EXTREMELY RARE, HISTORIC, AND FINE “DEATH TO ABOLITION” JAMES ROGERS BOWIE KNIFE

 

Spring 2024 Premier Firearms & Militaria Auction

June 7th, 8th, 9th, & 10th, 2024
This auction will feature an outstanding collection of items spanning multiple categories including Modern, Military, Sporting, & Antique firearms & militaria! Below is just a small grouping of select highlights from the massive offering to be featured in this upcoming sale!

 

EXTREMELY RARE, HISTORIC, AND FINE “DEATH TO ABOLITION” JAMES ROGERS BOWIE KNIFE

02-19433

14″ Overall, 9″ clip point blade etched in large script panel: “DEATH TO ABOLITION”. This earliest political motto found on an American bowie knife infuriated many Northerners as seen in newspapers of the day. The etched sentiment is a major reason for the Civil War. Very few “DEATH TO ABOLITION” knives exist with this script style and floral background motif. An 1838 anti slavery broadside is known to exist with a drawing of this same motto on a blade, but with block lettering as seen on most examples. Blade is stamped on ricasso “JAMES ROGERS / CELEBRATED / MAKER. SHEFFIELD”, heavy cast German Silver grip with German silver pinned ivory slab grips, German silver escutcheon, sculptured cross guard, and clamshell pommel. Its original and rarely seen German silver, relief repousse sheath fits knife perfectly. Its script motif, fine high-polish blade condition, and complete scabbard offer a rare opportunity to add to any exceptional collection.

CONDITION: maybe the finest “DEATH TO ABOLITION” bowie of this configuration, only handful known, blade retains 90% original polish and lustrous etching with areas of black staining and pitting, point rounded. The clamshell pommel is replaced, taken from another James Rogers bowie of the era by master conservator Jim Brown. Still this is the best survivor, I am aware. Maker’s mark and etched panel are crisp and complete. Ivory slabs sound and well fit with 3 chips by pins and 2 small cracks. The original embossed German silver sheath still retains its chamois lining, which is almost always missing, frog button still attached, minor small dents and stains.

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