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Naval Fighting Dirk ca.1795-1801 by Francis Thurkle
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Classic naval fighting dirk ca. 1795-1801 By Francis Thurkle. Small "FT" in sunken cartouche on the underside of the crossguard. Thurkle is known for supplying the American market and Mowbray felt that pieces marked with his cartouche that were not actually gold were likely intended for the American market.
See Gilkerson, Boarders Away, volume 1, for details of this style of dirk. Derived from short swords used on shipboard these typically have long, narrow straight blades for effective use in close quarters fighting. A portion of a painting showing Nelson at Cadiz shows one of these being used by a sailor at the top right.
This one is 20 inches overall with a 15 1/2 inch blade having a narrow ricasso and broad, shallow single fuller. The blade is a mix of brown and gray with good edge and point, just some shallow pitting and very minor edge nicks in the last six inches toward the tip, likely a result of the missing scabbard on that portion of the blade. The grip is bone, straight-reeded, with brass pommel cap with capstan rivet and narrow ferrule at the guard. Tight fit of hilt to blade, slight play in the pommel cap. The crossguard is 2 1/2 inches at its widest. One side is bent slightly closer to the blade than the other. Stains to the grip. A 1-inch long narrow crack on one side coming up from the ferrule. About 11 1/2 inches of the scabbard remains. Brown leather, no mounts.
Thurkle died in 1801. Some think George Thurkle used the FT mark for a few years after that, but by 1806 the firm was Thurkle and Skinner. A nice example of an American dirk from the age of fighting sale.Shipping $14.95. NY residents add sales tax. Thanks!