Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 64: Etched George Wostenholm I-XL "Celebrated California Knife"

Auction Date: December 4, 2020

Well-Documented Large Etched George Wostenholm I-XL "Celebrated California Knife"

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $3,000 - $4,500

Well-Documented Large Etched George Wostenholm I-XL "Celebrated California Knife"

Manufacturer: None
Model: None
Type: Other
Item Views: 1245
Item Interest: Active
Catalog Page: 87
Class: Other

Manufactured c. 1850 by the George Wostenholm firm of Sheffield, England, one of the largest Sheffield manufacturers and importers to the United States during the gold rush era and beyond. This knife is pictured on p. 211 of "The Antique Bowie Knife Book" by Adams, Voyles, and Moss, p. 62 of "Classic Bowie Knives" by Abels, and in "American Knives" by Peterson. The overall length is 17 1/8 inches with a 12 1/8 inch spearpoint blade faintly etched with "George Wostenholm Celebrated/CALIFORNIA KNIFE" on the left and the standard Wostenholm/I-XL markings on both ricassos. The handle is of German silver with an S-shaped guard and plain pommel, and it is fitted with horn grip scales with an escutcheon on the left.

Rating Definition:

Very good, the blade showing mostly a bright grey patina with some patches of light pitting scattered throughout and some evidence of mild cleaning/sharpening. The German silver shows an attractive antique patina and the have a few minor cracks, some visible repairs, and some minor insect holes. An impressive documented knife from the American gold rush era!

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