Help on old Bowie knife ??

Discussion in 'Knives & Edged Items' started by OneFatCat, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. OneFatCat

    OneFatCat New Member

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    I purchased an old Bowie knife from an auction today and need a little help with the value and any other information I might could gather ...the knife on one side is stamped Columbia and on the other side says W. Glaze and Co ... I am assuming the Columbia is Columbia South Carolina ...the knife appears to be very old and in very good condition ...Ive read a little about this company and my thinking is that it may be a knife that was made back in the 1860's for the Rebel army ..does not have a sheath ...

    OFC
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011
  2. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    Need much better pictures, but there is a 5% chance that it is even 20 years old.
  3. ozo

    ozo Active Member

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    FatCat
    Try to get some pics close up of any/all markings. Macro if possible.
  4. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    To my poor old eyes the grind and knife itself looks way too modern for the Civil war era.It looks almost identical to one I purchased in 1971.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  5. OneFatCat

    OneFatCat New Member

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    Ok guys here are some pictures hope this helps and thank you for the information ...
    OFC
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011
  6. carver

    carver Moderator

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    A quick internet search turned up this:

    http://military.feedfury.com/content/22173919-collecting-civil-war-antique-swords.html

    By William Davis

    Civil war antiques are popular with antique collectors, especially Civil War swords.
    Civil War antique collectors may differ on which swords are the most interesting to collect. The purpose of this article is to identify some of the major producers of Civil War swords, and some facts about each manufacturer.

    William Glaze

    William Glaze was an agent for the Ames company until 1851, when he started the Palmetto armory in South Carolina. He produced 2000 M1840 cavalry sabers and 526 light artillery sabers in 1852. Although these were all used by the Confederacy during the war, it's important to note that these were all regulation U.S. models made nine years before the war, and in no way should have the letters CSA on them. Most cavalry sabers are marked "Columbia, S.C." on one side, and some have Wm. Glaze & Co on the other side of the ricasso. The marks on the artillery sabers are unknown.

    You just may have a winner there!
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  7. OneFatCat

    OneFatCat New Member

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    Thank you for the research and info Carver ..I am a civil war buff and live close to Gettysburg but I did not buy it to resale but becasue I thought it might have some significance as an old Bowie knife, maybe a civil war relic if I was lucky... but it would be great to know anything I can find out about it and a ball park value so I would appreciate any comments or info I can get

    OFC
  8. ozo

    ozo Active Member

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    It's a really nice Bowie.
  9. OneFatCat

    OneFatCat New Member

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    I also picked up on this fighting knife I think from WWII ..stamped RH PAL 36 ....I paid $35.00

    OFC
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  10. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    That PAL 36 is in pretty decent shape, about typical, and almost identical to the one I had and I paid $35 for mine without a sheath maybe 10 years ago and sold it with a sheath that did not match for $45 maybe 5 years ago and I kinda wish I hadn't. It was a pretty handy "utility" knife and probably would have made a good fighter.

    THAT model Pal was not issued or purchased by the government as a fighting knife but it IS a pretty typical example of a WWII era commercial knife made by PAL, Western Cutlery, Camillus, etc, and other companies loosely based on the Navy Mark 1 or 2 (Kabar) that COULD have been carried as a "Fighting Knife" by soldiers in WWII. They were sold in PXs all over the world, and soldiers also bought them mail order, and were popular. There are MANY photographs of front line US soldiers in WWII that if you look closely, you will see some sort of "commercial" knife on their belt or attached to a bandolier or back pack.

    PAL DID provide both M3 Combat Knives and later M4 bayonets to the US military under contract, as well as Mark II Navys/Kabars, but that is not an "actual" US Military "Fighting Knife."

    When I bought mine I THOUGHT it might have been a Navy Mk I, and did some research, MANY companies made Mark Is and each is a LITTLE different from the others, before it was standardized or shifted to the Mark II, but the PAL 36 was an actual PAL commercial model.

    But it COULD have been USED as one.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  11. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    The "bowie" is modern, as you found out.
  12. OneFatCat

    OneFatCat New Member

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    RJ I have been told by a couple of people that have looked at the pictures that it may be a replica ...however I was at an civil war weapons auction in Chambersburg PA. Monday where three different dealers (one being a college professor who lectures at the local college on civil war history) examined the knife and all three felt it was genuine and of the period. All three felt like the patina was right and the design was of the period. One of the men did take some issue with one of the stamps on the blade however after looking it over closely for 10 min. said he felt it was genuine and asked if it was for sale. To be honest Im not sure what to think right now. I can tell you that the dealers who have actually held it in their hands and looked at all feel that its a very old knife, whether its a knife that was made for the confederate army is something else.

