Join Date: Apr 2014
It is pretty close to several dirks I've seen at the Bowie Knife Show in Natchez, Mississippi. The collectors/dealers tend to place them in the 1815-ish to 1835 timeframe.
They appear to pre-date the small Victorian mass produced pieces. No complex die work, each component could be made in small cottage industry type shops.
The Victorian factory made dirks are, for the most part, marked by the maker or factory name, with complex rolled and die struck parts.
The blades could, and probably were, made by a blade maker and sold to a cutler, who would then finish them and mount them with components made in-house.
This info was confirmed by numerous conversations, all or part, by experts at the show who have been passionate blade collectors for many years.
The Western Gambler's dirks came a bit later, from 1835 to the 1880's, and were mostly in the fancier style of later imported English, French (though not so many!), and American factory made pieces.
It was after the infamous Sand Bar Fight on the Mississippi River outside of Natchez on September 19, 1827 that Bowie knives were made popular by the press reports of the day.
Early Bowie's had their share of Spanish influence, with the earliest exhibiting the "choil", or "Spanish notch" at the ricasso, but this vestige disappeared by the mid 1830's.
As the emerging market opened, cutlers both in the US and the UK were quick to offer every pattern and size conceivable.
So the rough cutoff date (very rough!) of 1835 seems to be about the time when the supply sources for these knives began to evolve into fancier, mass produced pieces with decorative components that were die struck or cast by lost wax.
But I digress.
I believe this little dagger is of a style that was made by Anglo Americans or possibly English small shops and retailed, in the majority, in the US.