This is an incredibly rare First pattern M1888 Lee Metford Rifle bayonet. Very few of these were made before the Mk1 Type II was introduced. The reason for the rapid design change was that the positioning of the three rivets resulted in the grip scales splitting in field conditions so the Mk1, type II was introduced with only two rivets.
This bayonet is in over-all good condition for its 129 years of age and is highly collectable. A “must have” bayonet for all British bayonet collectors. The 302mm double-edged blade is nicely marked on the ricasso with a flat crown above VR (Victoria Regina) and the date 10 ‘89 (October 1889). This bayonet was produced for the Boer War in South African. The obverse ricasso is marked with the British War Department broad arrow and Enfield inspection stamp as well as an end of service stamp. The spine also bears an Enfield inspection stamp. The blade has minor age related tarnish and is in overall good condition.
The wooden grip is in good condition and firm, showing age related wear. The hilt bears the iconic three brass rivets: two smaller and one larger. The wooden hilt scales are drilled with an oil hole on both sides below the two top rivets. The steel pommel and cross piece are pitted and bear indistinct markings, as do both sides of the hilt’s spine. The press-stud locking mechanism is in good working order.
The bayonet is complete with its original black leather scabbard, which has some tarnish and mild pitting on the steel furniture. The throat and chape bear indistinct inspection stamps. The black leather is in excellent condition and is stamped with War Department arrow and “EFD” for the Enfield factory. There are further indistinct markings and an inspection stamp. The stitching is intact and firm.
The sheathed bayonet is 43.8cm total length and the bayonet is held firmly within the scabbard.
This is a rare opportunity to own a very hard to find M1888 Mk1 Type 1 Lee Metford bayonet.