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Circa 1800 British naval dirk (sold)

A rare British naval fighting dirk from around 1800, in good order.

image B26 1800 British Naval Dirk

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This dirk started life as one or more naval officer's swords from around 1780, and was cut down and converted into a fighting dirk around 1800, when it was probably issued to a gunnery master or similar. Naval captains were responsible for their own budgets and budgetary constraints, so this passing down of weapons from officers to senior hands (gunnery sargeants, etc.) was very common. The dirk is possibly made from two swords, as the grip and pommel are the traditional form for so-called "slotted" hilt swords, which the crossguard clearly is not. Very few of these dirks survived, as they were not officer's private possessions and therefore were generally used and abused until they were no longer usable, perhaps even in a galley. So this is a rare example indeed to have survived. This is the type of dirk that would have been worn by senior hands on the gun decks of the British Royal Navy at the time of Trafalgar.

The 8 1/2 inch blade is in good order and fairly firm in the hilt. The wooden twisted turn grip has a few missing areas but is generally good. The leather and gilted steel fitting sheath is I believe period, A superb investment; miss this one and see how long you have to wait until another comes along! Further / full sized images upon request. Please quote reference number B26 (479)

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