EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Very nice example of a distinctively Albacete hunting dagger. Thank you guys for adding links and especially noting reference sources.
Albacete was a town in SE Spain in the old Murcia province which specialized in making 'plug bayonets' for hunters probably at some point late 18th c but as the late Roger Evans ("The Plug Bayonet", 2002, p.159) notes, these were never used as bayonets per se' . Most examples date from 19th c, particularly c 1860s, 70s.
The distinctive 'dumb bell' shaped aperture in the blade (often holding brass inserts) are characteristic of Albacete, but not all examples have them. This feature does not have a satisfactory explanation other than being traditionally placed. There are a number of fanciful notions for its purpose but my own thought is that perhaps it may be a vestigial representation of the toggle type openings for cross bars used on hunting pole arms. These were ostensibly to prevent game such as wild boars 'pushing toward the hunter though impaled' as I have understood.
The pierced heart features according to similar example in Evans (op. cit.) indicate popular c. 1850-60 period.