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" I could not believe my eyes " 1810 Naval Dirk


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#1 ron norman

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:20 AM

I could not believe what I was seeing at a weekend Antique Show in the San Antonio, TX area. There on the table in front of me was an item marked "Double letter opener" and priced at 45.00.  When I saw what it was and picked it up to examin it to be sure, I just could not believe what I was seeing. I asked the dealer if he could do any better and he said yes. I will sell it to you for 40.00 including sales tax. He said he had priced it at 45.00 because he had never seen a double letter opener like this before.

 

Well tucked in the back of the leather sheath ( where a pair of matching shears would have been ) was a fantastic Silver Mounted US NAVAL DIRK (Circa 1810) with its original solid silver sheath.

 

I have attached a photo of the Letter opener, Leather Case and Dirk as the were together on the table and also a picture of the dirk and scabbard removed from the case.

 

These US NAVAL DIRKS are very scarce and especially in all silver hilts with a current value range of 1500.00 to 2000.00.

 

This is why I try to make the Antique shows , because you NEVER KNOW what you could find.

 

Ron Norman

 

dirk1.jpg dirk4.jpg



#2 Sabrejet

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:24 AM

I know nothing at all about vintage blades, but you evidently scored... big time!  Congrats!



#3 jguy1986

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:35 AM

Wow, I would have probably said "Nice letter opener" and kept walking, unknowingly. Blades are not my strongest area of knowledge. Nice score, congrats.

#4 BigDogMilitaria

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:36 AM

Nothing better than the "unexpected" find that was right under everyone elses nose! Congrats



#5 Garandomatic

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:43 AM

So is the letter opener and leather some sort of addition to it? I'm having a hard time understanding the combo...



#6 ron norman

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 10:57 AM

So is the letter opener and leather some sort of addition to it? I'm having a hard time understanding the combo...

 

Some where along the way the small Naval Dirk was put in the back part of the letter opener set wher normaly a pair of sisors would be. Sets of the letter opener with matching shears have been sold for years as a desk accessory. How and why the shears were removed and the dirk was put in their place one can only guess. 

 

Perhaps the person whose name appears on the leather scabbard (" LEE HALL " ) lost or broke the shears and when someone was inventorying his estate just slid the dirk into the leather case as they were probably in the same desk drawer.

 

I wish I could tie the name to the dirk, but the dirk proceeded the desk set by around 150 years, and navy records of that period are hard to find.

 

Ron Norman



#7 FightenIrish35

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 11:05 AM

In the book U.S. Naval Officers "Their Swords and Dirks" you will see similar dirks.

 

This dirk would be circa 1830.

 

It is not a typical style of US Naval dirk for the 1810 era.



#8 ron norman

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 11:26 AM

In the book U.S. Naval Officers "Their Swords and Dirks" you will see similar dirks.

 

This dirk would be circa 1830.

 

It is not a typical style of US Naval dirk for the 1810 era.

 

Thanks for the information. I have the book on order and it has been shipped.  I have researched quite a bit and find little is known about these small silver dirks. My research suggests that they were made by the many Baltimore Silver Smiths when that City was a major USN port. I know that there was an USN official order before 1810 the would not allow dirks to be worn on shore. There are some knowledgeable collectors that believe they are as early as the 1810 period.

 

Ron Norman



#9 Gumshoe

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 11:41 AM

The chance of random reward. It's what hooks gamblers, and collectors alike. It's why I dig through piles and piles of krap at estate sales, flea markets, etc. Just to experience what you just did! Grats on that dirk. Great find!

#10 uplandmod

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 01:07 PM

I love the roulette of antique fairs!

Incredible!
LF

#11 fstop61

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 03:20 PM

always better to be the windshield instead of the bug....congrats. on a great find



#12 1SG_1st_Cav

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Posted 01 March 2014 - 08:02 PM

AWESOME find!  Congrats! Danny



#13 MattOravik

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 04:58 PM

Ha I love situations like that. Having to try and hide the fact that you're sweating, trembling, and your eyes are twitching while quickly handing over the money. Nice find!



#14 Jeff TX

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 05:39 PM

AWESOME. I just showed your find to my wingman so she could see the potential in our weekend hunts of estate sales, as well as stopping at garage sales along the way. YOU DA MAN!



#15 kilgarvan

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:08 AM

Awesome find!



#16 268th C.A.

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:42 PM

Well when you know you have hit a home run on an item that's value is of that, how can you ask for a discount? I just pay the asking price, I like to sleep at night. bought a Confederate named wooden canteen like that, They asked $30.00 I paid it......Deals are out there. David



#17 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 12:48 PM

In a word - Stunning!

#18 Carabinieri

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:52 PM

Great find, and a lesson they are still out there if you know how to look!



#19 ron norman

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 11:34 AM

Great find, and a lesson they are still out there if you know how to look!

You are right, over the years I have made some great finds. The most important thing I can say is to read as much as you can about the areas that you have an interest in.  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

 

Ron Norman



#20 jackconaway

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Posted 07 March 2014 - 06:28 PM

wow!  :o



#21 lovmilinsig

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 07:40 AM

What a great score .

 

Ed



#22 SgtMaddoxUSMC

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 07:39 PM

Very nice!  I'm jealous!



#23 ed101

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 01:47 PM

Best part of the hobby is that unexpected find!!  Congratulations!!



#24 kanemono

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:50 AM

That is a beautiful Naval Dirk, mid nineteenth and if it is not hallmarked probably American. Look close for a makers mark, If it is American it could be worth quite a bit of money.Here is a dirk that sold for $956.00

Inscribed Etched Blade American Silver Mounted Naval Dirk C. 1810. A known form generally associated with the Baltimore/Philadelphia area. 9 1/2" overall with 5 3/4" heavy double edged blade with median ridge. The blade is etched for 3/4 of its length with floral and scroll motifs. Blade generally smooth and gray with etching showing some wear. Elaborate all silver hilt with serrated edge on cross guard. Guard just slightly bent but no cracks or breaks, else the hilt is perfect with nice untouched dark patina. All silver scabbard with the obverse nearly covered by scroll engraving with frog stud decorated with floral rosette.

 

Attached Images

  • Untitled-1.jpg
  • Dirk-side-A.jpg


#25 sundance

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:07 PM

That's one beautiful knife. I would have bought it for looks alone, not having a clue that it was a 19th century   

   dirk. I got lucky once buying a Knife Crafters knife just because it looked unique having a civil war sword blade. I got real happy when I found out what it was and realizing I got a great deal.




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