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Okay, I'm new, so please excuse me if I don't do this right.  I have run across what is supposedly a "vintage" Bowie knife to which I've taken a fancy.  However, as you all know, there are so many repro's out there, one never can be sure.  There are no maker's marks or any other identifying marks.  I'm fascinated by the 15 pins in the scales, and the overall look.  Does anyone have any ideas or opinions on its age and make?  Thanks

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Also, the sunburst and guard remind of a Zouave bayonet I used to have for my rifle when I was reenacting.

Enjoy the post!  Definitely a reproduction. Now, I'll be honest here.  If you look at the collar supporting the guard, as well as the pommel with the sunburst pattern, they are pinned on after the fact, not reveling in any detail of blending or disappearing.  Also a bit sloppy in its application.  The guard is quite excessive in size, and the blade is nicely shaped but too clean to be vintage in age. The size works well for the knife overall, and scales well to the whole piece.  The handle pins are purely decorative within the natural bone handles.  Also, if the handles had age, you would see a lot more shading in color and likely some cracking or checking with shrinking and expansion with age.

Overall?  A nice looking reproduction (I would guess 5 to 10 years old) well scaled and cool piece to have fun with!  Enjoy!

This is a cheap modern, mass produced, Pakistani or Indian knife and stylistically, really doesn't look anything like any authentic knife. Really, it's a caricature of an antique bowie knife, with exaggerated features.
I have seen this particular type on eBay many times.

Some unsolicited advice: Anyone interested in buying a real antique bowie knife should first download (and save for future reference) the catalogs of Atlanta Cutlery and Crazy Crow. If you see a knife that looks anything at all like something they sell, no matter how rusty it is or what it's stamped, DON'T buy it. This knife is of that general type but I don't know the exact source.

Secondly, get yourself a good bowie knife reference book and study the knives in it. For starters I recommend Flayderman's, which is out of print and (with some bias) "A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America" which I co-authored. Don't just look at the shapes, study the markings, the materials, the way the knives show age, how they wear and rust, how they're marked.  Study other knives of the same period. Interact with people you are 100% sure you can trust. And don't think you're going to jump in and get a book-worthy knife at a bargain price without investing some time and effort first, or you WILL be taken advantage of. Antique bowie knives are, in my biased opinion, the pinnacle of American knives and highly rewarding -- but you have got to pay your dues.

Oh, and I highly recommend joining the Antique Bowie Knife Association.

Wow! Thanks so much...that’s how we learn.

Bryan W said:

Enjoy the post!  Definitely a reproduction. Now, I'll be honest here.  If you look at the collar supporting the guard, as well as the pommel with the sunburst pattern, they are pinned on after the fact, not reveling in any detail of blending or disappearing.  Also a bit sloppy in its application.  The guard is quite excessive in size, and the blade is nicely shaped but too clean to be vintage in age. The size works well for the knife overall, and scales well to the whole piece.  The handle pins are purely decorative within the natural bone handles.  Also, if the handles had age, you would see a lot more shading in color and likely some cracking or checking with shrinking and expansion with age.

Overall?  A nice looking reproduction (I would guess 5 to 10 years old) well scaled and cool piece to have fun with!  Enjoy!

Again, thanks...those are some really good suggestions that I’ll follow up on.

Mark Zalesky said:

This is a cheap modern, mass produced, Pakistani or Indian knife and stylistically, really doesn't look anything like any authentic knife. Really, it's a caricature of an antique bowie knife, with exaggerated features.
I have seen this particular type on eBay many times.

Some unsolicited advice: Anyone interested in buying a real antique bowie knife should first download (and save for future reference) the catalogs of Atlanta Cutlery and Crazy Crow. If you see a knife that looks anything at all like something they sell, no matter how rusty it is or what it's stamped, DON'T buy it. This knife is of that general type but I don't know the exact source.

Secondly, get yourself a good bowie knife reference book and study the knives in it. For starters I recommend Flayderman's, which is out of print and (with some bias) "A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America" which I co-authored. Don't just look at the shapes, study the markings, the materials, the way the knives show age, how they wear and rust, how they're marked.  Study other knives of the same period. Interact with people you are 100% sure you can trust. And don't think you're going to jump in and get a book-worthy knife at a bargain price without investing some time and effort first, or you WILL be taken advantage of. Antique bowie knives are, in my biased opinion, the pinnacle of American knives and highly rewarding -- but you have got to pay your dues.

Oh, and I highly recommend joining the Antique Bowie Knife Association.

Mark,

I've ordered your book from Amazon, and look forward to learning more.  I'm also looking at the Antique Bowie Knife Association.  Thanks for everything.

Jim Lites

Little Rock, AR

Mark Zalesky said:

This is a cheap modern, mass produced, Pakistani or Indian knife and stylistically, really doesn't look anything like any authentic knife. Really, it's a caricature of an antique bowie knife, with exaggerated features.
I have seen this particular type on eBay many times.

Some unsolicited advice: Anyone interested in buying a real antique bowie knife should first download (and save for future reference) the catalogs of Atlanta Cutlery and Crazy Crow. If you see a knife that looks anything at all like something they sell, no matter how rusty it is or what it's stamped, DON'T buy it. This knife is of that general type but I don't know the exact source.

Secondly, get yourself a good bowie knife reference book and study the knives in it. For starters I recommend Flayderman's, which is out of print and (with some bias) "A Sure Defense: The Bowie Knife in America" which I co-authored. Don't just look at the shapes, study the markings, the materials, the way the knives show age, how they wear and rust, how they're marked.  Study other knives of the same period. Interact with people you are 100% sure you can trust. And don't think you're going to jump in and get a book-worthy knife at a bargain price without investing some time and effort first, or you WILL be taken advantage of. Antique bowie knives are, in my biased opinion, the pinnacle of American knives and highly rewarding -- but you have got to pay your dues.

Oh, and I highly recommend joining the Antique Bowie Knife Association.

Hi Jim,

Funny that I saw your reply so soon, I don't jump over here as often as I should. You are located in Little Rock? Shoot, come on over to Historic Arkansas Museum this Saturday at 1 PM, my coauthor Bill Worthen and I will be talking about bowie knives and the book, and signing copies there. Part of the Arkansas Literary Festival. Bring knives if you want me to look them over and talk about sharp stuff, I'm a lot more comfortable being an ordinary "knife guy" than speaking to a crowd!

The reason I dropped in is that I just saw another one of these pop up on eBay, this one with fake markings.

Replica Confederate Bowie Knife

...to his credit the seller lists it as a replica, but I have a problem with adding an old name to a modern knife when there's no reason to do so. Boyle and Gamble knives do not look anything like this -- to my mind that's not a replica, that's a fake. Or maybe as Levine likes to call them, "fantasy knives".

Mark,

I'll plan to be there Saturday.  My book is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, so I'll bring it for signing.  Except for an early 20th Century Marbles hunting knife, all of my collection is modern, but hope to change directions.

I'll look forward to meeting you there, Jim. Bring the Marble's -- before I got serious about bowie knives Marble's knives were my main focus. Still have a couple of nice ones I couldn't bear to part with.

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