INSCRIBED AND DATED CIVIL WAR CUTLERY HANDLE BOWIE WITH SCABBARD

$895.00

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Item Code: 450-215

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This elegant, cutlery handle Bowie has a double-edged spearpoint blade with median ridge and long pointed ricasso. On one side the ricasso is stamped “H. C. BOOTH & CO / SILVER STEEL / SHEFFIELD.” The hilt is German silver, with a flat guard with rounded ends, and the grips carry very Victorian raised floral and rounded geometric motifs, with the pommel set off to frame an oval panel, bordered by raised dots, and inscribed in script, “A.B. Hames / 1864.” Overall measures 9”; blade measures 4 ½”.

The blade has good edge and point, with smooth metal showing mostly muted silver with some darker age stains near the tip and guard. The scabbard is black leather and pasteboard with gilt blind-stamped ric-rac border lines and a short floral scroll on the center obverse. The throat and drag are German silver, matching the hilt, with a small fastening button on the obverse throat, both showing some small age stains.

Henry C. Booth (1821-1882) was in at least two different partnerships for manufacturing knives before striking out on his own for good in 1856 as a maker of “table knives, Bowie and dagger knives,” etc., at his “Norfolk Works” in Sheffield, with some of his ads noting his work was for “home and export.” Several candidates turn up for the owner of the knife. No military unit is mentioned, but these knives show up occasionally in photos of soldiers heading off to war, either as gifts from well-wishers or just to increase the sitter’s warlike appearance. We note an Albert Hames, who enlisted in the U.S. 4th Tennessee Mounted infantry in late 1864, but have not confirmed a middle initial for him. Several Confederates appear possible, also, either showing a “B” as a middle initial or with no middle initial being picked up in the military records, though some may be ruled out by their terms of service, discovery of a middle name, etc.

Of course, this would fit not only a display of personal items a recruit might think useful in the army, but also in a collection of small concealable arms carried by travelers, gamblers and the like in 1864. It also merits a place in a specialized collection of Bowies, or even just those produced by Booth, who supplied many to the American market.  [sr] [ph:L]

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