Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1063: Rather Large Chevalier New York Bowie Knife with Sheath

Auction Date: April 14, 2018

Massive Silver Fitted J.D. Chevalier Attributed New York Bowie Knife with Sheath, as Seen in "The Antique Bowie Knife Book"

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $45,000 - $70,000

Massive Silver Fitted J.D. Chevalier Attributed New York Bowie Knife with Sheath, as Seen in "The Antique Bowie Knife Book"

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 12143
Item Interest: Very Active
Catalog Page: 37
Class: Other

Active in New York City c.1835-1869, John D. Chevalier was a noted maker of surgical tools, as well as being regarded as the originator of the "California Knife" marketing/branding idea on the East Coast. The bowie knife in this lot is no scalpel. It is a beast of a weapon, weighing in at 2 pounds 11.4 ounces, with an overall length of 17 5/8 inches and an 11 1/2 inch long blade, .55 inches thick at the base. Yes, over half an inch thick. The mark "CHEVALIER" is present on the left side, with a deep unsharpened clip, a single live edge running clear down to the guard, and a set of large single fullers doing the best they can to keep the weight down. The hilt is of silver plated brass construction, with a cone-tipped dual quillion crossguard, a "pillow" shaped pommel, and a pair of smooth antique ivory grip panels with a long silver arrow on the right side, and the left side featuring an engraved German silver anchor with scroll engraved accents and a loose chain link at the top and a 1 3/5 inch tall silver cross above it. The sheath is fitted with a red leather cover and embossed gilt accents, with a nickel finished throat and tip, metal frog hook, and a leather cover/belt loop. The knife and its sheath are photographed on page 41 of "The Antique Bowie Knife Book" by Adams, Voyles and Moss; the description makes note of the significant weight. Provenance: The Christian de Guigne Collection.

Rating Definition:

Fine. The blade shows a mixed gray patina, with some areas of darker spotting and evidence of sharpening/polishing. Some play has developed in the blade/hilt fit, with evidence of a period-of-use attempt to silver solder the blade into a fixed location. The hilt shows a fine antique silver patina overall, with some material loss concentrated along the edges and a few light scuffs. The grips have shrunken a bit with age, and show a very deep aged color and well defined grain. The sheath is fair, with some lost material and splitting around and on the tip, as well as a few other scuffs and losses of the red leather, and the cover shows some folding, cracking and a torn loop. An impressively large example of the New York cutler's art, showing the fingerprints of use and potentially of an age to have been used in the Civil War, eye catching in both scale and fittings.

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