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Old 20th December 2018, 09:53 PM   #1
alex8765
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Default Gaucho knife by Sheffield

Hi gents,
Do you know what year it mas manufactured or what years this makers mark was used? It marked with "Sheffield Cast Steel" and letters TPV.
Any additional information is appreciated.
Regards
Alex
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Old 21st December 2018, 07:54 PM   #2
Norman McCormick
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Please disregard.

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Old 22nd December 2018, 12:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex8765
Hi gents,
Do you know what year it mas manufactured or what years this makers mark was used? It marked with "Sheffield Cast Steel" and letters TPV.
Any additional information is appreciated.
Regards
Alex


A very interesting piece.

It is not clear from the photo how the sheath attaches to the belt. Could you please clarify this?

Any other markings on the spine of the blade or hilt?

Cheers
Chris
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Old 27th December 2018, 12:55 PM   #4
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Hi Chris,
The knife is still in the mail. I'll made more pictures when it will arrive.
Regards
Alex
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Old 14th January 2019, 03:38 PM   #5
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Hi Chris,
The scabbard is attached via belt clip, see picture.
Regards
Alex
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Old 15th January 2019, 01:56 AM   #6
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Hi Alex,

Thanks for the photo.

You have a very interesting and somewhat unusual high quality knife pertaining to the Pampean regions of South America.

It is in all probability an old one, with an English trade blade mounted by a local silversmith, though it cannot be ruled out that it was made to order elsewhere, as many in use in that part of the world were.

The original owner of this knife would have been a man of some wealth and status as they were the only ones who could afford such a fine piece.

By modern Argentinean classification, it is a "facon" and not being a working knife, the ownership of these in the course of the 19th century was highly discouraged, effectively banned, for all except the military, ranch owners and their overseers.

I looked through two lavishly illustrated reference books, one being Domenech's Dagas De Plata, and could not find one quite like it, the unusual part being the elaborate handguard/quillons; Local silversmiths favouring a guard fashioned from a flat piece of metal.

Could you perhaps tell us where you obtained it from?

If you like a more positive identification, I suggest that you write to Mr Abel Domenech in Argentina, who can be contacted at dom_reloader@yahoo.com

Abel has a fluent command of English and has helped forum members in the past. His website is http://www.domenech.com.ar/index.htm

Cheers
Chris
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Old 15th January 2019, 06:38 PM   #7
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Hi Chris,
This is very helpful information, thank you very much!
I purchased this knife at the online auction with no information about it. I will try to contact Mr Abel Domenech as you recommended.
Regards
Alex
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Old 15th January 2019, 08:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Evans

Abel has a fluent command of English and has helped forum members in the past.

Cheers
Chris


I can personally vouch for Mr Domenech's willingness and kindness in sharing his vast knowledge of this subject.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 15th January 2019, 09:16 PM   #9
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Wow, that is gorgeous. More like a piece of jewelry than an art knife.
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Old 15th January 2019, 09:32 PM   #10
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Hello

The letters T P V indicate the name of the silversmith who added the sheet.

On the other hand, I think a sheet that has been re-used, because the brand is off center.

Affectionately
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Old 16th January 2019, 02:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex8765
Hi Chris,
This is very helpful information, thank you very much!
I purchased this knife at the online auction with no information about it. I will try to contact Mr Abel Domenech as you recommended.
Regards
Alex


Creole knives (cuchillo Criollo) with old trade blades are highly valued in Sth America, and you backed a winner with this knife - I am envious!

Cheers
Chris
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Old 16th January 2019, 01:34 PM   #12
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Thank you gentlemen
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Old 16th January 2019, 05:41 PM   #13
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Good catch! An excellent facon. Wish I'd seen it...

The facon I gather were the longer fighting knives/short swords, often made from bayonets, more for status than actual use in combat, while the ones the Gauchos used were more of a utility knife which occasionally got misdirected into fighting, The blade generally more offset and usually did not have a cross guard. As in all things, there may be exceptions...
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Old 16th January 2019, 11:00 PM   #14
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Hello

The facon is usually a long weapon, attack or defense. That's why it has guard, which can be in U, S or a simple cruise. It has a sharp edge, outside and eventually, a sharp edge on its back. It differs from the dagger, because it has two edges. The spike is centered. Instead, the knife has a triangular shape. shorter, and the spike offset, towards the side of the spine. It has no guard. Of course there are exceptions, but they only confirm the rule

The presented copy meets the two characteristics

Affectionately
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Old 17th January 2019, 01:26 AM   #15
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Hi Folks,

As Fernando says, though I’ll add the following:

The etymology of the word “facon” derives from the Portuguese and old Castillian word “faca”, meaning knife. So “facon” means large knife, any large knife and this is how the term is still used in popular parlance.

However, modern writers on the subject and curators have narrowed the scope of the term to knives that meet the description given by Fernando, so as to be able to establish various other typologies based on their descriptive attributes.

In the course of the 19th century the term “gaucho” gradually changed from an appellation describing mounted vagabonds to include any agricultural worker and these folks were only allowed knives that were fit for hacienda/ranch work and thus facons were effectively outlawed; And in this context a “facon” was any large knife ill suited for work and conducive to violence.

