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Old 2nd August 2015, 07:20 PM   #1
Sajen
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Default Navaja, opinion requested

Just have won by ebay this large navaja folding knife and the paid price was worth a try. It's rather large, when opened it's 18" long (45,7 cm) and to my uneducated eyes it seems to have some age but don't think that it is antique.
I know nearly nothing about navajas so I would be more as happy to read your comments. Here the only picture from the seller. Thank you in advance.
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Old 2nd August 2015, 09:43 PM   #2
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Here is a small relative . You can see the construction is quite similar although this one is only 6 inches opened . I'll guess this is a mid 20th century souvenir knife . The intaglio has been painted in quite nicely . I wonder if the one headed your way was similarly painted at one time .
My example is scary sharp .
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Old 2nd August 2015, 10:07 PM   #3
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Hello Rick,

thank you for comment! Would be a nice pair. I've done in the meantime some research and it could be that the blade of mine was painted once as well, I've seen that 19th. century ones were sometimes also painted. And I agree, both are very similar from shape and construction.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd August 2015, 01:18 AM   #4
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The mother of pearl scales are from plastic .
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Old 3rd August 2015, 03:50 AM   #5
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Sajen,

Your navaja is consistent with those made in the first half of the 20th century in the Castilla La Mancha region . Because of its large size and engraving, it was intended either as a display piece or souvenir. By the 20th century, those intended for use seldom had blades larger than 6”.

I cannot make out from the photo if it bears a brand name or the ubiquitous “recuerdo” (souvenir). If there is a brand name, then I may be able to trace its origins better.

Cheers
Chris Evans
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Old 3rd August 2015, 04:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
Sajen,

Your navaja is consistent with those made in the first half of the 20th century in the Castilla La Mancha region . Because of its large size and engraving, it was intended either as a display piece or souvenir. By the 20th century, those intended for use seldom had blades larger than 6”.

I cannot make out from the photo if it bears a brand name or the ubiquitous “recuerdo” (souvenir). If there is a brand name, then I may be able to trace its origins better.

Cheers
Chris Evans


Hello Chris,

thank you very much for your informed comment. The only word I can read is "Sevilla" near the pivot point. This is however in Andalusia.
The knife will be inspected when it arrives at it destination. When there is a brand name also I will show it here.
Thank you again for your helpful comment.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd August 2015, 06:18 AM   #7
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Detlef,

If its says "Sevilla", then that what appears to be a church is probably "La Giralda", a common engraving theme for souvenir navajas sold from that city.

A common practices was to omit the brand name if the knife was intended to be sold by a third party or a location other than the manufacturing town, usually Albacete or Santa Cruz De Mudela. Must mention that any number were marked "Toledo" and engraved with bull fighting themes, to satisfy tourists desire for the legendary steel that that city was once famous for and also the popular image which at the time Spain projected to the world, notwithstanding that it was probably made in the one of those above mentioned locations.

I should add that according to some, those metallic strips traversing the handle were far more common with navajas made in Santa Cruz De Mudela, but cannot vouch for this.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 3rd August 2015, 10:31 AM   #8
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Hello Chris,

thank you again for all the great informations. So it is either a souvenir or a display piece but most probable made in Santa Cruz de Muelda and from around the beginning of the 20th century when I am allowed to summarize.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd August 2015, 10:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
The mother of pearl scales are from plastic .


Hope that the scales from my one are from real horn instead of plastic.
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Old 3rd August 2015, 11:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Here is a small relative . You can see the construction is quite similar although this one is only 6 inches opened . I'll guess this is a mid 20th century souvenir knife . The intaglio has been painted in quite nicely . I wonder if the one headed your way was similarly painted at one time .
My example is scary sharp .


Hello Rick,

this one was sold yesterday and was on my watch list.
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Old 3rd August 2015, 11:06 AM   #11
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Detlef

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Hope that the scales from my one are from real horn instead of plastic.


The most common way of making a navaja handle was from a piece of horn, without liners, though some had liners as well, especially those made from stag antlers. Those three small pins, from the middle to the end, embedded in the handle suggest the presence of a liner, in which case the scales could well be plastic, but not necessarily. These days the firm of Exposito makes navajas with horn scales pinned to liners.