    OFC
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  13. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    Most dealers and "Civil War experts" and dealers have little or no knowledge of cutlery. That's why it's so easy to fool them. The design is nothing like period knives. "Patinas" are easily done. The blade shape, and bevel grind are very wrong for a CW era knife. These are things that the CW "experts" don't know, or conveniently overlook- because, like you, they want the knife to be what they think it is. This still doesn't make the knife what it isn't. You have been advised by some of the foremost CUTLERY experts in the world. Without even examining the knife personally, it's easy to tell what it is. There is simply no need for a hands-on examination.
  14. OneFatCat

    OneFatCat New Member

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    Bill I am sure your right ...I guess I will just give up on the idea that it might be genuine ...but just for the heck of it after being told by one of "foremost" experts that W. Glaze didnt even make Bowie knives and that this blade was not right for the period I called the South Carolina Relic Room at the Palmetto Armory today and talked with a man there by the name of Joe Long. I told Joe everything about the knife ..told him that some of you guys have said it was a fake just by looking at the pictures but I also told him what the 3 men told me yesteday. He asked me to send him pictures which I did ...first let me say that he confirmed that W. Glaze had been connected to making some Bowie knives this is an exert from an email he sent me today "Scott, this is NOT a poor-quality fake; I think I could spot one of those by now just looking at pictures ...Joe" ...after looking at the pictures he was impressed enough to ask my permission to forward them to a Col. Jack A. Myer who is an authority on the Palmetto Armory and has writtin a book on the subject ...now Im sure you and your freinds here are right because obviously this is your world and you are experts ...but it will be interesting to see what
    Col. Myer says even if it is negitive ..thank you again for all the information...its been fun anyway doing some research.

    OFC
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  15. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    Please let us know what you find out, very interested.:)
  16. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    Without direct knowledge of what was actually made during a particular time frame, no amount of supposition or "expertise" can begin to authenticate this knife. Most people don't understand that "Bowie knives" didn't even look like this, nor did any knife made during the period. All the knives of this particular pattern appeared after about 1960 when Raymond Thorpe's "Iron Mistress" book came out. After 50 years of conditioning that knives were actually supposed to look like this, "experts" are authenticating lots of knives that were made 100 years later.
    There is nothing "right" about this knife-except it is marked with a maker's name, that little is known about. In the 1960s, there was a company called "Deane & Adams" that sold ready made fakes of this type, from items marked "Wells Fargo" to obscure names like the one on yours.
  17. OneFatCat

    OneFatCat New Member

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    Bill as I said Im sure your right your the expert ..and this is like hoping you hit the lottery someday but know deep down its highly unlikely that you will yet you play anyway.. BUT it is MY knife for better or worse so I think Ill just continue to dig until Im as convinced as you are that it is a replica ....I do have to say that I find it odd that the gentleman who seem to think there my be something more to it then just a fake seem to be highly qualifed but maybe not ..we'll see

    OFC
  18. stede

    stede Member

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    OFC, you have the right attitude going into this. There are experts and then there other experts, 'and ne'er the twain shall meet...'
    My own experience in 40 years of collecting bayonets and assorted militaria has shown me that if a decent profit can be had through faking a collectible it will be faked. That is true of every genre, whether it be Roman coins or Victorian oil lamps or Nazi daggers or Colt revolvers or anything else that may realize premium prices.
    US Civil War items are no exception, and Confederate pieces- being highly prized by collectors- have been faked and altered for quite some time now.
    Your knife may well be original; personally, I would like to see the ricasso stampings compared to an unimpeachable original, if such can be had.
    Bill is correct when he says an artificially aged patina can easily be applied to blades (and any metal, such as the brass crossguard)- it is de rigor in the faking industry and varies from 'finely done' to 'a grotesque hatchet job' from the examples I've seen popping up from around the world. Part of this process includes damaging the wood and metal to a small degree- enough to imply age but not enough to harm value.
    My own area of limited 'expertise' is 19th Century bayonets- what little knowledge I've aquired of Bowie type knives (including carrying one for years-legally) does make me think the design of yours is more modern than the Civil War era but that opinion- and two dollars- will get you a cuppa Joe at the cafe.
    Keep researching and do keep us posted about what you learn; thus we will all add to our knowledge, eh? Best from Colorado...
  19. OneFatCat

    OneFatCat New Member

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    Stead thank you ...I was in the car business for over 25 years so ive seen just about everything over the years so when I bought this knife it wasent like I was following a combine into town thinking it was a farris wheel ...I know its a long shot but I and the others who have actually held it do honestly think it is a very old knife ..could we all be wrong well Im sure we could be ..as a matter of fact we may not be wrong about the age of the knife it might be that its a period knife but just not a Bowie knife ..BUT like I said its fun doing all this research and in the end the worst that can happen is I have the knife and a little more knowledge ...I have pictures of a stamped ricasso that is supposed to be unimpeachable that Joe emailed me yesterday from the Palmetto Armory Relic room that I will post here today when I get to work ..maybe that will help.

    Scott
  20. OneFatCat

    OneFatCat New Member

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    Here are pictures of the ricasso stamped that are from a sabre in the relic room there in South Carolina ...this is a direct quote from Joe as to what to look for " Here are markings from an original Model 1840 saber for comparison. Key features to look for in "Columbia" are the broken "l' and/or "u" and the script "a". Joe ........

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