11 Nov 2014

One That Got Away

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Ebay lot 381041066398 was sitting there at $230.00 on Saturday as the auction drew toward its close at 8:27 pm. I had just bought a rifle on Gun Broker, so I was feeling a need for some restraint, but I certainly was not going to let this sell for $230.00 without bidding a bit higher. So I left an Esnipe bid somewhere near $300.

It’s impossible to tell what some auctions are going to do in their final moments, when all the snipers open fire. You can bid double the current bid sometimes and still find that you came in too low. I had no idea what this dagger would fetch. It was obviously worth a great deal more than $230, but beyond that I hadn’t a clue.

It sold, as things turned out, for $599.90, and I still think it was worth much more than that.


The seller described it as an “Old antique Italian Hunting knife/dagger SUPER NICE RARE.”

You are bidding on an antique Italian hunting knife. This is an exceptional example well made and well preserved. It probably dates from the first half of the 19th century. It is large 15-1/2 inches long, solid blade 11 inches long with two decorative fullers and mirror engraved images as well as a small section of brass inlay, the blade is 2 inches wide at the base. The handle is made from wood with two decorative brass side grips and a very interesting tang section that can be seen on the back. Nice file work on the mid section. Super nice knife.

But, what was it really?

I looked through George Cameron Stone’s A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times, Together with Some Closely Related Subjects, and my conclusion is that it was an anelace aka anelec aka anlace, a long dagger variation of the cinquedea featuring a triangular double-edged blade tapering sharply to a point: used from the 13th to the 16th centuries. This weapon was often carried at an angle at the small of the back and would be the only weapon carried in cities, at court, traveling on horseback or riding during the hunt, also used to slide between the plates of platemail armour.

It does not look old enough to me to be 16th century. It has an 18th century look to me. But, I suppose, it might have been an extremely high quality 19th century reproduction.


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