German WW1 nahkampfmesser, meaning “close combat knife,” come in a variety of similar styles and by various makers. Most have a steel scabbard with a leather belt loop and retaining strap. These knives were usually private purchase items – as was the case with the allied forces, making Imperial Army issued examples like this one hard to find.
The 142mm single-edged blade has a 70mm upper edge, terminating in a double-edged spear point. The blade has a slightly raised medial ridge. The blade retains its fighting edge and is in excellent condition, showing some light wear and faint sharpening related scratches.
The ricasso is stamped with the makers’ details, Gottlieb Hammesfahr, Solingen Foche. The obverse ricasso bears an Imperial inspection stamp indicating that this boot knife was an official army issued weapon.
The hardwood grip scales are in very good condition and are secured to the full width tang by two rivets.
The knife is complete with its original black painted scabbard with a thick leather belt loop and retaining strap. The scabbard is in very good condition with some loss of its original black paint. The knife sheathes and draws smoothly and is held firmly within the scabbard.
This is a guaranteed genuine and well above average example of a scarce WW1 issued fighting knife.
There are many fakes of this model knife flooding the market from India so buyers must beware. The best way to spot a fake is by looking closely at the quality of the stamps and lettering on the makers’ details. Fakes are poorly stamped. Look out for a modern, poor-quality press-stud catch on the retaining loop and lack of age and wear to the thin leather strap. The scabbards of the fake examples may or may not be painted. Originals were painted black or feld grau (field grey) so look for appropriate wear to the paint. The fake examples have Indian rosewood hilts and the grooves on the grip scales are also less well done.
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