The lot features a historic and important authentic original Plains Native American Indian “Mountain Man” dag knife with Grizzly Bear Jaw handle dating to the 19th Century. The piece shows a Grizzly Bear bone jaw mandible handle with the large molars giving the user a gripping area and the impressive large canine tooth working as a pommel. The bone jaw is fixed to the blade with two hammered copper rivets and exhibits an even worn, polished authentic patina that is derived from years of heavy use. The blade shows a large blacksmith forged rasp file that was formed by cut and polished/sharpened down into a typical period correct double sided dag knife blade (seen on many period correct examples). Provenance: From a very large and historic Native American Antiques collection from Paris, France. The piece was sold in the Heritage Auction November 30th, 2011 sale where it was found to be an authentic 19th Century early Western relic by their experts. The bone handle shows a rich ocher mineral pigment paint remnant, indicating the piece was at one point painted by the original Plains Indian owner. A knife such as this, showing a beaver paddle / beavertail design with double edge and raised center median are referred to as “Dag Knives”. These knives were used primarily as killing weapons of war and would have been worn around the neck or ankle for easy access, unlike belt sheath knives which were typically used for hunting and foraging. This knife is thought to be from the mid-19th Century from a Plains Native American Indian warrior. Grizzly Bear Jaw knives, and really any jaw handled knives, are very scarce from the 1800’s with only a few authentic examples being sold on the open market. A few examples include the Wolf Jaw Knife sold by High Noon Western Americana in their 1/28/2012 sale for $4,025 and the example which sold by Dakota Plains Auctions in their 11/21/2010 sale for $1,711 (both shown with premiums). The knife exhibits the correct patina and manufacture to be a circa 1800’s authentic example and is truly one of, if not the best Bear Jaw Knife ever brought to public sale. Measures overall 14.25 inches in length with a 8.75 inch long blade that is 2 inches wide. The bear jaw handle is 3 inches wide. The blade retains a sharp edge.
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