade and could cause damage and broken blades with hard use, along with waning popularity. The blade is in excellent condition for its extreme 175 years of age; full in shape with the tip intact. When you run your finger along the edge, there are no chips or roughness. Note the top edge 3 1/4 back from the tip is a. False edge, found on early Bowies.
This provided an additional cutting edge and was also useful in a backward thrust in a knife fight. This Bowie has old extremely light sharpening marks at the blade edge, showing it has been properly sharpened over time. There is one small spot of pitting, some small marks on both sides of the ricasso and a few scattered age spots. Almost all Bowies have been cleaned, buffed or polished several times in its lifetime. This blade was properly cleaned long ago, and now has a naturally occurring smooth light grey aged patina overall and is in fine condition.
The most obvious, striking and extremely desirous feature of the blade are the multiple cyphers. This blade has about as many cyphers as you will ever see on one blade: 10 stampings in all. The top blade flat has 4 stampings, a hunter with a rifle mounted on a galloping horse chasing a deer, 2 stamps, each with 2 dogs in pursuit of the deer, and a fleeing buck deer.
Below are stampings of an Egyptian Sphynx with the words, TRY ME. The next cypher is a mostly obliterated diamond British Registry mark first used in 1842, so this was an early mark. These were used 1842 1867 and changed slightly between 1867 until they were discontinued in 1883.
The next cypher is a mythical dragon with the words I SURPASS ALL. Note that Chinese immigrants came to American in the 1840s and went to work in farming, mining, and logging across the America West. They built levees along the rivers, worked in manufacturing to produce cigars and as laborers. This immigration grew tremendously after the discovery of gold in California.
Chinese railroad workers helped to build the nation's first transcontinental railroad in 1869 and at least 70 other railroad lines and depots in America. The next cypher is a standing Chinese worker with a distinctive hat. The next cypher is a bull with the words FOR USE. The last cypher is the head of a Chinese man with a distinctive hat and ponytail. The number and diversity of these cyphers is very unusual and adds character and significant value to this Bowie.
The hilt of this Bowie is 5 overall, made from a curved single piece of deer antler stag that flares from the German silver elongated oval crossguard and 9/16 double banded ferrule towards the pommel that has an oval German silver cap. All-natural materials shrink over time, especially stag due to its porousness. However, this stag hilt is in very good condition with no cracks or damage; and with as expected, actual wear to the hilt with associated variations in color from hand sweat, moisture, and exposure to the elements with a natural aged patina. The hilt, blade, ferrule and crossguard are all tight fitting with no play. The original sheath of this Bowie is quite rare with a lot of eye appeal.Almost all Bowies of this period have no sheath, a damaged sheath, or a replaced sheath. Typical 1840s Sheffield sheaths were cardboard with a thin veneer of leather with a German silver throat with button and sheath tip. This sheath is 100% original to the knife, is in fine condition for its age, has the original throat with intact button and tip, made with eye appealing dark red embossed veneer leather, with the unusual feature of 4 embossed leather decorative panels in green and blue on both sides. Very few of this style sheath are known and are rare in this condition. The few other similar sheaths with colored decorative panels I have seen were mostly by Wragg with blue, green or red panels; although there are undoubtedly a few other makers that used this style.
Note the top edge of the sheath from the back of the metal tip to the end of the curved false edge has been cut from inserting the blade that sliced open this cardboard edge and appears like a crack across this top piece. Although this could easily be repaired, this is a common occurrence, adds character from actual use, is certainly not distracting overall, and should be left as. The knife fits snugly into the sheath, with no play. This Rare Wragg Bowie Knife is for the advanced knife collector, with a multiple hot stamped cyphered blade and a spectacular original and complete fancy sheath from a highly regarded 19th Century Sheffield maker.
Cyphered Bowies with a fine orginal sheath are rarely seen and seldom offered for sale. This is the first 100% fine and complete Cyphered Bowie & sheath I have seen for sale in years.
Most collectors have never seen, much less had an opportunity to own a Sheffield made Cyphered Bowie made for the American market Bowie Knife. A single fine Antique Sheffield Bowie can constitute an entire collection by itself. They fall into the early category of edged weapons made for use as a camp knife, worn as a deterrent to a potential assault, and for personal self-defense purposes.Thus, they have the accompanying Mano-a-Mano romance and history associated with this early period of American history. This fancy Sheffield Bowie would make a handsome display piece and would complement any 19th Century Fixed or Folding Bowie, Fixed or Folding Dirk / Dagger / Knife, Western Americana, Old West, Frontiersman, Trapper, Gambling, Gambler, Dandy, Sporting Gent, Self Defense Edged Weapon collection or display in a den, Man cave or office.
Many collectors consider a rare Cyphered Sheffield Bowie with sheath made for the American market at the top of the list for Antique Bowies in eye appeal, value and 1845 1850 historical period interest including the Mexican American War period. Exceptions include holidays, power outages, and evacuations. Claims such as doesn't match description or photos, doesn't seem authentic, Doesn't fit, Wrong item sent, Missing parts or pieces, Doesn't work or defective, Arrived damaged.
Due to a myriad of International and U. Listing and template services provided by inkFrog. The item "FINE & RARE MULTIPLE CYPHERED CLIP BLADE BOWIE + ORIGINAL SHEATH BY WRAGG c. 1845" is in sale since Thursday, April 8, 2021.
This item is in the category "Collectibles\Knives, Swords & Blades\Collectible Fixed Blade Knives\Vintage Fixed Blade Knives\Factory Manufactured". The seller is "1knifeguy1" and is located in Fairfield, California.
This item can be shipped to United States.