British 18th Century Naval Midshipmans Fighting Dirk. Circa 1760-1780

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This 18th Century Naval Midshipman’s fighting dirk dates to around 1760-1780. It saw action during a period referred to as the age of the fighting sail (1700-1820).

During this period, the Royal Navy was pivotal in defending both mainland Britain and British interests during the Seven Years’ War, a conflict spanning Europe, The Americas, Africa and Asia. The American Revolution, The French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812 as well as famously battling pirates in the Caribbean.

The 398mm single-edged blade has a flat spine with a narrow fuller below. The fuller runs for two-thirds of the blade, which terminates in a spear point. The blade has minor edge nicks and parrying nicks on the spine and retains a sharp fighting edge. The blade is in good condition with a mottled age patina.

The ovoid brass guard has an S-shaped crosspiece with flattened teardrop quillons. There is a pattern of punch marks along the forward and rear edges of the guard. The guard is in good condition and is firm. The octagonal ivory grip is in excellent condition. The twisted copper wire is intact and tight. The ivory hilt is finished with a tooled brass pommel cap with a central nipple through which the tang is peened. The blade is firm in the hilt.

The dirk is complete with its black leather scabbard with a gilded copper throat and copper chape. The leather of the scabbard is aged and worn and there are creases and splits along the forward edge. The stitching is intact and tight.

This is a great example of a Georgian fighting dirk. The primary weapon of many Royal naval midshipmen during the age of the fighting sail.


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