As for dating it with accuracy, very hard to say as these were seen as late as the early sixties, after which stainless steel blades tended to replace carbon steel. However, if the handles are plastic, then closer to 1950 than much earlier.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 3rd August 2015, 11:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
Detlef



The most common way of making a navaja handle was from a piece of horn, without liners, though some had liners as well, especially those made from stag antlers. Those three small pins, from the middle to the end, embedded in the handle suggest the presence of a liner, in which case the scales could well be plastic, but not necessarily. These days the firm of Exposito makes navajas with horn scales pinned to liners.

As for dating it with accuracy, very hard to say as these were seen as late as the early sixties, after which stainless steel blades tended to replace carbon steel. However, if the handles are plastic, then closer to 1950 than much earlier.

Cheers
Chris


Hello Chris,

still have the hope that the scales are from horn. Will provide the information of the used material when it arrived.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 3rd August 2015, 11:44 AM   #13
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Detlef,

According to this cached post by Antonio Montejano, a distinguished contemporary Spanish engraver, the engraved and enameled navaja became widespread in the 1945-75 period. He adds that these works were not of the best quality or taste: http://webcache.googleusercontent.c...n&ct=clnk&gl=au

Cheers
Chris
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Old 3rd August 2015, 01:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
... then that what appears to be a church is probably "La Giralda" ...

Sure thing Cris .
Actually i recognized this famous tower before discerning the name Sevilla; been there but, didn't have the courage to walk all the way up .
These navajas, when not being touristic pieces (XVIII-XIX century) are getting each day more and more expensive .
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Old 3rd August 2015, 02:37 PM   #15
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Fernado,

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Sure thing Cris .
Actually i recognized this famous tower before discerning the name Sevilla <snip>


I have a stag handled beauty with a 6"blade, probably made by the famous cutler Julian Galvan, that has on it the Giralda etched and enameled. Notwithstanding that it is a display/souvenir piece it is extremely well made.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 4th August 2015, 10:02 AM   #16
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Congratulations, I was following this navaja but unfortunately I forgot bid !! This piece is a navaja probably made in Santa Cruz de Mudela, but made like souvenir, maybe in 1960, to sell in Sevilla, a city of the south of Spain. The church engraved is The Giralda, typical from this city.
I f some day you decides to sell or change it, please tell me.
Thanks in advance
carlos
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Old 4th August 2015, 11:19 AM   #17
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Thank you Carlos, you have a pm!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 4th August 2015, 01:03 PM   #18
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Fernando,

Shouldn't this thread be in the Ethnographic forum? That is where past postings on navajas ended up.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 4th August 2015, 01:07 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
Fernando,

Shouldn't this thread be in the Ethnographic forum? That is where past postings on navajas ended up.

Cheers
Chris


Hello Chris,

I was unsure where I should post this thread.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 4th August 2015, 01:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans
Fernando,

Shouldn't this thread be in the Ethnographic forum? That is where past postings on navajas ended up.

Cheers
Chris

I f you say so, Chris
If you don't mind, Dtlef
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Old 4th August 2015, 02:08 PM   #21
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Fernando,

You are the boss here, I was merely trying to be helpful!

Here I list two of my more attractive enameled navajas. I suspect that both originated from Santa Cruz De Mudela around 1950. The unusually high level of workmanship points the finger at Julian Galvan or someone he taught. Perhaps Carlos can throw some light on them. They both have 6"carbon steel blades, liners and back spring, as well as bolsters (virola y rebajo).

The only legible inscriptions are Sevilla and E Leon (The rest was abraded out during grinding)) on the one with the Giralda and the other only bears the ubiquitous faux Toledo targetting tourists.

Cheers
Chris
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Old 4th August 2015, 02:37 PM   #22
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Wow, two beautiful navajas!
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Old 4th August 2015, 03:11 PM   #23
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Detlef,

Thanks for the compliment, they are indeed a level above what was being sold in the old days.

