Originally popularized by the gentlemen of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, and later seen as a trademark of the South American gaucho, the facon knife was a very functional working knife, in addition to being a good weapon for close-in self defense. Finish of these knives could range from plain, utilitarian models for common use up to an example like this, which would be a visible display of wealth and power while still being an agile and dangerous blade. Measuring 11 1/2 inches overall, with a 7 inch blade, featuring a 2 3/4 inch sharp false edge, "MCA M H RDA" on the left side, and the integrally forged contoured ricasso/bolster that is iconic of the facon. The full length tang is set into a silver hilt, which serves as a textured background to a series of solid gold plates, which cover 90% of the surface, with scroll designs, an ornately feathered bird on each side, and a set of four suns on the pommel. The right side of the grip features a pair of ruby gems. The sheath is similar in construction, with the addition of a set of scroll designs in the silver under the belt loop and a pierced-through scroll and leaf pattern on the drag. Another pair of rubies is present on the belt hook and the right side of the drag. With a burgundy leather lined case with white silk lid padding and a French-cut blue velvet interior. The padding is marked "F.J. Freccero/25 MAYO 563/Montevideo". Operating out of Uruguay’s capital city, F.J. Freccero served much the same niche as Tiffany of New York, providing high end jewelry, watches and other accoutrements to an elite clientele, while research shows the "MCA" mark as having been used by Solingen blade makers, suggesting it was produced in Germany and then mated with the jeweler’s hilt and sheath for a client who wished to combine beauty with function. Finest example of this form of knife ever seen by this describer.
Excellent, with some light handling marks present on the blade. An attractive, finely aged patina is present on the silver, with some brightness on the high points and excellent detail on the solid gold panels. The case is fine, with the back panel of the body partially detached, some scuffing, and light wear on the lining. An absolutely superb fusion of the arts of gold and silversmithing with the engravers and blade makers arts, this would be an outstanding addition to any collection of South American knives.
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