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Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Lot 1280: Scarce J. English & Huber "Sheffield Works" P

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Scarce J. English & Huber "Sheffield Works" Philadelphia Ivory Hilted Coffin Handle Bowie Knife with Sheath
Estimated Price: $8,500 - $13,000
Item Views 200 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Scarce J. English & Huber ManufacturerNone ModelNone
TypeOther Gauge Catalog Page131
Barrel Finish Grip
Stock ClassOther RatingSee Condition
DescriptionProduced around the late 1830s-early 1840s, the Sheffield Works bowies were produced by James English and Henry Huber, Jr. (credited as the first American smith to produce a proper clip-point Bowie, and reported by some sources as a supplier of edged weapons to no less than Jim Bowie himself) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While being honest and forthright in labeling their products as being from Philadelphia, the naming of the Sheffield Works was no doubt intended to draw off some of the name recognition of the famous English blade heartland. That being said, English & Huber were not using branding as a substitute for quality; based on the surviving samples, their output was top notch, and could be fairly measured against the work of the namesake city. Measuring 15 inches overall, with a 10 1/4 inch blade fitted with a 3 3/4 inch sharpened back clip and a hollow-ground leading edge, marked "SHEFFIELD WORKS/2/PHILADELPHIA" on the right ricasso and "J.ENGLISH/& HUBERS" on the left. Scroll bordered steel oval handguard with disc quillons mounted above a German silver collar and pommel, with a contoured ivory grip decorated with 8 silver tacks on each side and a silver inscription panel on the left side. With a German silver fitted brown leather sheath with a black and green leather belt loop.

ConditionFine overall. The blade shows evidence of machine sharpening/polishing, with a few tiny chips on the tip and leading edge, some obscuration of the ricasso markings, and a mildly aged gray patina, which is also present on the guard. The collar and pommel are both very good, with some minor handling marks, and the grip is fine, with an inscription panel absent from the right side, some age cracking, and a highly attractive grain and color. The sheath is fine, with the stitching absent from the seam and mild wear overall. An attractive example of a scarce pre-Civil War American Bowie knife.
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