Premier Firearms Auction
May 12, 13, 14, & 15, 2023
MAGNIFICIENT & MASSIVE CIRCA 1835 SHEFFIELD BOWIE.
16” overall, 13” clip point upswept blade, sparce 5” etched panels with vines, leaves, and berries, along with ”WARRANTED OF / THE BEST STEEL”. The top edge is notched en suite to cross guard design, 6” clip is sharpened. “G. OATES / SHEFFIELD” is stamped on ricasso. Notched & sculptured cast German silver hilt with ivory slab grips with tiny pinned decoration of eagle atop shield and two 6-pointed stars on either side. Sheath is red Moroccan leather veneer with scalloped German silver mounts including middle mount with large heart. This knife is pictured on 245 of “Accoutrements IV” by Jim Johnston, ex-collection Bill Myers.
George Oates (1810-1861) was well known scissor manufacturer in Sheffield. He is found in Sheffield directories in 1820s up to 1833 as scissor maker, but in 1837 he is listed as scissor & dagger maker. His foray into knives was short as by 1840 and all directories later, he is listed only as scissor manufacturer employing 30 workers at his death. The demand for bowies in 1830s was strong and Sheffield cutlers made many in this period to rival the Schively and others made early 1830s. There are several other large distinctive cast frame bowies by Oates but this is unique and cutler’s finest work, elegant sculpted D-guard, ivory with American pique decoration, elegant upswept blade with long sharpened clip which survived in flawless condition.
PICTURED ON PAGE 245 IN ACCOURTERMENTS IV BY JIM JOHNSTON