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Old 4th August 2015, 11:45 PM   #1
castellum aquilonis
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Default Finally solved the riddle of my Bowie Knife

Have this piece for maybe 10 years now and think it is very nice.
Blade is Bowie like and grip is from a Hungarian sword.
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Old 5th August 2015, 11:08 AM   #2
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Old 5th August 2015, 11:24 AM   #3
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interesting bowie style knife, i wonder how they managed to thread the tang thru the brass grip to the peen on the end. any scabbard?
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Old 5th August 2015, 07:54 PM   #4
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Default Handle

I assume the Handle is hollow and the tang goes through to the end of the head.
Probably everything fixed with putty.
Could be 19th century.
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Old 5th August 2015, 11:04 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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Outstanding research work Castellum!! It does appear that your knife has likely been refurbished from an apparently Hungarian dress sword of uncertain period, as seen here from an unknown reference source. The regal figure on this sword is remarkably similar to the hilt on yours as is much of the motif.

Did you suspect this knife or its blade was Hungarian prior to matching it to this reference. Would there be any reference in the publication as to the type sword this is and its period?

For readers, I would note that the interesting figure posted in the last entry is the well known Wild Bill Hickok, from an 1869 photograph taken in a studio. The knife he has inserted in his sash is likely a studio prop.
The 'Bowie knife' is the legendary knife of the American west, which in time became synonymous with virtually most knives large size and with a guard of varying form.
Fascinating photo for context and gives nice allusion to the flair and image of these kinds of knives.

Thank you for sharing this interesting knife, and the image of seldom seen Hungarian sword, we don't see nearly enough about them here, hope to see more!!!
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Old 5th August 2015, 11:35 PM   #6
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Default Sword

The pictures are from this website:... - hope it is ok to post them as I could not find any at all and none could help me - - "GENHOA" on the blade
I very much liked the resemblance of Wild Bill Hickok to the King, which is displayed on the grip, which also could be a Siebenbürgen ;-) King
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Last edited by fernando : 6th August 2015 at 09:47 AM. Reason: No link to active sales sources, as per rules
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Old 6th August 2015, 09:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castellum aquilonis
I assume the Handle is hollow and the tang goes through to the end of the head.
Probably everything fixed with putty.
Could be 19th century.


the 's' shaped tang/grip would, even if hollow, prevent the tang from inserting fully unless the side of the grip has a slot not shown in the photo to allow you to curve it in. similar to the scabbard slot on true parabolic curved sword blades as opposed to circular arc curves. i am assuming the steel bit on his crown is a peened tang end. the second photo shows a more brassy bump. it could be a stub tang held in by cutler's cement.

p.s. - nobody in there right mind would carry a razor sharp bowie knife like that. photographers (and painters) were not practically minded warriors or soldiers, so a bit of dramatic license is allowed...civil war studio 'portait' photographers frequently staged the photos using their own prop weapons, and even clothing and uniform items. bill likely had it in a belt scabbard but the photogtapher couldn't see it in his pose, so he had him stick it in his belt. i would have told him where i'd stick it if he didn't get on with the session....

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Old 6th August 2015, 10:12 PM   #8
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Thank you Castellum (interesting name BTW), for your note concerning the source for the images. Naturally if it is a website for arms sales, then it is not able to be posted here...but I do understand that this example perfectly showed the possible source for your knife.

I do appreciate more expanded view of the blade, which reveals that the one on the example from this source, appears to be one of the Styrian trade forms' (suggested by the GENHOA name), a common supply source for many Hungarian sword producers. The 'GENHOA' is corrupted spelling for Genoa, as often used for Styrian markings as well as the 'sickle' marks.

Enjoyable and colorful comparison of 'Wild Bill' to the 'king' !! (also to the fabled Vlad!)......indeed many considered Will Bill (for a time) to be 'king of the pistoleers'.
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Old 13th August 2015, 01:27 AM   #9
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Who is the gentleman in the painting?
Rather looks like Vlad Tepes
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Old 13th August 2015, 12:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesKelly
Who is the gentleman in the painting?
Rather looks like Vlad Tepes


yup, it's good ol' dracula.

Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, was a member of the House of Drăculești, of the House of Basarab, also known, using his patronymic, as Drăculea
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Old 27th November 2020, 09:20 AM   #11
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Default Doorhandle Bowie :-)

.....forgot to post these
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Old 14th December 2020, 06:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
yup, it's good ol' dracula.

Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, was a member of the House of Drăculești, of the House of Basarab, also known, using his patronymic, as Drăculea

Indeed it is. Though i don't believe Wallachia ever ruled over the Kingdom of Hungary and at the time of Vlad III i believe their armies were actually keeping even the Ottoman Empire at bay. So i don't quite understand the connection to Vlad III or why his portrait was included in this thread if this hilt is from a Hungarian sword.
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Old 14th December 2020, 11:10 PM   #13
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Cool

Interesting that C.A.'s hilt is the only one that has stippling. That must have been done by hand after casting.
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Old 15th December 2020, 08:21 PM   #14
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I have remained really intrigued by this unusually mounted 'Bowie', and by the fact that the hilt is apparently repurposed from a Hungarian sword, which seems to have been of commemorative character of 19th c.

Looking into the complexities of Eastern European history, it seems these countries as well as the Balkans were in constant turmoil. It was always unclear to me what was Romanian, Wallachian, Hungarian etc. and which were allied or under the power of another. It is unclear which 'Hungarian' king (presumed by the Hungarian coat of arms occurring on some with this figure) is represented on this hilt, but it would seem that it may well be to the commemorative nature of the hilt.

Whatever the case, the use of this hilt, which although presumed to be 19th c. and seems to have earlier counterparts, on a 'Bowie' blade , is most interesting. While we may presume the remounted knife to be American, it is quite possible it may have been made in Europe. There was profound interest in the 'wild west' in the late 19th c. particularly after the Buffalo Bill performances.

On the other hand, during the Hungarian revolution of 1848, there was apparently a notable departure of those fleeing the conflict against Austrian power. Many of these came to America, and it is somewhat plausible that such a sword as this might have come to America, and the owner may have chosen to have his heirloom continue in a more viable context as a knife.
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