But I feel a bit silly. I had the answer to one of my questions all along in one of my books. "E Leon" was most likely the cutler from Santa Cruz whose full name was Enrique Leon Lopez, active in the 1950s. There are other navajas of similar high quality in existence, all bearing the same inscription.

Cheers
Chris
PS My source is La Navaja De Santa Cruz De Mudela
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Old 9th August 2015, 10:40 AM   #24
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The navaja has arrived at it's destination. The scales are fortunately from horn, at a small area bugs have done their work.
The inscriptions are "La Giralda" at the tip of the blade and above from "Sevilla" is to read "armeria" bordered with two "z" which mean "weapon shop" when my translation is correct. So it is maybe indeed a display piece!?
Here some more pictures.
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Old 9th August 2015, 12:25 PM   #25
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Default One on my desk now

One of my first loves in weapons was the Navaja and Sword cane...just something about them.

The one pictured reads CUCHILLERIA GAVILAN STA CRUZ de MUDELA and is of the place and period Chris writes about.

I've had many Navaja and one that sticks out in my mind was of the exact same profile with a beautiful panel of script that read;

"Cuando acaricia mi mano"
"la cacha de esta navaja"
hasta los valientes tiem?lau"
"al ver mis bravas houzanas"

It was manufactured by Alvaro Garcia Albacete and is thought to pre-date these by many decades.

Good to see you here Chris.

Gavin
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Old 9th August 2015, 02:59 PM   #26
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Gavin, may i ?

"Cuando acaricia mi mano"
"la cacha de esta navaja"
hasta los valientes tremblan" (tremble)
"al ver mis bravas hazañas" (feats)


.

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Old 10th August 2015, 08:45 AM   #27
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Detlef: Glad to read that the scales are horn. Does the handle have metallic liners? If you can, please take a close-up photo of the ARMERIA, the ZZ and anything else that may give us a clue; Maybe I can trace its origins from one of my reference books.

Gavin: That's a nice one, and yes, there's something very special about navajas.

Fernado: Thanks for the correction, but keep in mind that many of the cutlers were illiterate, so bad spelling was the norm, rather than the exception

And here's my loose tranlsation into English:

"Cuando acaricia mi mano"
"la cacha de esta navaja"
hasta los valientes tremblan" (tremble)
"al ver mis bravas hazañas" (feats)

When my hands caress the handle of this navaja
Even the brave tremble
After having seen my brave feats.

Cheers
Chris

Last edited by Chris Evans : 10th August 2015 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 10th August 2015, 09:58 AM   #28
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There are various film on youtube illustrating making navajas.
Here is a nice one, giving you the feeling of you can start making them at home :-)
If you see this man working, with the most simple tools.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSU...504BD0D62115CF1
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Old 10th August 2015, 10:27 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
The navaja has arrived at it's destination. The scales are fortunately from horn, at a small area bugs have done their work.
The inscriptions are "La Giralda" at the tip of the blade and above from "Sevilla" is to read "armeria" bordered with two "z" which mean "weapon shop" when my translation is correct. So it is maybe indeed a display piece!?
Here some more pictures.


"Aremeria Z of Sevilla was a sports store and a branch of Deportes Zulategui. According to this website, it was et up in 1945 and has ceased trading: http://www.sevilla.org/urbanismo/pu...Sur/CAS_278.pdf


According to this webpage, Deportes Zulategui it is still trading, but not as Armeria Z: http://www.citiservi.es/sevilla/dep...382385_247.html Perhaps you can drop them a line and seek more information.

From the above we can confidently say that your navaja was made under contract, probably in Santa Cruz De Mudela, to be sold by Armeria Z post 1945.

Cheers
Chris

Last edited by Chris Evans : 10th August 2015 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 10th August 2015, 10:29 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asomotif
There are various film on youtube illustrating making navajas.
Here is a nice one, giving you the feeling of you can start making them at home :-)
If you see this man working, with the most simple tools.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSU...504BD0D62115CF1


Good informative video.

Here's another one with more details: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXSyixRWyUU

Cheers
Chris
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