For those interested, there is a rather good article on this subject in Spanish in Wikipedia, much better than the one in English, and which is worth translating: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fac%C3%B3n

Cheers
Chris
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Old 17th January 2019, 11:34 AM   #16
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Hello

Only to refer to the Wikipedia entry. It refers to the fact that the Creole knife is a product of the pampas or the Pampean zone. Argentina (like Brazil, Uruguay and all of South America) has varied regions, such as mountains, jungles and mountainous areas and deserts, and in all areas the knife was used to sacrifice animals, hunt, work leather and eat

Afectuosamente
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Old 17th January 2019, 01:12 PM   #17
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I received the reply from Mr. Abel Domenech regarding this knife:

---------------------

As you may know, gaucho knives can´t be classified in a very strict basis because they were made locally adapting blades coming mostly from Europe and sheaths and handles were made by skilled silversmiths following the aesthetic taste of the epoch.

The present accepted classification of "facon" "daga" "puñal criollo", etc. etc. is a modern convention generally accepted by collectors but was never used in the past in same way as today because in those far years knives were named in a very confusing manner and they called cuchillo (knife) daga, facon, etc. following their fancy or custom without paying much attention to the shapes or characteristics of the piece itself.

In this case your knife follows approximately the shape of a "facon" but I wouldn´t classify as that as it seems to me it has a blade of around 23 centimeters only.
Real facones were fighting edged weapons which sported longer blades of around 35/40 centimeters up to 50 (and of course there existed with longer blades taken from swords which received the name of "caroneros" because they were carried between the leather "caronas" a part which composed their horse saddles)

Now... How I could call your knife? Well I could say it is a dagger or pointed knife which was carried by its owner as a sign of wealth and power and/or as a personal defence edged weapon. In Brazil this shape of blade was very popular and known as "faca de ponta" (knife with pointed blade).

Of course the handle and sheath follows the shape of gaucho knifes but please note: this is NOT a knife made or employed in territories of which today are Argentina or Uruguay and of course not in the Pampas.
Definitively this is a knife made and used in Brazil.

This knife follows the decorative taste of Brazilian knives and those in use in the southern region of their Country where a gaucho culture similar to that of Argentina and Uruguay existed and exists today, but with some distinctive differences.
Most probably the original owner of this interesting knife was a wealthy owner of a "Fazenda" (name given to ranch in Brazil. In Argentina we call them "estancia") and not belonged to a gaucho as gauchos usually were poor working men with little resources to buy this kind of knives.

I can also tell you that the initials "TPV" both in the reinforcement of joint of handle with blade and on the "hook" of sheath used to hold the knife against the belt or a cloth sash are those of the Silversmith who made it.
The female head on the sheath hook is typical of Brazilian knives and same can be said of shape and decoration of sheath. Most of these knives were made in the region of Sorocaba (south of Sao Paulo) or in the city of Sao Paulo itself.

The blade as it was usual with gaucho knives of South America came from an European blade (a larger knife or any other edged tool or weapon).

It is of English origin and it has been reshaped by grinding a blade from some knife or larger blade to the required shape.
The position of the "Cast Steel" stamp clearly shows that.

This inscription also gives us the clue that it was of British origin (most probably Sheffield) and gives us a hint of the age of the blade of around 1850/1870´s I feel.

Regretably to date a gaucho knife is a very difficult matter because blades of different vintage have been used since the XIX Century till the present.
Steel blades were a very coveted material in the early times and not readily available so they were recicled in different manners. Making knifes from blades of swords or other bigger edged weapons was one way.
So we can find a knife of say late XIX Century with a blade of the 1850´s for example. Or even a knife of early XX Century with blades of 30 or 50 years before.

If the knife has no inscriptions of names or presentation inscriptions is very very difficult to date any knife of this kind.

In this case studying the shape and my experience in observing other similar knives I can risk to date it in a very wide lapse of time only, may be around 1870´s to late 1890´s, and I appologize for not being able to state it more accurately.

You own a very interesting and beautiful piece which as it happens with all antique gaucho knives encloses a lot of questions which are not easy to answer and most probably will remain unanswered:
Who was the silversmith who made it? In which exact dates? Who was the person who requested it? How he employed it? If you found it in the USA or Europe, how it arrived there?...

In any case those who presently own, love and collect this type of knives have to learn to live and enjoy them with these mysteries around them. May be it is part of the charm of these antique knives and make for the attraction they have.

I wish these comments will be of your interest and will help to enhance the enjoyment of having this superb piece in your collection.
I also wish to thank to Mr. Chris Evans and other members of Ethnographic Arms and Armour Forum who mentioned my name for their very kind words to my person and work.

Best cordial regards,
Abel A. Domenech
Buenos Aires.
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Old 18th January 2019, 11:42 AM   #18
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Hi Alex,

Thanks for sharing with us Mr Domenech's knowledgeable and lengthy reply. He is a true gentleman, a scholar, and an invaluable resource to students of South American edged weapons.

Fernando,

You make a very good point about not all knives being of Pampean origin. Domenech in his magisterial work, Dagas De Plata, devotes a section to the Puñal Salteño, a mountainous region of Argentina, which is in keeping with your observation. As well. large narrow and pointed bladed knives of probably African origin are peculiar to parts of Brazil, and some time ago we had this thread on the subject: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...=brazilian+faca


Cheers
Chris
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