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Old 13th August 2019, 08:25 PM   #1
Robert
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Question Mystery Dagger ID Help Needed

I purchased this on a "Make Offer" because I found it rather interesting. With its very well made flame blade, no ricasso, hidden tang, and unusual carved wooden hilt this dagger has me completely stumped on where it might originate from. The blade style with no ricasso and hidden tang points to the Philippines, but the hilt carving is unlike anything I have ever seen being used there before. The carving looks to show what could possibly a wheat stalk on one side and a ribbon carved close to the end of the hilt. The ferrule is made of steel with a small round brass guard. Any offers of help with this would be greatly appreciated. My apologies for the poor photo quality.

Overall Length = 11-3/8 inches
Blade Length = 6 inches
Blade at Widest point = 15/16th inches
Blade at thickest point = 3/16th inches
Hilt Length = 5-3/8 inches

Best,
Robert
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Last edited by Robert : 13th August 2019 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 13th August 2019, 09:19 PM   #2
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Hi.
The handle material looks very like Bog oak to me.
This would suggest Scottish/Irish Origin.
I have done some wood carving with this material and it is very distinctive in texture especially when you have it in hand.
Lovely piece overall.
Regards
Ken
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Old 13th August 2019, 09:43 PM   #3
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Hello Ken and thank you for your interest and reply. The wood is an extremely hard variety and I imagine would not be very easily carved. Do you recognize the carving as being of an Irish or Scottish form? I will add a few more photos showing the carving at the end of the hilt a bit better.

Best,
Robert
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Old 13th August 2019, 10:05 PM   #4
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Have you noticed that the blade back extends past the guard? To my untrained eye that is not a mark of quality workmanship.
Rich
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Old 13th August 2019, 10:28 PM   #5
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Repurposed blade?
I seem to remember wavy bladed daggers from small ads in the back pages of Argosy and other similar magazines of the fifties. I think the hilts were spiral with a ball and claw pommel.
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Old 13th August 2019, 10:58 PM   #6
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Hello Rich,
I agree that the guards fitment is not the best that I have seen either, but the quality workmanship of the blade with its inserted hardened edge I believe more than makes up for it. I have seen and owned many daggers from Southeast Asia both with and without this style of blade that originally were never fitted with a guard of any kind.

Best,
Robert

Last edited by Robert : 14th August 2019 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 13th August 2019, 11:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
I seem to remember wavy bladed daggers from small ads in the back pages of Argosy and other similar magazines of the fifties. I think the hilts were spiral with a ball and claw pommel.


Hello Rick,
I not only remember the daggers you are talking about, but somewhere around here I still have one that I paid the grand total of $1.50 for in the late fifties. Most of these were of German manufacture (like the one I still have) but I believe some were of Japanese origin as well. I can with confidence say that the blade of this piece definitely does not come from one of those daggers.

Best,
Robert

P.S. I meant to add that if you look at the first two photos of the complete dagger above you will see one where the blade was just cleaned and one where it has received a vinegar etch. In the lower photos of the blade only you can clearly see the inserted hardened steel edge.

Last edited by Robert : 13th August 2019 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 14th August 2019, 09:33 AM   #8
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Hi Robert

see this discussion below.

Carving is totally different but I see a lot of similarities in style
due to the hardness the carving is generally quiet primitive.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22655

when you rub the handle does it fee sort of oily, no residue just a greasy feel


Regards

Ken
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Old 15th August 2019, 06:04 PM   #9
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Wheat etc. carved on a handle I would normally associate with a bread knife.
Regards
Richard
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Old 15th August 2019, 11:30 PM   #10
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Hi Robert:

Interesting dagger. I think the hilt likely does not depict wheat, but rather a seed pod with the seeds emerging from the pod. Wheat does not have a pod like this, so something else. The steel (?) ferrule does not look Filipino to me, and the brass disk might well be made from a polished coin (Does it have a slight rim to the edge? Hard to tell from the pics.).

No idea where it is from, but I don't think it is Filipino.

Regards,

Ian.
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Old 16th August 2019, 04:08 AM   #11
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Sorry for my late response to the questions and comments that have been posted.

Ken,
The wood does not have an oily feel to it when being handled of rubbed. In fact it feels more like a piece of horn or a piece of burl of some type, but the grain is wrong.

Ian,
Thank you for your thoughts on this piece. The brass disc guard has been filed completely flat and shows no evidence of ever having a rim or stampings of any kind. As for the carving I am in agreement that it most likely does not represent a wheat stalk. A good friend has sent me an email suggesting that the carving could possibly depict a Ginger flower (photo below) right before the petals start folding out. The steel ferrule though unusual could have possibly been made from the necked down portion of an old larger caliber steel shell casing. I know that brass casings have been used for years to make knife fittings so why not use an old steel one if it is handy? Though the blade matches perfectly to ones used on some of the 19th/early 20th century Philippine daggers in my collection I am not suggesting that this piece is from there. I have no idea of where this piece is from.

Best,
Robert
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Old 16th August 2019, 04:32 PM   #12
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Carving looks just like a wheat seed-head. Suspect it's a marriage made with a bread-knife handle, cartridge head and a wavey dagger blade. kinda cool tho. needs a cool scabbard to go with it.
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Old 17th August 2019, 12:22 PM   #13
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There are a few interesting points here.
From a photo, bog oak and ebony would be almost impossible to distinguish. Bog oak is lighter and quite soft to carve, while ebony is very heavy and hard.
I believe the hilt of this knife is a variety of ebony.
The blade looks very similar to some Philippino daggers I have seen.
So my guess would be a Philippino dagger, with a replacement hilt and front bolster.
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Old 17th August 2019, 11:13 PM   #14
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My opinion , for what it's worth , is that this is a fairly modern made 'flamboyant' blade which has been married to an old French style bread knife handle . The 'guard' may well be from a brass cartridge case .... in order to give it the look of a theatre made trench dagger of WW1 period . A few years ago a friend of mine bought a similar blade from a Scottish firm and made me the following dagger ... a well made and convincing piece but I know its only 5 years old !
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Old 26th August 2019, 06:56 PM   #15
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Hello Robert,
Nice and intersting dagger! I think that it's European but can't remember to have seen a similar one before.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 28th August 2019, 02:06 PM   #16
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The blade looks contemporary and is not a Filipino blade as far as i can tell. I agree with those who believe this is a new blade married to an older hilt.
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Old 29th August 2019, 01:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
Wheat etc. carved on a handle I would normally associate with a bread knife.
Regards
Richard


I do see a lot of elderly bread knives with this style of handle here in the north of England, more often made from pine.
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Old 29th August 2019, 05:06 AM   #18
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I noticed that the median ridge does not really follow get contours of the waves/luks in the blade.

This makes me also think it is of a more recent manufacture.
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Old 29th August 2019, 06:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
I noticed that the median ridge does not really follow get contours of the waves/luks in the blade.

This makes me also think it is of a more recent manufacture.
Good point Jose. If you look at older gunong and older wavy Ilokano blades, the medial ridge clearly follows the contour of the wave. You can see this in an example Leif posted recently here: the small gunong on the left has nicely forged luk with a well-centered medial ridge.

Last edited by Ian : 29th August 2019 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 29th August 2019, 04:48 PM   #20
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Could this be Bog Oak? Mineralized oak. Very old...sometimes thousands of years and as the words describe ..pulled from a bog!

Last edited by Battara : 29th August 2019 at 06:36 PM. Reason: link to commercial website
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Old 29th August 2019, 05:26 PM   #21
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Old 5th September 2019, 12:28 AM   #22
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Could it be a letter opener?
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